Growing Chefs! Ontario

Where do I go to start? After much reflection for this letter, probably goes back to grade 10. I was denied access to home economics due to being a male. My love of cooking started way before then and I wanted to learn. Shortly thereafter I dropped out of high school. It wasn't until later I would realize this had an effect on my life. I was determined no offspring of mine would be ostracized like me. Things changed, and with my wife's support, I spent next twenty years getting educated until finally I became a male R.N. Our family cooked together due to our love for cooking until the girls left for university. My wife and I volunteered for El Sistema cooking for the kids and later for St Paul's meal program. It was great working with other adults that loved to cook but cooking for others was all we did. Writing recipes and competing with our daughters over cooking through the Internet was ok but not quite the same. We, Bev and I, both retired and prior to retirement, we attended occasional Covent Garden Market Saturday cooking classes. Bev moved on to join choirs and I continued with the Aeolian Hall (14 years). So every Saturday was coffee, free cooking class and shopping at the Farmers Market.

The best was that the cooking classes had weekly guest chefs. Along with these chefs was Chef Katharine from Growing Chefs. The first couple times her career input about Growing Chefs peaked my interest. Then when she answered questions easily about what volunteers could do I decided to call. An interview of getting questions answered turned into volunteeringand over a year ago I became a Growing Chefs volunteer. The first time volunteering made me realize that the missing piece of the puzzle was found. Not cooking for, but COOKING WITH! Cooking with public school students was more than to be expected. I became part of an approximate 11 year organization that teaches open minded children, male and female, not only cooking information by being hands on but trivia that cooking also entails other aspects. For example that carrots were not originally orange, that a wife borrowed her husband’s wood carving rasp to be the first zester. Kids love this and with using the electronic age, I teach that keeping dill enhances the environment by showing stages of a swallowtail, from caterpillar to butterfly, and teach about gardening with pictures on my iPadof tomatoes from my garden that are the size of a pencil eraser and so forth. In sending this letter I hope that Growing Chefs can be well funded so as to continue this worthy charitable organization. I didn't know, until lately, that over 20,000 children have learned through this format. Just to think of how the funds could enhance purchasing equipment, food items, and so forth to continue to educate. I'm hoping that you really consider funding. It also would be great if we could get new items to teach with as things change. The environment is changing, cooking habits are changing, farming and gardening are changing. I, as a volunteer, hope that as a member of Growing Chefs, to be in the forefront of this forward thinking organization.

- Bill

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