Econo kitchen workshops : extra help in the kitchen

by karine
Categories: Uncategorized

    Diane Perron, a cook by profession, puts on her apron for three hours every Tuesday evening and Thursday morning to assist young and old in the preparation of three recipes that she has pre-selected and printed. These Econo kitchen workshops allow participants to not only bring a dozen meal servings for the week back to their homes, but are also a motivation for isolated people, forcing participants to get out of their houses and socialize.  Others see it as an occasion to practice their French, a language that they are becoming more and more comfortable with as the weeks goes by.  According to Diane, the goal of the workshops are for participants to learn to cook with what they have on hand, without having to buy new ingredients that can sometimes be expensive. They also learn what ingredient can replace the one they need and how to adjust the recipe accordingly. This concept is really practical and allows participants to save money when they have to cook at home.  

    At a cost of three dollars per workshop, these sessions are a bargain for the participants, whether students, families, newcomers, seniors or underprivileged. The participation cost is affordable, and that is because of the contribution by Moisson Montréal who often give the food needed for the recipes.  They are selected, adapted, and even created based on Moisson Montreal’s donation and are varied and healthy.  Sometimes, however, the ingredients are inadequate to the growing demand and that is why your donations are welcome anytime. If you would like to participate in Econo kitchen workshops or if you know someone who could benefit, do not hesitate to contact us.

    Giving, Saving, Learning – Benefits of Workshops:

    – To give participants access to food without having them feel that they are begging for it. They participate in the food preparation and develop a community spirit.

    – To save money by reducing the grocery bill.

    – To learn to manage with the products they have on hand. Many participants do not know how to cook or do not dare modify their recipes because of a lack of ingredients.

    – To develop new ways of getting organized and new tools to gain self-esteem.

    – To try new recipes that some would have been uneasy to make by fear of not liking and having to throw the dish away.

    – To foster social integration (coming out of isolation and socializing). Some participants are not always motivated to cook for themselves, others rarely leave their house.

    -Some elderly or sick people do not have the strength to prepare meals. The workshops allow them to do it at their own pace and, in return, they feel energized and eat better.

    – To allow low income workers with a busy schedule to enjoy low cost meals prepared in advance.

    – To allow students who do not have the money or the time (studying and working) to eat properly. Moreover, a great number of young adults have never learned to cook.

    – The cooking workshops have a great impact on the life of immigrants and refugees, notably:

                *They facilitate their social integration.

    *They allow newcomers to overcome their isolation, converse in French in a friendly atmosphere and meet their fellow citizens. The workshops are also a good way to combat prejudice and racism by bringing parties to share what their common values.

    *They help make local products known. The participants can afterwards feed themselves better in spite of their low budget, often in neighbourhoods described for years as food deserts.

    – To gain confidence in their abilities, and find hope in a better future


    The collective kitchen, not only, is a means to feed myself properly, but mostly, is a way for me to stop the pain and suffering I go through on a daily basis. The few hours I get to see other people and talk to them, alleviate a lot of the brokeness of my soul. By times, while all alone, I pray that  the time comes for me to meet with the cooking time sooner than later.

    If tomorrow there were to be no more of the Collective cooking, I think, it will cause me to fall back in that dark secluded solitary place in my head. May you all understand what my life or the shell of a life I have to live, without bearing any judgement. Beside me. there are far worst cases, that need the help, may it be just a smile, a hug, that can make a huge difference in our recovery.

    This project has changed my life. Thanks to this buying group, I had access to fresh and quality products in spite of my low budget. I did volunteer work for the distribution of orders and was proud to make sure that the project would go on. Through the collective cooking workshops, I learned to prepare balanced meals with the products that I had on hand. I took with me some meals I was proud to have helped prepare, at low cost. At the same time, I developed my capacity to manage on my own and to adapt according to the food products available, something I had great difficulty to do before. I received incredible support from Mrs. Perron, which I had never received before by any other community agency.

    I consider that the community kitchen workshops offered by The Salvation Army achieved their objective for the integration of people living in the same neighbourhood. Moreover, thanks to the workshops, we were able to serve our families varied and nourishing meals. It is possible to cook on a low budget with the products that we have on hand.

    My name is Alexandre Boucher. I am an unemployed single parent, with social limitations. I have custody of my three sons (one has a mental handicap). I have a lot of expenses and low income. In 2008, I attended community kitchen workshops. But the ones developed by Diane (cooking on a low budget) are much more useful to me. I am now able to prepare low cost meals with the products that I have on hand. On the social side, I meet people like me from different ethnic backgrounds. I find the community cooking workshop extremely profitable. I am happier knowing that I will be able to prepare at low cost, nourishing, healthy and delicious recipes that include fruit and vegetables. Participants share tips as well as tasks. We practice our French, a great way to break the isolation, and live new experiences.

    As a retiree, the community cooking workshops allow me to meet people and make new friends. I found out the real meaning of support and mutual aid. I have chronic pulmonary problems that often sap my physical strength. For that reason, on many occasions, I did not want to attend the workshop. Diane convinced me to come and do what I could, because I needed to eat nourishing meals, and the workshop does me good. The participants were helpful and understood my physical limitations. And I would leave the workshop with the same amount of food than the others.

    I also develop my self-confidence and acquired new cooking skills, taking into account my limited budget. The economic aspect is vital for a great number of participants.


    For more information, contact Diane Perron.

    Citadelle de Montréal, 6620, boulevard Monk

    A few steps away from Monk Station

    T : 514-766-2155 or 450-646-9321