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Getting Creative with Cooking – by Fran Johnstone

David Winchuck is enjoying a meal as part of his participation in the York Region Food Network's virtual programming.
David Winchuck is enjoying a meal as part of his participation in the York Region Food Network’s virtual programming.

The York Region Food Network has been a wonderful connection and resource for L’Arche Daybreak’s Club participants. Over the past few years, core members have participated in their Community Cooks program, which is all about “building community by cooking in community to serve the community.” Core members and assistants from the club learned about kitchen safety, food handling, nutrition, and basic cooking skills. We prepared dishes in bulk and portioned them out into ready-to-eat meals that were shared within the York Region community for people in need. We also shared in a meal together at the end of each class.

When the pandemic hit, YRFN started offering virtual programming. Lunch Table is a twice-a-month program that Helen Schlicter, David Winchuck, and I join for one hour through Zoom, to learn about topics such as One-Pot Meals or Let’s Talk Cake. It has been a wonderful way to stay connected. David and Helen have both really enjoyed the virtual program. And while tasting the food they prepare is Helen and David’s favourite thing about the program, David also loves sharing the food he makes: “I share what I make with all my housemates. They always love it. I am proud to show people what I cooked.”

Lately, we have taken part in YRFN’s Global Gourmet, another virtual cooking class with a history lesson led by Chef Maxine. In this class we get to explore different cultures, cook along with our virtual friends and prepare lunch with all the ingredients generously provided by YRFN. Recently, we made yam flapjacks with roasted mushrooms in piri piri sauce.

We are so very grateful for the many opportunities YRFN has offered us here at Daybreak, for the friendship, the sense of community and the many learnings along the way, and most of all, the creative way in which to stay connected.