Serving justice at Chefs for Change

GBC culinary students gain real-world experience while raising money for community food centres

Throughout the cold winter months, there’s an event that helps warm people’s hearts and, well, stomachs.

Chefs for Change is an annual winter-dinner event series that’s held at Propeller Coffee from January to March. There are five dinners in the event series, each consisting of a four-course meal that is prepared by at least 10 chefs.

Joel Rousell, a professor at George Brown College (GBC), has participated in Chefs for Change ever since the start. Every year, he brings 10 students from GBC’s culinary school to the dinners.

“It’s an amazing opportunity. These types of things haven’t always existed where there’s that opportunity to expose the students to that kind of experience,” said Rousell. “And at the same time, they’ve earned it. They’ve earned the experience. These kids have been the top in my classes.”

Net profits from the event support Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC), a non-profit organization whose mission is to “create health, belonging and justice in low-income communities across the country through the power of food.”

CFCC builds community food centres, dedicated to low-income communities across Canada. The idea is that everyone can walk in to a centre, enjoy a healthy meal, grow some food and make some dishes by themselves with the help of chefs and volunteers.

Chefs for Change, aside from its social contribution, is a chance for GBC students to network and build their culinary skills in the real world.

“They get the experience, they end up getting externships with some of these chefs, a lot of them get jobs with the chefs so it really helps to kick start their career,” said Rousell. 

Nick Saul, CFCC’s president and CEO, said GBC students are “the backbone of the event” and contribute a lot to the success of the series. 

What’s more important to Saul, however, is the fact that students can gain more from Chefs for Change, apart from it being a milestone in their career.

“I think that exposing the future generation of providers, cooks, to the politics of food and the power of food is really important and I hope that really sticks with them as something that they carry forward,” said Saul. 

According to CFCC website, Chefs for Change 2017 helped raise $100,000 for healthy food programs across Canada.

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Serving justice at Chefs for Change