WATCH ABOVE: Staff at a unique business in St. Albert are giving back to their community through a cooking class. But as Quinn Ohler explains, these aren’t your average chefs — or their average customers.
EDMONTON — Every good business knows the importance of giving back to its community. That lesson was front and centre for a group of St. Albert high school students on Thursday night, when they teamed up with some peers who have taken on one of the biggest challenges imaginable: battling cancer.
The students mixed their dough from scratch, picked their toppings and even baked the pies in a wood-fired stove outside the school.
The Bellerose Composite High School program is made up of a group of entrepreneurial-minded, culinary arts students. As part of the program, students take out a loan from the school to buy a piece of equipment for their kitchen.
“Through the year what we do is we put that piece of equipment to work, in hopes of repaying the loan, and hopefully make enough of a profit to take us on a trip on the end of the year, and experience some food from different places,” said Grade 11 student Evan Harris.
Each month the students hold a family dinner, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill spaghetti fundraiser. The Thai-themed meal in January garnered praise in the St. Alberta Gazette as one of the best meals in town. Past meals have featured gourmet Brome Lake duck confit, and ice creams in flavours like pumpkin spice and salted caramel.
“Food is a communal thing and cooking for people is one of the best feelings ever, especially if you do it right,” said Harris.
The for-profit operation is meant to help students develop their skills and understanding in the business community. Students have to apply for the program like a real job. Harris said there’s usually over 40 applicants, but only 18 to 20 are picked each year.
On Thursday, the focus was not on making a profit. Instead, it was on giving back to the community and sharing their culinary knowledge.
For the kids battling cancer, it was a night to forget their sickness, focus on learning new skills and eat delicious pizza.
“This is one of the most proud moments a teacher can have,” said instructor Jason Dabbagh.
“When you get to witness your students taking something that you’ve tried to instill and going on to teach that to somebody else. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the year for the food business program at the school,” he added.
The students are getting ready for next month’s family dinner on Wednesday, March 18. The five-course meal includes an appetizer of stuffed dates wrapped in prosciutto, a main course featuring cider-glazed pork chop and a spicy chocolate crème brûlée dessert. Click HERE buy tickets, or visit their Facebook page for more information.