As we’ve talked about previously, Quest has been fortunate enough to be able to collaborate with Growing Chefs, an amazing not-for-profit aimed at educating children on gardening, cooking, and healthy eating. The partnership between our two organizations seemed to be a natural fit.
On October 13th, 2011, we invited our food vendor and social service agency partners, as well as other stakeholders in the community, to our 2020 Dundas location for our annual Partnership Appreciation event. Last year, we held an Iron Chef competition, but this year, we went with a little bit of a different approach.
For this year’s event, we added an educational component with the help of Growing Chefs. We invited several families who shop at Quest to participate in a workshop on shopping for and cooking with healthy ingredients. Executive Director of Growing Chefs Helen Stortini and her volunteer chefs developed three recipes for this demonstration, based on food we typically stock in our grocery markets. A dietitian from At the Table Nutrition, Colleen McGuire, provided an in-depth nutritional analysis for each of the recipes.
After the participants took a tour of our grocery market with the chefs and dietitian, the workshop was ready to begin. We had set up three stations in our downstairs space; each chef (Helen, Alexander, and Tanya) was designated to a station. Armed with a hot plate and some other basic utensils, the chefs and the families whipped up a salad, a vegetarian entrée, and a dessert option, using local and organic ingredients where possible. Once they were finished, they trooped upstairs to where the other guests were mingling and presented their creations to the crowd. The families were asked about their favourite parts of the workshops. One of the participants, Carlos, age 10, had never tried vegetarian chili before, and loved the version the chefs made that day.
Other features of the event were a video about Quest, and speeches by some of our partners who continue to be very involved with our organization. Speakers included Sue Ross from YVR Airport Authority, Chris Porte from Youth Spot Employment Centre, Jean Robertson from Natural Factors, and Gord Alteman, Vice-President of Quest’s Board of Directors.
We had nothing but positive feedback on the event from both workshop participants and stakeholders. We’d like to thank our event planner, Kristy Masaro, for her help in organizing the logistics of the event, and Bread Garden Catering for providing the delicious hor d’oeuvres.
We hope to provide more workshops such as this in the near future, with the continued assistance and guidance of Growing Chefs.