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Volunteer Profile: The Earls Team

July 3, 2015

We’re so thankful to have some of British Columbia’s top restaurants, such as Earls, participate in our Growing Chefs! Classroom Gardening and Cooking Program. In fact, thanks to Earls and their awesome chef team, we were able to bring the program to Surrey. For years, we had a waiting list of schools in Surrey wanting to participate, but didn’t have the reach or resources to put together a team. Thanks to Earls, we’ve now run the program at Hjorth Elementary School for the last three years. This growth wouldn’t have been possible without the support and commitment of our three amazing Earls chefs: Chef Jason Edge–Head Chef at Earls Guildford, Chef Simon Zanotto–Head Chef at Earls Port Coquitlam, and Chef Cam Armstrong–Regional Chef for Earls.

These incredible chefs took time from their busy schedule to teach children about the importance of growing and cooking their own food over the last three months. Read on to find out why Chef Jason decided to get involved and why he keeps coming back to volunteer!

Chef Simon Zanotto, chef Jason Edge & chef Cam Armstrong in the classroom

Chef Simon Zanotto, Chef Jason Edge & Chef Cam Armstrong in the classroom

Why did you decide to volunteer with Growing Chefs? Tell us about how you first got involved with Growing Chefs.

I’ve always been looking for another chance to volunteer since my first stint coaching high school football.  Love to be able to mentor and teach kids in a variety of manners and Growing Chefs! worked perfectly with my schedule.  As for getting involved I actually just saw a post on twitter, looked it up, researched what it was about, and thought it’s right in line with what I currently do and love to do so applied.

What’s it like to be a volunteer with Growing Chefs?

It’s awesome.  The kids are super stoked to have us in the class.  Always ask for us to stay longer or come back more times.  And they’re sponges that just want to learn and grow along with us!

Why is food sustainability and local and urban agriculture important to you?

We are losing more and more farmland to urban sprawl and other uses we need to find ways to maximize our farming practices without harming the environment.  Also supporting local producers is huge and a lot of local businesses support Growing Chefs! and that’s a good feeling also.

Why did you decide to continue volunteering with Growing Chefs!?

It’s a great program and I feel that the kids get a lot out of it that hopefully they can use to better their future.  They also teach me a lot about myself and allow me to grow along with them!

What is your favourite dish to cook for yourself?

Definitely homemade mac and cheese with lobster!

Chef Jason introduces some students to fennel

Chef Jason introduces some students to fennel

Chef Simon preparing vegetables for the students to taste

Chef Simon preparing vegetables for the students to taste

Earls Guildford and Earls in Port Coquitlam also participated in our 2014 Eat. Give. Grow. campaign, where restaurants add a $1 to a menu item to help raise money for Growing Chefs! Last year’s  campaign was a huge success with more than 30 participating restaurants and raised more than $8,000 for the classroom program! Big thanks to Earls again for all their support.

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