LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The 2016 Dempsey Challenge kicks off Saturday, but on Friday, one of the most important parts of the event was being prepared: the food!

Culinary students at the Lewiston Regional Technical Center's Green Ladle restaurant were preparing food Friday morning to feed breakfast to 2,800 people Saturday morning.

Students spent the day cracking almost 10,000 eggs, chopping more than 450 pounds of vegetables and baking about 150 loaves of bread. Head chef Dan Caron said the Dempsey Challenge is a valuable, real-world opportunity for his students.

"We have 24 restaurants/food service companies working with the event," Caron explained. "We place a chef from a restaurant, like Fish Bone's, and we place one of my students. Then we'll place a chef from Davinci's, and we'll place one of our students. When you walk in the tent, you're seeing 65 chefs/cooks."

Students like senior Adrienne Bolton, who plans to study culinary arts in college. Having participated in last year's Dempsey Challenge, Adrienne said the real-world cooking experience feels just as good as knowing it's for a good cause.

"It's really emotional," she said. "You see all these people who are struggling, and then you see all these people doing everything they can to help them out. So it's just nice to be able to do all this stuff for them."

Caron said many of his students have gone on to become chefs at restaurants in the local area and beyond, and that many of them come back to volunteer at the Dempsey Challenge each year to help the next Green Ladle chef in line.

"There's no greater feeling as an educator."