Food Service Training Program

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I had the opportunity to meet Chef Ric, director of the Food Service Training Program (FSTP) at the Ottawa Mission. We talked about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the correlations between local social enterprises and the community. Chef Ric and I looked at three of the Goals – zero hunger, quality education, decent work and economic growth – and found that the FSTP meets these goals.

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The Mission allows adults on social services to learn the skills necessary to work in a commercial kitchen. The Mission feeds the participants and offers members a free education. By participating in the training, the students are able to give back to the Mission and the community. To help eliminate the food insecurity that has taken over the city, the Mission sends a food truck to 14 locations; clients can eat at the mission directly and there is catering. Supplying the community with catered meals at low cost ensures that no one goes hungry. Many places wouldn’t be able to feed their clientele if it wasn’t for the FSTP. Over 2,500 meals go out every day.

FSTP has partnered with Algonquin College to help provide quality education to its students. Professors from the college come in and teach the theory component; staff teach the practical component. The program allows 12 students to be accepted into each of the four sessions.

When we looked at how FSTP contributes to economic growth Chef Ric told me how the program had outgrown its space. But recently, a seven-year lease was signed, costing only $10 a year. “Our generous donors have donated a fair amount to help renovate the space,” says Chef Ric.


“It will have a state-of-the-art kitchen that will supply catering and food for the food truck. We’ll also be opening a retail section so people can come in and grab meals-to-go. The students will learn the retail piece which is something we’ve never had before.”

The community saw that the program was offering five-star catering and wanted to help. All donations go back into the program. The program boasts a 90 percent success rate. Although most students who graduate secure a job through their placement. St. Lawrence Employment Center also aids students in their job search.

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In the past, I have tried to do what I could to help with outreach. After talking to Chef Ric and hearing about the FSTP, I know how much this matters.

The local community benefits in many ways from this social enterprise. The people are being fed, the program can expand because its citizens see the good that is happening and want to donate. All of this resulted in an expansion. As the FSTP continues to grow and invest back into the program, it excels at doing what it intended – to help people and change lives.