Class starts at 9. Students jump right into their lesson. Today they are making soup. Two kinds. Mushroom, and beef and barley. Chef Robert explains that they will be cutting onions, tomatoes, beef and carrots.
"Carrots, no not carrots, I just cut 50 carrots. 50 carrots at my job. I did. I really did.” Mariam jokingly protests.
Chef Robert explains how to cut a carrot. You want to have control over your carrot. He lines up the carrot and with the skill of a chef who has honed his craft he slowly goes through the process of cutting the carrot. "If you don’t have control over your carrot - then the carrot has control over you.” The class intently watches and listens… "And you know what happens when your carrot has control over you? It starts to read your texts… it starts to order things on the television with your credit card, it starts to send emails from your account."
Oh, you’re joking. The students laugh and relax.
After break, Chef Robert asks all of the students to grab an onion. "Take your time, its not a race, you like your fingers.” He watches each student from the front of the class while continuing to demonstrate and walk the students through it. "You want to make sure your onion is stable”, he reminds them. "You know what happens if your onion is unstable? It starts to call you late at night. It says, why doesn’t anyone love me… you don’t want to have to deal with an unstable onion."
Oh, you’re joking again. The students continue to work on the task at hand.
Irene Moore, Area Manager of Christian Horizons pops in to check on the class; Judith, the Employment Coordinator is also onboard today. Judith is here every Saturday as well as teaching soft skills at Christian Horizons on Tuesdays. She helps guide the students through their day in school, repeating direction and helping the students stay on task. If someone is having a difficult day, she takes them aside, talks them though it and guides them back into the rhythm of the class. "I come here every Saturday. I am just so proud of them."
Today the students are gathered around two large cooking pots - a slight modification to each student using a burner. Chef Robert explains, “These students have been taught their whole lives that stoves are hot. Don’t touch the stove.” The purpose of the program is to equip the students with the skills they need to work in a kitchen, making friends with the stove is a great starting place, safely and in a controlled environment. Each student takes a turn stirring the great pot that contains the culmination of all of the students' cutting.
Back to class and time to clean up. Nobody really likes the cleanup, but they know it needs to be done and they set out doing it.
The class wraps up, students are still smiling. They say their goodbyes to everyone and we assure them that we will be back in two Saturdays to continue their stories.
What a fabulous, feel good Saturday.
A Slice of Life - Take 1
The class learns about aromatic brew, what a great soup smells like. Joshua learns to waft the soup to capture that aroma. Lunch time. Soup is on. The students have their choice of soups for lunch. A one hour break sees the students gravitate, soups in hand, to the campus Tim Hortons, like the thousands of students who attend Humber during the week.
As the lunch hour winds down, the students wander back to the hall and gravitate towards the film crew. They are keen to talk about their interests. Jonathan has a love of music and art. He shows us pictures of his painting and drawings on his phone. Scott is a sports fanatic: he loves the Leafs, Montreal, Ottawa and the Oilers. A real Canadian sports fan. Maddy and Dori share stories from home, from work about their families and places they would like to go.
A partnership project between
Humber School of Social & Community Services and Humber School of Hospitality, Recreation & Tourism and Christian Horizons.