Diversity Food Services

Diversity Food Services

International Cuisine at U of W

When the new student residence opened at the University of Winnipeg in 2009, the need for an enhanced campus dining experience was heightened for both the students on the mandatory meal plan as well as to meet the existing demand for daily cafeteria services and catering needs.

After a number of meetings, a new agency was formed with the University of Winnipeg Community Renewal Corporation (UWCRC) and SEED Winnipeg. This partnership provides the opportunity to create an enterprise that will deliver excellent food services to the University while providing meaningful employment to a segment of the population that is often under-valued. As part of the training, Diversity staff receive certification in three areas - safe food handling, responsible alcohol service and customer service - credentials that can open doors to careers in food service anywhere.

Diversity Food Services presently has three locations on campus and that features cuisine from around the globe. The food is prepared mostly by recent immigrants to Winnipeg, including people from the Philippines, Sudan, Taiwan, Burma, Cuba, Muldovia, the Ukraine, Scotland, El Salvador and Canadians including Metis and Aboriginal working at the restaurants. All bring ideas from their home country while learning what it takes to work in food services. Ben Kramer, former chef and general manager of the Dandelion Eatery is the Executive Chef. Catering is provided both internally to the staff as well as externally to others in the community.

Diversity Food Services
Some of the staff

The Jubilee Fund was approached by Hugh O'Hare from SEED Winnipeg to assist with funding the start-up costs. The Credit Committee quickly agreed, noting the social and economical benefits this new enterprise will bring to the employees, the University and the community as a whole. In speaking with Hugh he commented, “I was pleased to see the community involvement behind this venture with The Jubilee Fund stepping up and partnering in the financing of this fantastic project. The Jubilee Funds contribution will have a great impact on creating ongoing training for those who may never get the chance to work in all facets of the food industry.” President John Schwandt and Neil Childs, Vice President (and Credit Committee Chair) were among the lucky ones to attend a special luncheon provided to supporters on August 19, 2009.

The UWCRC mandate is to work towards developing a sustainable University community that is attractive to the faculty, staff, students and the greater community. In discussion with SEED Winnipeg, UWCRC articulated the desire to establish an enterprise that would deliver a high quality of food, integrate social/environmental goals, and be a positive force for low income individuals from the surrounding community develop career skills, earn a living wage and learn about the varied cultures of the campus and surrounding neighbourhood.

SEED Winnipeg is a non-profit agency whose mandate it is to fight inner-city poverty by aiding people in their efforts to save money and to start sustainable ventures. SEED Winnipeg’s mission, with respect to the hospitality industry, is to positively influence the quality of employment for the workers and provide advice, training and financing for small businesses.

www.diversitycatering.ca

Diversity Food Services