Love of cooking goes International in a High School with 32 Service Battalion Cooks

Article / December 12, 2016 / Project number: c-ar-1212-cooks-cuisiniers

TORONTO, Ont (Ontario) – Tasty zucchini rolls and cookies were on the menu for the cooks of 32 Service Battalion (32 Svc Bn) who were recently involved with International Chef’s day at Northview Heights Secondary School on October 22, 2016.

Grade 12 students, as part of their Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Culinary program, got excellent hands-on experience instructing Grade 3 students of neighboring Wilmington Public School on how to prepare simple and healthy foods under the watchful eyes of cooks from the battalion, the combat service support unit for 32 Canadian Brigade Group, based in Toronto.

“By helping the community achieve their goals, we’re able to give something back” said Corporal Lawrence Hou, one of the battalion’s cooks, “while it assists me with my instructional techniques.”

School Chef Dimitra Konstantakou had invited chefs from the Canadian Culinary Federation as well as Nursing students from York University to be part of this joint venture.  “As high school teachers, we like to connect with our community to inform and promote great culinary programs.”  She believes that events like this not only teach the students the basic life cooking skills, but also allows cooks – both military and civilian - to volunteer their mentorship to the youth.

“You get to learn different cooking methods from different people which makes you a better cook,” said Corporal Benson Bannatyne of 32 Svc Bn.

For Susan Ng of Food Revolution Toronto, it was wonderful to hear the changes that have occurred within the Army and to tour the battalion’s Mobile Kitchen Trailer (MKT). “It also gave students a glimpse into another avenue in food – as a Canadian Armed Forces cook who can feed and nourish hungry soldiers,” she said.

The students from Northview and Wilmington learned about military cooking and the role of the Army cooks in nourishing soldiers during training and in combat.  Sergeant Karistinos emphasized that “no matter who you are, cooking is an essential life skill.”

He explained that serving healthy food is a basic responsibility; but serving healthy food and including some of the current culinary trends, helps raise the morale of the soldiers.

The cooks of 32 Svc Bn all agree that they love their trade and never want to stop learning about the industry.  This also means they love feeding our soldiers – whether at home, from the MKT, to a fancy mess dinner – or on deployment from the arctic cold to the desert heat.

32 Svc Bn is an Army Reserve unit which trains part-time soldiers to serve as support to the combat arms units of the Reserve and Regular Force. It includes a Battalion Headquarters Company, a Close Support Company, an Independent Services Company a Maintenance Company; and a Logistics Company that contains the, a Food Services Platoon and a Military Police Platoon.

The Battalion’s soldiers have deployed on domestic operations to the Manitoba Floods, and the Ice Storm of 1998, the G8/G20 Summits and Op PROVISION providing support to refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria. They and have served in various United Nations and NATO peacekeeping missions as well as the mission in Afghanistan.

By Captain Rita Arendz, 32 Canadian Brigade Group Public Affairs

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