Initiative to donate culinary students’ creations has produced around 1,600 meals for SA food bank clients
Last year, chef Jason Inniss realized there was a problem in the culinary classrooms.
“I was walking through a classroom and I noticed that students were throwing away food that they had created but they couldn’t take home for a variety of reasons,” Inniss said.
The reasons for the food being pitched varied, from having to go to class, work or for dietary reasons. But, in any case, Inniss said that some of the food students were creating was being through out.
In May 2016, Inniss reached out to Shaun Shepard, the Student Association’s (SA) former community services co-ordinator. Together they developed a distribution system wherein students and chefs had the option to donate their classroom creations to the SA food bank.
The SA funds The Dialog.
“So everyday depending on what the classes are (the students) can eat the food that they produce, they can take it home or they can donate it. Garbage is not an option,” Inniss explained.
When culinary students donate their food, it is put in containers and then sent to the chef school’s inventory control centre, where Nicholas Persaud-Daniels, the centre’s culinary inventory/gate clerk, sees that it’s refrigerated.
The food bank comes once a day to collect the food containers, and from there they’re available almost every day for any student to pick up.
“Last year there were 850 students at GBC who used the food bank,” Inniss said. “Since September we’ve created 1,600 meals to donate to students—and students are really impressed with the food that they’re getting.”
Some of the meals that have been donated include roasted lamb, red Thai curry, falafel sandwiches and homemade soups.
“If we were to put a price tag on it, we’re looking at least $25 a plate definitely,” food bank lead Greg Philip explained.
“People say they’ve been to food banks on the street and they never liked it but the (SA) food bank is strong here, and it’s even stronger now because of culinary school donations.”