BY RICHARD MOOREY
LET’S face it: There are an awful lot of people in this world that go hungry and Thunder Bay is definitely not immune to this problem. Hunger is an issue that can affect anyone.
Of course there are those that live day to day struggling with personal demons that leave them with a self-inflicted inability to put food on the table but so many people have just been dealt a bad hand and have to make the choice between food or other life necessities. Hunger can even hit stable families that just don’t earn enough to get manageable amounts of food to put on the table throughout the month.
On the bright side of things there is always help and hope in the battle to beat hunger. School programs keep kids fed, drop in centres make hundreds of meals daily, soup trucks are on the road, food banks help stock bare cupboards in people’s homes and community gardens, community kitchens and initiatives like Roots to Harvest and our very own Regional Food Distribution Association have committed people with huge hearts and the knowledge and drive to help curb the hunger issue.
Recently a great chef that is well known among city chef’s has returned home to Thunder Bay and is using his years of experience and his love of food to take a bite out of this city’s hunger problems.
Chef Andrew (Ginger) Bryson has been the new chef/kitchen co-ordinator at the Shelter House for two months now and he’s showing his giant heart by not only just using his new position to feed the hungry but to deliver delicious and inspired food that is meant to be as close to restaurant quality as possible.
Ginger came up through the hotels about the same time as so many other great chef’s did and learned from local legends like Chef Bruneau Neiderer and Chef Tom Simpson. I got to work with Andrew on many occasions and his drive to deliver deliciousness was infectious.
Andrew is pushing to set new standard for servicing clients with closer attention to logistics while delivering Tastitude through healthy, high quality and nutrient dense eats that people will really enjoy. He wants to develop and implement a training program to assist clients in gaining skills and kitchen and experience that may assist them in getting gainful employment while helping them achieve a sense of pride while helping them to share the one thing that has kept him focused and out of trouble himself: Great food.
Menu planning is one of his biggest challenges and an enjoyable part of his job at the same time. Every day is different, bringing something new he says because you never know what you’re going to get in for donations so it leaves lots of last minute decisions for menu development and implementation.
Getting donations and fresh products is the biggest challenge especially proteins and right now the need of fresh meat or money to buy fresh meat is huge. Evolution of Tastitude has decided to help out our kitchen brother to assist him help Shelter House so we’ve recently launched our Power of Tastitude Kitchen for Ginger Camapign.
Right now you can visit the Evolution of Tastitude Facebook page and pledge your donation to the KITCHEN FOR GINGER and then drop off your donation at the Shelter House at your earliest convenience or even pledge volunteer hours to assist in the fight against hunger. You can also visit www.evot.ca and click the Shelter House Ad to make a direct online donation to help Andrew buy much needed protein for the kitchen. Just mark donations KITCHEN FOR GINGER.
Danny Thompson and his family and team from George’s Market on River St. and Mandy Coppin and her family and team from Vitality Natural Foods on Waterloo St. have both been very generous and made space to be drop off points for any non-perishable food items people wish to donate to Shelter House during this Campaign.
Andrew is currently planning an all-city chef’s dinner where local chefs come in and prepare a special meal that would rival any restaurant dinner service in town.
He feels an event like this would only serve to show people how much they matter and that everyone deserves not only to eat but to partake in some of the food that has been his privilege to cook over the years in some of Thunder Bay’s most notable establishments.
People can always call Shelter House direct if they want to know which items are most needed before they stop by to donate and donations of volunteer time are always needed and disposable cutlery is another highly sought after item as is cutlery of any kind.
Chef Bryson can be reached at 807-623-8182 ext 7 or better yet he says you can email him at email@example.com as a chef’s life is always on the go. Especially a chef that helps to prepare almost 185,000 meals for hungry clients every year.
Richard Moorey (aka Chef House) can be reached with email to firstname.lastname@example.org, through his website at www.evot.ca, or on his Facebook group Evolution of Tastitude. You can follow him on Twitter @House_74.