Our Growing Staff!

Meet the passionate people behind Growing Chefs Ontario and learn why food education is important to them!

Andrew Fleet

Executive Director and Founder

"Learning to cook was where it all clicked for me. It was the first time I understood that all of the things I had struggled to put in a practical context in school, like why we learn math, history, geography, or science. Turns out that it all comes into play when you’re cooking. For me, learning to cook was the first time in my adult life that learning became fun and exciting again.  Through cooking I discovered a platform that allowed me to be creative and artistic. It was one of the first times I felt excited to be challenged. All of a sudden, all of the healthy eating messaging that I had been hearing my entire life (but not listening to) became applicable for the first time. I suddenly understood that food that is good for you can be unbelievably delicious! For me, Growing Chefs! is an attempt to help children come to this realization earlier in life than I did."

Becca Minielly

Projects & Volunteer Coordinator

"Food education is important to me because the way to my heart is through my stomach! Food is a common ground, a talking point, a comfort, a community builder. What we do with food is the embodiment of our care for ourselves, other people, and the earth. So I think food education is a lesson in kindness."

Chris Large

Sous Chef

"Food education is important to me because its a valuable life skill to learn and has been lost in the cracks over the previous generation."

Chris St. Laurent

First Cook

"As a chef, catering to a public that is more educated about food means they are more willing to try different things that maybe the general public would shy away from."

Jen Wyant

Facility Director

"For me, it's personal. I have two young daughters at home and I want to be able to impress upon them the importance of making smart food choices at an early age. Luckily they both share my passion for cooking, so I feel it's my role to teach them how to use the best ingredients available to us. That means I need to learn all I can about it as well!"

Jenn Baswick

Food Education Assistant

Food plays a very important role in everyone's lives, even more than people may think. Food brings people together, nourishes our bodies, has an impact on our environment, gives an outlet for creativity and much more! I think it is essential that everyone understands where their food comes from, how to make healthy choices and how to prepare and enjoy good food. Food education gives youth the opportunity to build confidence surrounding all things involving food, building a healthy and happy future for themselves.

Lena Gahwi

Youth Education Assistant

"Food education is important to me because it makes healthy eating more accessible. A healthy lifestyle should never be something only a few can achieve and by teaching children at a young age how to make their own food, and become more involved in and knowledgable of the process, food becomes more accessible. I believe  that food education is incredibly empowering to young people, it helps them realize their own capabilities by teaching them new skills and allows them to make informed decisions about the food they consume. The more knowledge and skills we share with young people the more confidence and power we give them, these are skills they can apply to all parts of life!" 

Madeleine Say

Program Assistant and Social Media Manager

"Food is medicine; it has the power to heal, nourish, and bring people together, and so much of our health and happiness starts with the food we eat. Food education is empowerment; Everyone should have access to the knowledge and skills that empower them to make the best food choices for the health and happiness of themselves, their families, and our planet."

Ryan Wishak

Executive Chef

"In a world of sugary drinks, breakfast cereals, and highly processed junk foods I feel food education is more important than ever. Empowering young people to connect to where their food comes from and the process in which it got there is a very rewarding experience. Above all that, cooking is fun!"

Sharlaine Murga

Youth Education Assistant

"Food education is important because making healthy food choices and developing a good relationship with food is essential for a person's nutrition."

Sheri Templeton

Facility Administrator/Donor Relations

"Food is powerful. It brings people together and strengthens ourselves, our families, and our communities. Understanding our place within the food system helps us to understand how our actions can impact our food communities locally, regionally and globally, from ethical, environmental and economical perspectives."

Stephen O'Quinn

Co-op Student/Assistant Cook

"Food education is important because it allows people to be able to learn how to properly prepare and make meals. It’s also very useful as it teaches people new skills and expands their knowledge."
 Urban Harvest Landscape