food forum

Bonnie Briggs (
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 14:07:33 PDT

Bonnie Briggs
Hi gang,
  I went to a really interesting forum today. it was called Cooking For 
Comfort and Health: a Forum For Agencies Providing Food Programs for the 
Homeless and Under-Housed. It was held in a cold warehouse at Field To 
Table, a project by Foodshare Metro Toronto. They work with communities 
to improve access to affordable, nutritious food. I'm not a food 
provider, but one of the organizers is a friend of mine from school. We 
took the Community Worker Course together. She invited me to go to this 
forum. It was really interesting. the main speaker, Stevie Cameron, 
works with St. Andrew's, a church in the Out Of The Cold Program. (This 
is a program that runs in the winter here in Toronto. Several churches 
around Toronto, on a nightly rotating basis, offer hot meals and 
overnight shelter from the cold.) Anyway, Stevie spoke first and then 
they had a panel of speakers from other food programs talk about the 
work involved in serving food to their homeless "guests".(Isn't that 
term so much better than "Client"?) They also offered suggestions on how 
to make their programs better. There was also time for questions. After 
the panel, we had group discussions around topics that had come up while 
we had been listening to the speakers. I joined the group that talked 
about food; quality, safety, and health concerns. We had a rather large 
group, probably about 10 or 11 people. I think I was the only person 
there who actually used the food programs as opposed to being someone 
who serves the food. I was glad to be able to share my experiences of 
going to these programs. Then, we had lunch, an all-vegetarian affair. 
it was different types of cold salads, very filling. Then, the best part 
of the day, the Cooking Challenge! We went downstairs to a warm kitchen 
for this part. One chef was an instructor at George Brown College's 
Hospitality School and at the YMCA and the other was a Kitchen Manager 
and Instructor at Field To Table. Each chef was given a Good Food Box 
which is filled with fruits and vegetables. They were also given 
assorted spices and a few other things that can be found in a kitchen. 
They were restricted to only these items. They were given a short time 
limit and were asked to create a tasty, nutritious dish. One chef 
created a vegetable and tofu soup with a fruit salad and the other chef 
created a entree salad with tuna and potato slices added to it. He asked 
one of the women watching to create a vinegarette dressing. As they were 
working, the chefs gave a running dialogue of what they were doing as 
well as giving us tips that we could use in our kitchens. At the end, 
each chef had to give a summary of how they made their dishes and took 
questions from us. We got to try each dish. The salads were both great! 
That was the end of the forum. Everybody went away with new ideas and 
recipies to try in their own programs. We all filled out an evaluation 
sheet and went our seperate ways. The minutes and the recipies used 
today will be mailed out to everyone who came. I'm glad I went. I look 
forward to better things from Toronto's food programs. Talk to you 

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