North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC

North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC

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Last Update: July 25, 2012

Restaurant and catering operations support free training and hands-on experience for culinary students through our non-profit firm the North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC. Donald Guthro, founder and operator, is an internationally-trained chef of over 32 years. He supports and encourages those who are underprivileged including those of Aboriginal and Native origin, youth, the homeless, unemployed, single parents, and transitional individuals.

Training in culinary basics includes opportunities to learn, work towards industry-leading Red Seal certification, and even includes job placement assistance. Students never pay any fees for courses, books, uniforms, or required equipment such as knife sets. This represents a tuition savings to students of up to $30,000 per year at other cooking schools. The result is our graduates are not saddled with a heavy debt load and are instead finding meaningful work at top industry destinations with a current employment rate of over 80%.

The program reaches out to many areas of the community and sponsors events such as the Dundarave Festival of Lights and the North Shore Mayors Golf Tournament. We have applied social enterprise to the Culinary Industry to promote community development and reduce unemployment through innovation that has the ability to positively affect the lives of many. In fact, we believe it has the ability to create lasting socio-economic change and is not restricted to one area or country.

Type: hybrid

The Problem

There is a tremendous need for skilled workers in the Culinary Industry- especially at the entry level. New entrants to this industry can expect to earn minimum wage while supporting a family and large debt-load due to training and education requirements. The cost of annual tuition can be up to $30,000 per year while graduates can expect to earn $10-$12 per hour. They are unable to pay off their student loans and struggle to survive in a highly competitive industry. Homeless and transitional youth have very bleak employment prospects due to a skills gap and lack of consistent employment history. This is true both in smaller communities under 100,000 and in larger cities over 1,000,000- both of which NS Culinary Education Society of BC is engaging. With the ability to level the playing field when it comes to providing equality of learning and earning opportunities, our organization has been subsidizing wage and training for these individuals in order to make a difference. Ending homelessness is a fundamental need throughout our area and we believe this need also has applications on a global scale with the right approach. Our program has taken homeless individuals, provided training and job placement assistance in external businesses, then followed up to ensure success. We believe strongly in supporting them to become productive members of society where they can follow their passion for cooking and ultimately, give back to many.

The Solution

Our solution offers basic and advanced education and experience in the culinary arts and is open to all- regardless of education, family income, or previous employment history. The current curriculum offers 1 year of basic training, with optional advanced courses in meats and pastries. Training, uniforms, books, employment, job placement assistance, networking, community experience are all provided free of charge. This solution is innovative because those who profit most are not required to pay for their experience, while the community in which they work receives dedicated professionals with the right tools to succeed. Unlike other culinary training programs, the class size is small- 8 or less students at one time. This allows for 1-on-1 training with the chef and ensures high quality engagement, accountability, and results. Over 80% of all of our graduates are currently employed in the sector. Users can access our services through a local homeless shelter, through our restaurant, or through an online or community event such as a charity dinner. Recently, the organization participated in a local golf tournament by volunteering fresh, nutritious meals to donors that were prepared on site by cooks in training through the program.

Example

To illustrate our business model in action, a transitional, single mother arrives at a homeless shelter with no money and no employment prospects after being abused by her ex-spouse. She shows interest in receiving our training. She signs up for the next intake session where she shows aptitude and commitment. Once enrolled, she stays with our program for 1 year and during this time gains employment at a local eatery in a hotel contingent upon her completing her training with us. She has no money for training but is now earning a working wage while still learning. Upon graduation, she receives a promotion from the hotel restaurant. Opting for further training, she continues working and training at night in advanced pastry at one of our lab kitchens.

Budget: $500,000 - $1 million

Marketplace

We are only aware of 1 other competitor in our city operating as a culinary social enterprise. This enterprise does not pose a challenge to our success because we believe it is using a different business model and primarily only works with homeless individuals located downtown. Our peers include suppliers who invest in non-profits and local and regional societies. Once again, our research indicates these players do not pose any immediate threat to our success or growth because they are not specialized to manage a social enterprise in the Culinary Industry. Furthermore, we believe their cost structures and lack of differentiation in this field would hinder their ability to compete at least in the short to mid-term.

