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Busiest time of the year

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 02/05) - Christmas party season is in full swing.

And for the cooks and DJs who help make parties a success, and the cabbies who drive the happy revelers home, this is one of the busiest times of the year.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Le Frolic first cook James Kaulback cuts parsley as he prepares for one of this weekend's Christmas parties. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

At Le Frolic Catering, the Christmas party rush started just after Remembrance Day, said Pierre Lepage the co-owner and head chef of Le Frolic Bistro Bar and L'Heritage Restaurant.

With more than 1,600 meals to be served at 15 catering jobs in seven days, this is the busiest week for Lepage and his staff.

"It takes a lot of prep and manpower and a little less sleep," he said.

It can take two full days of work to prepare the food for a large part. Lepage has four full-time cooks dedicated to meeting the demand.

Mashed potatoes and turkey have been the food of choice. The kitchen cooked 30 turkeys last week and will do another 45 this week.

The trick to turning out a perfect bird is low heat for a long time, said Lepage.

Lepage's busiest catering day was last year when he did eight functions, each with between 100 to 200 people, on the first Saturday of December.

"That was very chaotic," said Lepage.

As if co-ordinating so many events wasn't enough, it was also -44C.

"It was hard to keep the salad from freezing," he said.

Christmas party season also keeps things hoping on the music scene. Arctic Wollyboo DJ and Karaoke Services has between 20 to 30 events booked for December, more than double the number for other months, said Kevin Butt, the owner.

The first and second Saturdays in December are the most popular for parties Butt finds.

At least eight different groups try to book for each of those nights. "It's extremely hectic," said Butt.

At Danceaway Music, Christmas parties make up almost 50 per cent of the business, said owner Kevin Woldum. He's booked for 19 parties this season compared to 15 weddings throughout the whole year.

Cab companies are also feeling the Christmas party rush.

Party goers make this time of the year 30 to 40 per cent busier than any other month, said Nero Mohamed, the general manager of City Cabs.

"It's busier that's for sure."