Ottawa Community Housing pilot project offers students hands-on experience and affordable meals for tenants
June 8 – Mac Manor Bistro serves up valuable work experience to students and quality, affordable food to community housing tenants.
The pilot project is a collaboration between Ottawa Community Housing, Algonquin College, Options Bytown, and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. Algonquin culinary students gain valuable experience providing affordable, nutritious meals to residents from two Lowertown community-housing buildings. The food is prepped and served at 123 Augusta St. in the top-floor Mac Manor Bistro, which was officially launched on Friday.
The grand opening event coincided with the graduation of the Bistro’s first class of 15 students. Students cooked lunch Monday, Wednesday and Fridays for 15 weeks to earn their Kitchen Steward Level 2 from Algonquin, while completing their theory work at the College. Two more student cohorts are already scheduled to come through the commercial kitchen space through 2018-19.
The Algonquin students are all from the Ottawa District School Board, which has partnered with Algonquin College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism on a Kitchen Steward Level 1 program since 2014. Mac Manor Bistro is an extension of that program – giving culinary students a unique applied training environment, and putting their kitchen, cleaning, sanitation, and food preparation skills to the test. Students also receive front-of-house training, which entails customer service, serving, setting a dining room, cash transactions, and communication skills.
Due to the success of the Mac Manor Bistro initiative, its collaborative team plan to expand the program to include catering for board meetings and supply food and snacks for various social programs within the Lowertown area. In addition, Level 2 students will help process food donated to Options Bytown and the local food bank, which get a surplus of foods – like lentils and legumes – that are difficult to dispense due to challenging preparation. Students will process such foods and deliver them to the Food Bank as a finished product.
Algonquin College President Cheryl Jensen:
Applied learning and community engagement are at the heart of our educational experience. Mac Manor Bistro is a testament to what creative partnerships can do to make a difference in our city – and to make a difference in people’s lives.
Stephane Giguère, the Chief Executive Officer for Ottawa Community Housing Corporation:
It’s thanks to the collaboration between the dedicated staff that works for Ottawa Community Housing and our partners at Algonquin College, Options Bytown and the Lowertown Resource Community Centre that made this initiative possible. The Mac Manor Bistro provides valuable real-world instructional value to Algonquin students. It also helps our tenants by encouraging them to socialize and giving them an affordable and nutritional meal three times a week. We are happy to provide the space for the Bistro.
Wes Wilkinson, Academic Manager, Continuing Education Hospitality Studies
This program has gone beyond my expectations. The energy of learning and engagement is huge for the students and all involved.
Mathieu Fleury, Rideau-Vanier Councillor and Chair of Ottawa Community Housing Corporation
When great organizations such as the Lowertown Community Resource Centre, Algonquin College, Ottawa Community Housing, Options Bytown and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board come together, amazing things can happen,” said OCH chair Mathieu Fleury. “The MacManor Bistro is a wonderful way to deal with some of the food security issues in Lowertown, not to mention, an excellent way to reduce isolation and build a sense of community.
Candace Carson, Co-op program co-ordinator at Ottawa Carleton District School Board
The Kitchen Steward Readiness Program provides OCDSB students with a unique opportunity to gain comfort and confidence in a kitchen setting, earn recognized certifications and develop a sense of social purpose. KSRP is making a positive difference in the lives of our students.
Catharine Vandelinde, executive director Options Bytown
Options Bytown is thrilled to be part of the collaboration that brought the Bistro to life and continues to support its work. The Bistro provides much needed access to nutritious and low-cost meals to the tenants of this building, and an opportunity for people to come together with their neighbours to build friendships and make social connections.
For more information, contact:
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Ottawa Community Housing Corporation
613-727-4723 ext. 6452
613-727-4723 ext. 2091
Ottawa Community Housing Corporation provides approximately 15,000 homes to over 32,000 tenants, including seniors, parents, children, couples, singles and persons with special needs, within many communities across the City of Ottawa. OCH houses a diverse population of varying languages, ethnicity and cultures. OCHC is the largest social housing provider in Ottawa, managing two-thirds of the City’s social housing portfolio, and is the second largest in Ontario.
About Algonquin College
bout Algonquin College: Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology is a publicly funded English-language college that is home to more than 25,000 full-time students. Algonquin’s campus, located on the unceded and unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin and Anishinabek peoples, has one of the highest populations of Indigenous students in Ontario’s college system.
About Options Bytown
Options Bytown supports hundreds of tenants living in buildings owned by the two largest social housing providers, Ottawa Community Housing and Centretown Citizens Ottawa.
About Lowertown Community Resource Centre
Since 1970, the LCRC has been offering a range of social and community services to individuals and families residing in Lowertown. The LCRC is a non-profit organization with a Board of Directors whose members are elected by Lowertown residents. The LCRC is part of a coalition of 14 community resource and health centres which serve the Ottawa area.
The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) is the largest school board in Eastern Ontario serving students within a 2,760 square kilometre area known as the city of Ottawa. We are the seventh largest board by school population in the province of Ontario. Our students are based out of 143 schools – 113 elementary including two special education sites, 25 secondary including the Adult High School, and 5 secondary alternate sites.