For the 20 specially invited children of Jamaica Observer vendors who entered the newspaper's boardroom on Monday afternoon for a five-course luncheon, it was an education in fine culinary dining. The bright-eyed guests, ranging in ages from six to 12, and all primary school-aged pupils, were feted at the launch of the Observer's Salut! Applaud It! week by Managing Director Danville Walker and the initiative's partners Jamaica Broilers, represented by its President and CEO Christopher Levy and his divisional sales and marketing manager Joan Forrest Henry; and Victoria Mutual, represented by Devon Barrett, general manager of the company's Wealth Management division, and his sales and client relations manager colleague Karlene Mullings.
Excited at the sight of name cards signalling where they were to be seated around the boardroom's super-long mahogany table (beautifully adorned by Ann Marie Wyss-styled floral arrangements of white roses and orchids with lemon slices floating at the bottom) and gleaming silverware courtesy of Maureen Capleton of MC Décor the children perked up when Observer Food Awards-winning chef Brian Lumley popped in from the kitchen to announce the menu, with the mention of seafood prompting audible 'oohs' from a few young 'uns.
As the lunch progressed into mid-afternoon, there were etiquette lessons to be learned (napkin placement, the correct position of your roll, proper use of a knife and fork) and the children were willing subjects, receptive to the guidance of the adults around the table.
Chuckles erupted when nine-year-old Denzel Scarlett of South Borough Primary told Observer managing director Danville Walker he could see himself in his job.
"Can you start next week?" came Walker's reflexive quip, which elicited even more laughs.
Join us at the table for the Salut! launch luncheon catered by Brian Lumley and pâtissière Celeste Gordon.