Changes at SIRCH Community Services’ Cook It Up
Cook It Up is in its fourth season. The popular training program, provided by SIRCH Community Services, gives participants a chance not only to learn food service skills, but also to practice those skills in a real restaurant.
Trainees, under the direction of SIRCH’s chef, open the restaurant on a day it would typically be closed, and offer a free three-course lunch to the public.
This year, Cook It Up is being held at Molly’s Bistro Bakery in Minden, and in the past two weeks they have served 97 people.
Recently, Diane McKnight, SIRCH’s food initiatives co-ordinator and chef, was offered a full-time position in Toronto. Much as she loved her job with SIRCH, this was something she needed to pursue.
“Finding someone who is willing to come in mid-program wasn’t easy,” commented Gena Robertson, SIRCH’s executive director.
“Especially because we wanted not just a chef, but someone who would support and encourage the Cook It Up trainees and bring out the best in them. It’s not a small order!”
SIRCH found two people to help. Jay McIvor has cooked in many fine restaurants in Haliburton County including Sir Sam’s Inn, Pinestone Resort, The Domain of Killien, and Lockhaven. He specializes in catering to special diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free).
McIvor is currently a chef at Camp Wanakita, but is off for the month of April, so timing was perfect for him and SIRCH.
Judith Bamford had recently moved back to Haliburton County to care for her father.
With a background as a food and beverage manager at Grandview Omeara, Pinestone Inn and executive positions at Deerhurst, Bamford was the perfect solution to step in and co-ordinate the classroom training, menu development and program evaluation.
“We are so fortunate to have found these talented people who will be perfect to finish the Cook It Up training program,” said Robertson.
“And of course we are very grateful that Brenda Coty brings continuity as the front of house trainer at Molly’s Bistro each Monday. We are also very grateful to the community members who are coming to Molly’s. It makes a world of difference for the trainees to have experience in a real restaurant in real time. Customers have provided excellent feedback and the trainees are loving it.”
SIRCH will be advertising for a new food initiatives co-ordinator to oversee Community Kitchen, the Summer Lunch program (at the Haliburton School of Art and Design), other food initiatives that are still in the planning stages, as well as Cook It Up 2019.
For further information, contact Gena Robertson, executive director 705-457-1742 ext 23.