Food Skills

The Regent Park Community Food Centre offers a series of food skills programming including community kitchens, food demonstrations and specialized workshops for school-aged children, youth, adults, and seniors.  Food Skills programming aims to bring community members together to learn and teach basic, as well as more refined cooking skills, nutrition and healthy food choices, meal planning and recipe-sharing. Aside from learning cooking skills and nutrition information, community members have the chance to cook together, eat together, socialize with friends and meet new people. Food Skills incorporates local produce – grown in the community gardens and Ontario farms – into all programming during the growing season and aims to preserve the local harvest to be utilized in the off-season. All Food Skills programming is free.


Current and Upcoming Programs in 2018

Current Community Kitchens:

Cook Ahead Community Kitchen

This program runs Fridays from 4-7 pm for in 10-week intervals. In 2018, there will be a Spring course from April-June and Fall course from September-December. Cook Ahead aims to teach participants how to cook culturally diverse, delicious and nutritious foods in larger quantities that can be used for meal planning. In this 10-week program, we begin with the basics, and each week build on our newly acquired skills. By the end of the 10 weeks, participants should feel confident in meal planning and have a greater sense of autonomy over cooking their own food at home. Although Cook Ahead is largely a hands-on program, each program series includes specific discussion themes such as: preventing and managing chronic disease, food and mood, and food systems and environmental sustainability. Lastly, this program aims to utilize local and seasonal produce as much as possible as well as incorporating principles of growing and preserving our own food.

*Snacks will be provided and recipes and leftovers will be made to take home.
*Participants must sign-up to join this program.

Freezer Days

The Freezer Days program is a monthly workshop series that provides a space for different cultural groups to come together to teach, learn, socialize and cook traditional foods. Each month, a different local cook/chef teaches us two traditional recipes – one sweet and one savoury. From Dal Puri to Empanadas to Pierogi – each month we learn how to make delicious traditional recipes from scratch.

This program will be starting up again in the fall of 2018. Please contact the Food Skills Coordinator for more information on how to sign up to teach a workshop.

*Snacks provided and recipes and leftovers will be made to take home.
*Participants must sign-up to join this program.

Kids Cook and Grow

Originally designed as an After School Program, this kids-centered cooking and gardening program is versatile and can be offered to children and youth in different contexts. This program aims to teach kids and youth about food security, food justice and anti-poverty. Cook and Grow teaches kids and youth how to build basic cooking and safety skills, encourages participants to cook more at home, with family and with friends, to boost self-confidence and dietary autonomy, to familiarize participants with local and alternative food systems, to give participants hands-on experience with composting, worm-bin care, planting, harvesting and tasting greens and vegetables from the garden and to cultivate critical consumers. In this program participants will garden, cook, and eat together.

*Please inquire about enrolling participants in to this program, or about starting a new chapter.

Cooking Forward

Cooking Forward is an 8-week pre-employment program designed to prepare youth ages 16-29 for entry level jobs in the culinary arts/hospitality industry. The course will be comprised of mostly hands-on and some discussion-focused workshops. Participants will learn about: knife skills and knife safety, how to work in a fast-paced environment and time-management, baking and pastry with a focus on how to follow recipes, kitchen culture, labour laws and rights, and the kitchen hierarchy and how to search for jobs in the culinary industry. Participants receive a food handler’s manual and will take the Food Handler’s test at the end of the program.

*Snacks provided and meals will be made during the program.

Food and the City Field Trip Series

Food and the City is a new field-trip series that is designed to explore food, history and culture in Toronto. Our first stop on the tour was the St Lawrence Market where we learned the rich history behind the Market and surrounding neighbourhood and shared some delicious market snacks together. Upcoming trips in 2018 include:

May: Little India

August: Farm Trip

November: China Town

*Snacks, tokens and light meal provided.

*Please check our events calendar for more information on specific dates and times.

Supper Club Community Kitchen

DSC_0098 (2)The Supper Club is a new monthly drop-in style community kitchen that will run every 2nd Tuesday of the month from 3-5:30. In collaboration with the Solidarity Suppers, this program is ideal for participants who have attended community kitchens in the past and are looking to enhance their skill and leadership in the kitchen. This program is also ideal for new participants who would like to learn more about community kitchens.  Participants can expect to make delicious and nutritious large-batch meals for themselves as well as members of the Solidarity Suppers program.

*Snacks provided

*This is a drop-in program but sign-up is suggested.

The Safety First Drop-In Community Kitchen

 In partnership with Street Health, this monthly community kitchen runs as part of a weekly Harm Reduction program at the Regent Park Community Health Centre every Wednesday from 4-7pm. The community kitchen runs every 3rd Wednesday of the month. Participants will have access to snacks, drinks, a full meal and leftovers to take home as well as harm reduction supplies. Each community kitchen is accompanied by discussion and educational materials about the linkage between harm reduction and nutrition.

*This is a drop-in program. Participants do not have to sign up to join this program.

Skill Building Workshops

Spring/Summer Workshop Series

From April-September, collaborative workshops will be held with a focus on sharing food skills and creative ways to preserve the spring and summer harvest. Participants will learn how to can fruits and vegetables in safe and healthy ways, how to preserve fruits and vegetables in other ways such as fermentation, drying and freezing, and how to properly store foods that have been preserved to last the winter. Participants will also learn how to make pastry dough and fruit pies as well as how to pack a healthy picnic basket. The purpose of this workshop series is to share our collective knowledge around delicious and creative ways to make and preserve food during the growing season.

*Snacks will be provided and recipes and samples will be distributed at every workshop for participants to take home.

*Participants must sign-up to join this program.

Food Demonstrations

Food Demonstrations are an opportunity to engage drop-in participants  and other community groups with new, healthy, and flavourful dishes. A short demonstration featuring the ‘food of the month’ will be cooked and participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and sample the dish created. For more info on the food of the month, check out our event calendar!

Past Community Kitchens:

Breakfast Club – a program for participants to cook a delicious, healthy breakfast together while providing a safe place to experiment with new foods.

Pedal-Powered Bike Community Kitchen – In partnerships with Charlies Free Wheels, this program taught bicycle mechanics to youth and encouraged participants to build a bike-powered blender while cooking healthy foods.

Eat Up Meet Up – A bi-weekly community kitchen run by Ryerson University Students got the fall and winter semester. These kitchens created delicious vegan and vegetarian foods.

Peer-to-Peer Kitchen – Expert cooks from the community learn how to facilitate community kitchens to share their knowledge and culture with others.


Partner Organizations

The following organizations host their own community kitchen programming in the 40 Oaks kitchen space:

Please follow our newsletter and check the website regularly for updates about new workshops, food demos and community kitchens.

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Seniors Community Kitchen

For more information or to sign up for a Food Skills workshop, please contact:

Emma Palumbo
Food Skills Coordinator
416-363-4234 ext 241