Cook it Up is back for a 5th season! The trainees are taking over Molly’s Bakery Bistro in Minden, Ontario every Tuesday from March 12 to May 7, providing a three course lunch. If you’d like to join in the fun, lunch is an exchange — diners give feedback and encouragement to help the trainees grow and improve. (donations are always appreciated)
Click below to see what our 2019 weekly menus are and check back often for new menus to be posted!
Balsamic Roasted Beet Salad with Arugula
Serves 6 to 8
8 medium sized beets, tops removed and scrubbed
½ cup of balsamic vinegar
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp of Dijon mustard
Fresh ground pepper
4 ounces of baby arugula
1/3 cup of roasted pecans
4 ounces of soft goat cheese, crumbled
100 grams of peppered dill bococcini cheese
1 tbsp. of sesame seeds
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Wrap the beers individually in aluminum foil and place them on a sheet pan. Roast them for 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size, until a sharp knife inserted in the middle indicates that they are tender. Unwrap each beet and set aside for 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Peel the beets with a sharp knife over parchment paper to prevent staining the cutting board.
Meanwhile, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, mustard, 1 tsp of salt, and 1 tsp of pepper and set aside. While the beets are still warm cut each one in half and then each half into 4 to 6 wedges and place them in a large mixing bowl. As you’re cutting the beets, toss them with half of the vinaigrette (warm beets absorb more vinaigrette), ½ tsp of salt, and ¼ tsp of pepper. Taste for seasonings.
Place the arugula in a separate bowl and toss it with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Put the arugula on a serving platter and then arrange the beets, pecans, goat cheese, and bococcini on top. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette, serve warm or room temperature.
Meet our 2019 Cook it Up trainees:
Job goals: To work in the food service industry in Canada and start his own business in that sector.
Experience: Community and rural development professional in SE Asia, vendor at Kinmount Farmers Market.
Strengths: Dedicated, eager to learn and responsible.
Grateful for: His unique path in life and experiences.
Job goals: To be a chef.
Experience: Volunteer with Community Living.
Strengths: Easy to get along with and humble.
Grateful for: His family.
Job goals: To make family recipes that date back more then 200 years.
Experience: Has her own welding business, waitressing.
Strengths: Outgoing, personable and adaptable.
Grateful for: Her family.
Job goals: To run his own food truck.
Experience: Worked as a personal support worker.
Strengths: Punctual, positive and thoughtful and caring.
Grateful for: An opportunity for hands on training.
Job goals: To be a hostess.
Experience: Volunteers at church.
Strengths: Good with kids and a positive person.
Grateful for: Life.
Job goals: To work in the hospitality industry and pursue post-secondary education.
Experience: Pinestone Resort.
Strengths: A great listener, flexible and easy going.
Grateful for: Her health.
Job goals: To own her own bakery or be a head chef.
Experience: Restaurant and customer service experience at local eatery.
Strengths: Independent, has a positive attitude and is responsible.
Grateful for: Having her sister close to her.
Job goals: To be a licensed chef.
Experience: Currently working as a cook at Heather Lodge.
Strengths: A hard worker, quick learner and a people person.
Grateful for: Having a good job and great bosses.
Job goals: To open up her own bakery related business.
Experience: Baker at a Lewiston, N.Y. based bakery and running a volunteer food program at a school.
Strengths: Responsible, detail oriented and very resourceful.
Grateful for: Her family.
Jamee Van Beek:
Job goals: To have people gathered around good food and great conversation, which in turn creates laughter and happiness.
Experience: Servicing the public for more than 15 years.
Strengths: Compassionate and good at making people smile.
Grateful for: To live life in the moment.
To view an outline of the curriculum for Cook it Up click here.
“Cook it Up provided me with the skills and confidence I needed to find a great career opportunity in Haliburton County. The program offered professional training in a supportive environment and helped match me with the right employer. I would highly recommend Cook it Up to anyone looking for a change or an opportunity to learn new skills.” Past graduate of Cook it Up
One of the biggest employment opportunities in Haliburton County is in food services. However, the number of individuals who are employment-ready are dwindling (according to employers in the County, and Fleming Crew).
Employers are left with the options of hiring employees from outside the county or hiring and firing a series of unready workers. One solution to this dilemma is to bring the skill and confidence levels of local “unready” potential employees to a point where they are ready and able to work.
SIRCH is passionate about reducing poverty and increasing community capacity. One of the ways we do this is to increase the skills, abilities and confidence of individuals who are struggling through hands-on training programs. One of them is “Cook It Up.”
Cook It Up is coming up to its 5th season and has experienced phenomenal success! Since we started the program, we have had interest not only locally, but in other parts of Ontario and more recently from the UK.
Cook It Up provides on-the-job training and employment opportunities for 8-12 unemployed or underemployed adults annually, but it is done with some unique key elements that ensure its success:
- A gratitude platform/philosophy that underpins the training
- Partnering with restaurant owners to take over their restaurant on a day it is typically closed, and preparing, cooking and serving an upscale 3-course lunch (free to the public)
- Promoting meaningful ongoing interaction between the trainees and the public.
8 – 10 individuals are chosen who are interested in learning about food service. SIRCH’s Food Services Coordinator, who is a chef, oversees the 16 week program, ensuring that all health and safety requirements are met. Guest chefs may be invited to participate.