The Apprentice: A Community Cooking Competition in Regent Park

photo 18From the people in the audience glued to their seats, to the curious passer-bys with their noses pressed up against the window, the excitement was obviously infectious.   On March 30th, 2015 close to 100 people gathered to witness 8 graduates from Toronto Public Health’s Food Strategy Community Food Works initiative, compete in pairs, in a heated battle for food glory. Taking place in the Paint Box community kitchen in Regent Park, this event marked the second time former grads had a chance to showcase their culinary talents in front of leading food industry professionals. Among the judges were local chefs, TPH dietitians, and restaurant owners.

The contestants had two weeks to prepare for the Community Food Work’s version of the popular television shows The Apprentice and Chopped aptly named, The Apprentice: A Community Cooking Competition. The judges presided over the painstakingly prepared multicultural dishes and made their decision based on the categories of taste, healthfulness, creativity, presentation, and culinary techniques. All who were watching waited with anticipation for the final outcome. Although there was one official winner, the opportunity for all of the contestants to raise their profile among food industry professionals was the real treasured prize. The event supported TPH’s mandate of fostering collaboration and building community capacity inherent in the Community Food Works initiative.