Vancouver Magazine September/October 2022

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Engaging articles, reviews and stories all about Vancouver. Vancouver Magazine informs, guides and entertains people who engage with the city. Mixing quality journalism and service-driven pieces, it chronicles and reflects Vancouver’s emergence as a dynamic international city.

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A Recipe for a Happy Holiday


Local food-focused charities partner with chefs and local businesses to support edible education this holiday season

Growing Chefs and Fresh Roots Farms have written the recipe for a happy holiday

  • Start with two local food-focused charities (Growing Chefs and Fresh Roots)

  • Engage three talented local chefs (Chefs Robert Clark, Tasha Sawyer, TJ Conwi)

  • Add generous philanthropists (Willow Grove Foundation and more)

  • Throw in a boatload of sustainable seafood (Organic Ocean)

  • Mix with 345 spatulas and ladles (House of Knives)

  • Finish with a cup of creativity, a teaspoon of generosity, and a pinch of love.

Chef Tasha Sawyer
Photo Credit: Mavreen David Photography

LunchLAB is a collaborative project between two local charities, Growing Chefs and Fresh Roots. In LunchLAB, students learn to grow their own food, supplement that food from local farms, and with the support of their teacher and chef-in-residence, learn to cook for themselves and their peers. This week, hundreds of children will go home with one of their favourite LunchLAB dishes and a special gift to help them keep cooking at home.

“We are not able to be in schools right now and our LunchLAB chefs and team miss spending time with the LunchLAB students,” said Amanda Adams, Growing Chefs’ Program Director. “We wanted to let them know that we are thinking of them this holiday season. We can’t wait to be in the kitchen with them again.”

At Total Education High School, 45 students who regularly would be a part of our LunchLAB program are receiving a pasta meal kit with ingredients and instructions so they can practice their cooking skills at home by creating a nutritious meal for their family, all created by Chef Tasha Sawyer. Additionally, Chef TJ Conwi has bottled up the kids’ favourite salad dressing from the salad bar for 300 LunchLAB students at Lord Roberts Elementary School. They will also receive the recipe for this healthy dressing so they can teach their caregivers how to make it at home. All students will also receive a special gift from our friends at House of Knives to help them keep cooking.

Additionally, 80 local families in need will receive a generous gift of healthy, sustainable seafood (frozen shrimp and salmon, and canned tuna) from Organic Ocean, made possible by a donation from the Willow Grove Foundation. These families will also receive a recipe and cooking tips by Chef Robert Clark, recently appointed to the Order of Canada in November 2020 for establishing a world-renowned program to help businesses and customers identify and purchase sustainable seafood.

Seafood hampers will be distributed to families by Vancouver Coastal Health’s Leadership and Resilience program team and Vancouver Technical Secondary School. These are many of the same families that were provided with weekly meals earlier in the pandemic through our LunchLAB pivot, Chefs for Families.

“We are incredibly grateful for such a seamless collaboration between organizations and blown away by the number of people reaching out to volunteer their time and donate food, space, services, products and money. The resilience and support from our community is truly inspiring,” says Alexa Pitoulis, Executive Director of Fresh Roots.

About LunchLAB
Both Growing Chefs and Fresh Roots believe food can be a catalyst for positive change and a source of joy and inspiration, even during challenging times. LunchLAB is a collaborative project between two local charities, Growing Chefs and Fresh Roots. In LunchLAB, elementary and high school students learn to grow their own food, supplement that food from local farms, and with the support of their teacher and chef-in-residence, learn to cook for themselves and their peers.

About House of Knives
House of Knives’ vision is a simple one: to improve the quality of life of all those they encounter through education and innovation. Their goal is to match our customers with quality and functional tools and to educate them on how to use and maintain their tools. To achieve this, they strive to create an inclusive atmosphere within each of their stores where customers who appreciate quality feel comfortable entering and inquiring about their products and services. If customers’ needs are not obvious, they listen openly, and without prejudice or bias, to help them determine what their needs are and how to fulfill them. House of Knives aims to have their customers view them not only as a destination where one can purchase fine quality tools and functional gifts, but as a resource for the service, knowledge, and education required to use and maintain their investments.

About Organic Ocean
Organic Ocean was established by fishers who recognized that sustainable livelihoods rely upon sustainable fisheries. Driven by the growing demand for responsibly sourced seafood, Organic Ocean has evolved into a community of seafood producers — traditional, modern, and indigenous — all dedicated to the ecosystem and social stewardship. The top chefs were the first to recognize that by making choices for the good of our oceans, they were also being provided the finest ingredients. Now Organic Ocean fish and shellfish is also available for contactless, door to door delivery to the home or office. Organic Ocean is a Certified B Corporation and a member of 1% for the Planet and was named one of the Top 25 Sustainability-minded Seafood Suppliers That Have Transformed The North American Industry.


Donation Websites:

Photo and interview opportunities available.
Download High-Resolution Images Here:

Media Contacts:
Jaydeen Williams – Co-Interim Executive Director at Growing Chefs

Caroline Manuel – Communications and Engagement Manager at Fresh Roots
778-764-0DIG (0344), ext. 108

Program Contacts:
Amanda Adams – Program Director at Growing Chefs

Alexa Pitoulis – Executive Director at Fresh Roots 
778-764-0DIG (0344), ext. 101