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Donor Profile – Introducing Les Dames d’Escoffier

January 7, 2016

les dames

Les Dames d’Escoffier, British Columbia Chapter, is a society of professional women who promote the understanding, appreciation, and knowledge of food, wine, hospitality, nutrition, food technology, the arts of the table and other fields as they relate to these disciplines. Growing Chefs! is proud to have Les Dames as both a strong Adopt-A-Classroom supporter and by way of helping us put chef and community volunteers in our classroom programs.

Bonita Magee is Les Dames’ newest Board President, their 2014 Above & Beyond Award recipient, and a long-time volunteer with Growing Chefs! She is a wealth of knowledge and is skilled in planning and relationship building and is the proprietor of the social enterprise Grounded in Vancouver where she works with nonprofits and businesses alike. Bonita has a background in wilderness and wildlife preservation, environmental studies, food security, and gardening. Her knowledge and expertise has always been of great value to our society and classroom program. We are grateful for her continued commitment to Growing Chefs! and are so pleased Bonita took the time to let us introduce her to our followers.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and Les Dames and why you wanted to get involved with Growing Chefs?

My name is Bonita Magee and I’ve been a member of Les Dames for four years. Ten years ago when Merri Schwartz created Growing Chefs!, she contacted me for advice on writing grants and obtaining donated seeds and garden tools. I was happy to help her and now as a Dame, Growing Chefs! is one of the two Green Tables Initiatives we support. I am happy to be able to support them via annual donations and by volunteering in the classroom.

Why do you think a program like Growing Chefs! is important in a community like Vancouver?

Vancouver is a growing city and it’s important for children to be empowered about food, knowing where it comes from, being confident they can grow it themselves, exploring new foods and learning to prepare meals, too. So much of our city is covered in concrete and an opportunity for children to get their hands dirty and have that hand-on experience is essential to growing up with a healthy food knowledge.

Why do you choose to support Growing Chefs?

Growing Chefs! provides children with a good overview of food from seed to table and encompasses important aspects of food such as culturally appropriate foods, nutrition and food safety, too. These are all important aspects and children are never too young to begin this learning process. It’s exciting to be part of a team of other educators in a classroom and experiencing, first hand, the joy the children receive throughout the program.

As someone who has volunteered in the classroom, what stands out to you the most in the program?

As a Growing Chefs! volunteer educator, what amazes me the most is how the children absorb the education and the information they receive and how they retain it. They have fantastic critical thinking skills even in Grade One! Growing Chefs! provides a wonderful opportunity for young children to explore the world of food with sustainability in mind.

What’s your favourite vegetable to grow?

Kale. I love being able to pick fresh kale and use it in salads, sauté it as a side dish, or make different flavoured kale chips.

What’s your favourite vegetable to eat?

Brussels Sprouts. Because they are so delicious.

What’s your favourite dish to cook?

Stir-fry. I love Chinese cooking and I love making stir-fry.

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Thank you to Les Dames d’Escoffier and Bonita for all that you do for us and your community! To find out how you can support Growing Chefs! by donating, volunteering, or helping to fundraise, just visit our website! To learn more about how your company or organization can Adopt-A-Classroom, please contact us directly at admin@growingchefs.ca or call 778-885-1308.

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