Cook-Off Creating Chefs

12 Division

High school students had the chance to show off their skills in the kitchen as part of a police-community program to mentor youth.

A total of five high school teams from 12, 23 and 42 Divisions took part in Humber College School of Hospitality 11th annual Stone Soup Cook off on May 2.

Students from Nelson A. Boylen Collegiate Institute, Archbishop Romero Catholic Secondary, George Harvey Collegiate Institute, Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School and first-timers Kipling Collegiate Institute prepared an array of tasty dishes.

George Harvey captured the Big Wooden Spoon first prize while Kipling was the runner-up.

“The skill level of the students coming into the club varies from non-existent to quite competent,” said 12 Division Community Policing Liaison Committee (CPLC) member Barbara Spyropoulos. “By the time the session is over, most are very capable in the kitchen. The output of the students who represent their club at the cook off is at a very high level indeed.

“The competition is a deeply serious, high-focus affair for the students, but it is also a lot of fun as the 15 judges this year interacted with the students. The sense of pride and accomplishment is tangible as the teams present their product that is enjoyed by all who are present.”

Chief Mark Saunders declared Archbishop Romero’s curry the best he’s tasted.

Through the generosity of food service industry suppliers, every participant took home professional grade tools for their kitchens. Club participants in their graduating year were also eligible for bursaries if they were pursuing post-secondary education.

This year, nine Archbishop Romero graduates, two from George Harvey and one from Mary Ward were bursary recipients.

The first Stone Soup Cooking Clubs were organized in 2006 by an ad hoc partnership featuring Toronto Police, the Toronto District School Board, the Toronto catholic School Board, the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry & recreation, Toronto Public health, the hospitality industry and community members in response to mental health issues, inadequate nutrition, poor academic performance, high dropout rates, high youth employment and increased youth violence.

Two people in kitchen, one opening oven
Students working hard in the Humber College kitchen to prepare their meals Photo: 12 Division
Plates of food on tables
Dishes prepared by students ready to be judged Photo: 12 Division
A man in TPS uniform with four teens in aprons holding certificates
Chief Saunders with the winning students from George Harvey Collegiate Institute Photo: 12 Division

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