teaching ottawa students about smart culinary choices

Shared by Dwayne Brown

Chef Kent Van Dyk photographed at the Parkdale Market.

We all hear how important it is to shop and support independent restaurants and to buy our food from local producers – well Kent Van Dyk is going one step further and teaching Ottawa high school students about how to make those important choices. Kent runs a Barrhaven high school culinary arts program teaching cooking and restaurant management, with a focus on cooking from scratch, eating locally and sustainably. Kent is hoping in some cases to have students move on to the culinary world but he really wants to educate future consumers about what they buy, where they buy, how to cook it and the joy of preparing food from scratch and sharing it with people.  At the school they have a kitchen garden and in grades 9 and 10 the field trips they do feature visits to orchards, sugar bushes, Ottawa farmer’s markets and businesses that promote sustainability!

When I asked Kent about what he loved about Ottawa, it was no surprise to hear that he loves so many of the great independent sources for food. “I really like shopping at the local farmer’s markets (particularly Parkdale) and small local purveyors like Glebe Meat Market and Whalesbone Sustainable Fish Supply and then cooking for friends.”

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

There is so much more that Kent loves about Ottawa – the multitude of music festivals from Folkfest to Arboretum to Chamberfest and everything in between.  He also loves all of the outdoor activities you can do in Ottawa – from hiking and cross-country skiing in the Gatineu park to walking/running along the canal. Ottawa has so much to offer all year round!

Kent’s attention, of course returns back to the fantastic restaurant/food culture in Ottawa. “I like a lot of different restaurants in Ottawa and I don’t want to leave anyone out but some of my favourite restaurants are Town on Elgin St.,  Edgar for brunch on the weekend and  Sidedoor for son-in-law egg and panang curry. I also really love Supply and Demand and Wellington Gastropub (around the corner from my house), Union 613 for Southern hospitality and of course El Camino.”

Kent is super happy that Ottawa’s old image of a sleepy government town is rapidly changing. “When I walk by restaurants on say a Wednesday night and people are still coming in at 9:30-10:00 for dinner…I’m happy!”  It’s so great that Ottawa has really evolved into a dynamic city that embraces eating locally and supporting the many artisanal producers in the region…from craft brewers to cheese makers to amazing farmers.

Thanks so much to Kent for sharing his love for Ottawa!

For more information about Kent Van Dyk:

Categorised as: Dwayne Brown Studio, loveOttawa

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