My visit to the Ottawa Mission Food Services Training Program

Chef Claude Leblond Ideas & Inspiration

I want to tell you about an amazing food services training program I recently had the good fortune to become involved with in Ottawa. The Ottawa Mission Food Services Training Program (FSTP) is an amazing five-month program that teaches people how to cook in a commercial kitchen. It builds the self-esteem and confidence so fundamental to success, and puts them through courses in Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), health and safety, food handling, standard first aid and knife handling skills. Participants get first-hand experience in a working kitchen, learning how to prepare and present a variety of meals. They even spend the last few weeks of the program in a job placement—the best experience any new chef can get.


My involvement with the FSTP began back in June when I was asked to be a guest speaker at the graduation ceremony for 10 successful graduates of the program. When I was asked back on August 23rd to teach nine FSTP students and assist with the prep to feed the thousands of homeless people that come through the Ottawa Mission, I jumped at the opportunity. What a humbling experience! I felt so fortunate for the opportunity to give back to the culinary industry and share my knowledge and expertise with the group of aspiring professionals at the Ottawa Mission Food Services Training Program.


I encourage anyone who is given the chance to teach and mentor the industry’s next wave of culinary professionals to make the most of it. There’s no better feeling than sharing your lifelong passion with people who are equally as passionate and just beginning their culinary journey.


I wish everyone in the Ottawa Mission Food Services Training Program nothing but success. I can’t wait to dine at your restaurants one day.


Claude Leblond