Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Stop Community Food Centre

Cooks from "Canoe" restaurant prepping for the fundraiser in Stop's Community Kitchen.
At Wychwood Farms, Stop not only educates and promotes healthy cooking but also grows a great variety of plants in their large green house to educate on the source of products. Here, I was shown Pink Oyster Mushrooms. ...if you are into mushrooms, this is frigging cool.

A view of the Green House.

When I first met Chef Chris Brown (for someone of his pedigree, I found him to be amazingly positive and down to earth - very passionate about his work), the first thing he offered me was a tour of the place and made a bee-line towards this plant: a Crocus Flower. Being a cook, he knew I would have much appreciation for this flower. This is where Saffron comes from... and then I turned geeky within 2 minutes of meeting the guy and whipped out my camera to take this shot...

Meyer Lemon Tree.

Honey-Bee doing his (or her?) thing.

The Stop Community Food Centre is a wonderful entity in Toronto. Their idea to tackle hunger head-on is met through many different avenues, but with an emphasis on education.

From school day trips, after-school programs, green-house programs, cooking courses that emphasize an approach on real ingredients, hunger is dealt with in a way to teach people how to deal with it within their community and on their own.

It's encouraged as a place for community members to organize and build mutual support networks and as their mission statement reads "find their voices on the underlying causes of hunger and poverty."

I had the opportunity this past week to be part of an event held there and was blown away by what I saw. Chef Chris Brown runs the kitchen and it was immediately evident why he would be so happy being there. It's a great feeling being able to share your passion in a professional kitchen by serving high-end diners day-in, day-out, but it's an altogether other higher gratification to teach and educate people who will use this knowledge for the rest of their lives. I cannot imagine a position more respectable in my profession when it's your mission to eradicate hunger.


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