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Chefs helping out

Chefs cooking Monday's Thanskgiving meal in Hudson Falls include Chelsey and Claude Barrett from Bonnie and Clyde's Gourmet on the Run, Cait Drysdale, the school district's nutrition services director, Jesse Sutherland from Ginny Rae’s and A.J. Richards from Forged.

HUDSON FALLS — Three food-related thoughts came together for Cait Drysdale, and they led her to organize a fourth — a community meal three days before Thanksgiving.

Drysdale, the nutrition services director for Hudson Falls schools, grew up in a big family in Granville with 14 uncles and aunts and almost countless cousins, and remembered big Sunday meals at her grandmother’s house.

“I remember how good it felt to all get together and share food,” she said.

In her new job, she knows that roughly half of the students in the district qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and that means the possibility of them going hungry on the weekend.

Finally, knowing there were two new restaurants and a third established eatery in town, she reached out to the professional chefs she and others knew.

That will all culminate from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the high school with a traditional Thanksgiving meal that will help the district expand the backpack program to the middle and high schools.

“Right now, we send home 15 backpacks each at the kindergarten center, primary school and intermediate school,” she said. “With what we raise here, we hope to provide at least 15 backpacks at the middle school and 15 at the high school.”

Chefs A.J. Richards and Christina Ostrander from Forged, Chelsey and Claude Barrett from Bonnie and Clyde’s Gourmet on the Run, and Jesse Sutherland from Ginny Rae’s are donating their time to make the meal.

Along with Drysdale, they will spend Sunday and Monday prepping for the meal, and all proceeds will go to the backpack program.

Drysdale said she’s hoping to duplicate that warm home feeling at Monday’s meal.

“Each chef is putting their personal touch on a different part of a traditional menu,” said Drysdale. “So it may not be your grandma’s turkey, but it’s going to be an amazing meal.”

Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 4 and up. Those 3 and younger are free. Tickets can be obtained at any school cafeteria or by contacting Drysdale at 681-4119 or

“I saw a need to expand our backpack program to help more of our students,” Drysdale said. “And it’s wonderful to have some talented local chefs step up to the plate to help.”

You can read Bill Toscano’s blog at or his updates on Twitter, @billtoscano_ps.



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