The spirit of the season shines at OCH Foodworks

Ottawa: time to order your holiday tourtières!

For the third year in a row, the team at Foodworks are busy creating special holiday fare. Savoury tourtières (complete with homemade catsup) and Panettone, a delicious bread that’s ideal for dessert or breakfast (it makes amazing French toast), are now available for pre-order through the FoodWorks website. 

Chef Bruce Wood has created two scrumptious, traditionally-inspired recipes – a meat-based version with beef, onions, potato and garlic, or a hearty vegetarian one with lentils, mushrooms, potatoes, onions and garlic. They’re being sold for the very reasonable price of $30 each and come in a 9 inch size, loaded with 2 pounds (1 kg) of filling, servings 6 – 8 adults. Fully cooked then frozen, they are ready to heat and serve at your convenience.

Panettone is a delicious and versatile sweet loaf.

Add a Panettone to your order and you’ll have a terrific option for breakfast, brunch or coffee by the fire, with this traditional sweet Italian loaf studded with dried fruit such as apricots, dates, and cranberries. Both of the special holiday offerings are nut-free (although not prepared in a nut-free kitchen). You can even add in some of FoodWorks other popular items from their catering menu such as charcuterie boards or dips + crostini, salads, desserts and more – they’re available in quantities for 10 people and up.

It’s important to note that the tourtière and Panettone quantities are limited, so if you want be a Santa to yourself and let someone else take care of some of your holiday meal preparation, get your order in as soon as possible. Pickup times at Operation Come Home’s headquarters at 150 Gloucester Street will be Friday, December 20th between 1pm-3:45pm or Monday, December 23rd from 1pm-3:45pm.

Chef Bruce Wood in the FoodWorks kitchen.

If you’re wondering why Chef Bruce is such a fan of tourtière, he confided that has fully embraced it despite not coming from a French Canadian background. “Unlike many chefs, I did not learn to cook from my mom who was, at best, an average cook. I had my first bite of tourtière at a church gathering and could not believe how delicious it was. I suddenly had a true appreciation for how inspiring food could be and it probably helped lead me towards my career as a Chef.”

After sampling the meat version of FoodWorks’ tourtière, it is clear that Chef Bruce has passed his passion for these pies onto his protégés in the kitchen. Rich and satisfying, it tastes just as good, if not better, than the ones I grew up enjoying (and my mom’s still a pretty fantastic tourtière maker at age 90!) I now understand why tourtières are a permanent fixture on the FoodWorks catering menu.

FoodWorks team member Jake, at work preparing a catering order.

The FoodWorks program is the latest social enterprise to be added to the employment programs of Ottawa’s Operation Come Home (OCH). The catering and food delivery program works with Chef Bruce – renowned around the world for his talents – to engage OCH-recruited youth in the development of culinary skills. The goal is to assist young people ages 18 – 26 who are having challenges finding employment by giving them training and experience so they can become more self-sufficient.

Chef Bruce has been with FoodWorks for two and a half years and has supported the personal and professional development of over a dozen individuals (they spend 6 months in the program) during his tenure. While some of the FoodWorks graduates do go on to successful careers in the food industry, all participants learn much more than just how a kitchen works. “They also learn punctuality, work ethic, how to be part of a team and how to work efficiently – these are transferrable skills that can be useful in other professions as well,” notes Bruce.

“I like seeing the growth of the youth, seeing them overcome their shyness as they engage with others, develop their skill sets plus gain some self-confidence and self-esteem,” he explains. “My job here is a blend of coaching and teaching. I love it because it took a lot of support from a lot of different people for me to have the rewarding culinary career that I’ve had. Now it’s time for me to pay it forward for these kids and their futures.”

FoodWorks’ catering program is growing steadily (and they still have room for a few more holiday bookings, if you’re interested). Customers come back time and again thanks to the freshly-prepared from scratch, delicious food, not to mention the affordable pricing.
For more information on FoodWorks’ holiday offer and catering, or if special accommodations are needed, please contact Katie Sanders

Author: Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. If you enjoy this space be sure to check out my Rogers TV Ottawa cooking show, Paula Roy's Favourite Foods, available on local cable, streaming and a dedicated playlist on Rogers TV's YouTube channel.

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