I enter the PARC kitchen and it’s a cacophony of smells and sounds. There’s an array of dishes in progress, from boiled potatoes to seasoned meat, the kitchen is almost ready to serve lunch! When I got there breakfast was almost done and for good reason, berry oat crumble, fresh fruit and fruit infused bottled drinks were on the menu.
Tessa White, the head chef, is scooping out rice while Glenmore, a Co-op Cred participant peels boiled eggs. Glenmore later moves on to deftly chopping potatoes and is quite skilled. I was surprised to learn that Glenmore was a novice to cooking when he started in the program 3 years ago. Previously, he was in Greenest City garden for 4 years before being moving to the PARC kitchen.
Glenmore’s favourite part of the program is eating and his favourite food is potatoes! He loves potatoes in almost any form: as potato salad, roasted, mashed, and with carrots and veggies too. One thing he enjoys about his placement at the PARC kitchen is that he can replicate the recipes at home using the skills he learned and in under 20 minutes. He also learns new ways of eating old favourites, such as macaroni with meat sauce. Some recipes made in the kitchen can take more than a day, like the oxtail that had to be softened in a kitchen warmer overnight while others are relatively quick without sacrificing taste. Glenmore is one of 10 Co-op Cred participants working in the PARC kitchen.
The PARC kitchen has been involved with the Co-op Cred program for 7 years but finding help in the kitchen hasn’t always been easy. While speaking with Tessa I learned that it was quite difficult to get volunteers to help out in the kitchen, and the Co-op Cred program was a wonderful way to get people involved.
As for Tessa, this is not the first time she has been a supervisor for a program like this, she previously worked at Boys and Girls Club Second Harvest kitchen where she oversaw volunteers and staff in the kitchen. She enjoys teaching others basic cooking skills in the Co-op Cred program. When it comes to recipes Tessa adds her own twist and told us that when she looks at recipes in cook books she uses them as a guide and cooks intuitively from there. So when she’s teaching recipes in the PARC kitchen she teaches people the basics so that they can put their own spin on recipes they learn, something Glenmore is familiar with!
If you’re interested in becoming a Kitchen Volunteer please fill out our Volunteer Application Form and we will follow up shortly!