Team Members

August 24th, 2012

North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC has recently initiated the marketing process although funding available does not currently permit access to paid advertising in national or high-profile publications such as newspapers and television networks. Still, word-of-mouth and leaflet campaigns alone have recently contributed to customer traffic increase in one of our locations at NSCS Discovery Restaurant in Jericho Park, Vancouver. Drawing customers from local residents, travelers to the HI Hostel in which we are housed, students from the University of British Columbia, beach goers,...

July 25th, 2012

To date, all of the proceeds raised through our social enterprise have been channeled to increasing the number of seats and quality of educational materials so that our students receive a unique and high-level skill set from which to carve out their professional niche in the culinary field of their choosing. Unlike other culinary programs whose student fees increase salaries of educators, the Executive Director has chosen not to take a salary from his program, while subsidizing 100% of the cost of books, tuition, instructors and facilities from his own funds. After considerable research...

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Need

At the North Shore Culinary Society of BC, exciting events are unfolding. For example, we have recently opened a training kitchen and food services facility at the MPA Society in Vancouver, BC. In addition, we have now taken possession of the Mahon Park site and renovations preparing for the...

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Need

The North Shore Culinary Education Society operates as a social enterprise with current funding being all proceeds from catering and restaurant sales. Currently we are trying to open several new locations to include lab training kitchens and concession areas for sale of fresh fare to the public...

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Challenges

Growth Tracker

Stage: Milestone 3 of 5
Start
05/30/12
End
Milestone
NSCS Discovery Restaurant
Date of Completion 09/01/11
Completed
Open our restaurant
Milestone
Mahon Park servery and training facility
Date of Completion 05/01/12
Completed
Open facility and begin year-round basic training
In Progress
Add advanced pastry and meat courses
In Progress
Offer adult training courses to general public at night
In Progress
Offer custom meats and pastries below retail
Milestone
MPA Society kitchen and training facility
Date of Completion 07/25/12
Completed
Open the new facility
Achievement
Milestone Reached!
Date 07/25/12
Achievement
Milestone Reached!
Date 07/25/12
Impact Report
Benefactors of North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC
Date 07/25/12
To date, all of the proceeds raised through our social enterprise have been channeled to increasing the number of seats and quality of educational materials so that our students receive a unique and high-level skill set from which to carve out their professional niche in the culinary field of their choosing. Unlike other culinary programs whose student fees increase salaries of educators, the Executive Director has chosen not to take a salary from his program, while subsidizing 100% of the cost of books, tuition, instructors and facilities from his own funds.
Impact Report
Intensive Marketing Campaign
Date 08/24/12
North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC has recently initiated the marketing process although funding available does not currently permit access to paid advertising in national or high-profile publications such as newspapers and television networks. Still, word-of-mouth and leaflet campaigns alone have recently contributed to customer traffic increase in one of our locations at NSCS Discovery Restaurant in Jericho Park, Vancouver.
Milestone
Intensive marketing campaign
Date of Completion 12/03/12
In Progress
Publish feature articles in national canadian newspapers
In Progress
Publish coffee table cook book
In Progress
Appear on cooking documentaries for television including public broadcasting
Milestone
Open new building and feature restaurant in Downtown Vancouver
Target Completion Date 08/01/14
In Progress
Fundraising for building
In Progress
Fundraising for restaurant
Milestone 3
Mahon Park servery and training facility

Comments & Activity

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Comments & Activity

Comments

Donald Guthro profile img
Wed, 06/20/2012 - 13:25

Have you tasted the benefits of social enterprise? We think you will enjoy a full menu of services offered by the North Shore Culinary Education Society of BC.

Donald Guthro profile img
Fri, 08/24/2012 - 13:29

The countdown is on until we open the Mahon Park location from which full-service training kitchen, food servery and catering will operate to meet the needs of the North Shore.