Todd Lamswood always wanted to be a chef. As the Food Services Manager in Daily Bread’s kitchen, he gets to do that plus so much more.
Born and raised in Newfoundland, he studied at the Culinary Institute of Canada before moving across the country to study at Vancouver Community College, specializing in baking. When he returned to Newfoundland, he opened a bakery and café.
But how does a guy running a bakery in Newfoundland find himself in Toronto running an employment training program at one of Toronto’s largest charities?
“My brother-in-law told me about a café that helped women coming out of correctional institutes gain job skills to help turn their lives around. At the time, I thought it was a great idea, and only wished I could be involved in a program like that.” However, a life change had Todd closing up his bakery in Newfoundland and then moving to Toronto.
Upon his move to Toronto, Todd went to an employment workshop to try and figure out if cooking was still where he should be. Or was there something else? Todd remembered the café. He loved cooking and wanted to share his knowledge and help people learn – to do something that would give someone a second chance. Todd called Daily Bread Food Bank at exactly the right time and landed an interview, and then later a job, as an instructor in charge of growing Daily Bread’s Food Services Training Program.
The Food Services Training Program teaches people experiencing barriers to employment skills that help them get a job in the food industry. The kitchen prepares nutritious meals that are sent out to meal programs and provides food for the volunteers onsite at Daily Bread. Having a kitchen onsite also reduces the amount of food waste – fresh fruits and vegetables that can’t be shipped in time are turned in to soups and stews that can be frozen. During the eight years Todd has worked at Daily Bread, he has seen many people who have graduated from the 16-week program with employable skills, a sense of self-worth and new-found confidence. Past graduates have gone on to many different areas of food service; from high-end catering to restaurants and supervising a kitchen at a Daily Bread member agency. One graduate even became a health inspector for the government of Canada.
“Seeing the pride in people who complete the program makes this job worth it,” says Todd.