Better Businesses for Better Lives

The Regent Park Catering Collective is cooking up three things: a sense of community, belonging and diversity

Nestled in the heart of Regent Park, the Catering Collective is a group of men and women engaged in their community bringing passions for cooking, creativity, and learning together to foster personal and social development.

It all started in 2013 when a Regent Park community member wanted to learn how to sell homemade food at a farmer’s market. In response, the Centre of Learning & Development (CL&D) created the Regent Park Food Incubator Program, and the Regent Park Catering Collective is an extension of this. Since then, the group has grown into a virtual family that is harnessing its cooking talents while learning new skills and techniques. Collective members went on to receive food handling certificates from Toronto Public Health and soon became local entrepreneurs, catering for a growing list of clients including the Toronto District School Board and the Liberal Party of Canada.

Most essentially, the Catering Collective fosters a sense of community, belonging and diversity. The Catering Collective is made up of a mosaic of people who reflect their diversity in the food they make. Everything from samosas to dumplings, pilafs to lasagna is on the group’s menu. Collective members pride themselves on being able to offer a world of variety within their own local community. By cooking together, they have been able to break down language and cultural barriers, engage with, and learn from community members they might not have otherwise met.

One woman says, “This community is my therapy, emotionally and physically. It has given me unconditional love so I have to give it back here.” The Catering Collective has given these full-time mothers, community members and long-time residents a platform to become community leaders and innovators.

Mission

Provide food entrepreneurs the opportunity to formalize and grow their businesses by providing Food Handling Certification Training, affordable commercial kitchen space, access to market opportunities, while providing premium business support and advice throughout their journey.

Vision

Our vision is that entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love to do, creating an innovative, vibrant, evolutionary and prosperous economic landscape.

CENTRE OF LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT

We build community, one person at a time

Centre of Learning & Development (CL&D), formerly known as East End Literacy, has been an active member of Regent Park since 1979, and in 2010, cemented our commitment to the community with the opening of the TD Centre of Learning – a 2,200 square foot storefront hub – on Dundas Street East.

Since the doors opened in 2010, the TD Centre of Learning has seen approximately 20,000 residents come through the doors each year to meet, learn and connect with neighbours. Program participants, from Regent Park, Moss Park, and St. James Town, face different challenges, but all come with a desire to feel a greater sense of belonging. The TD Centre of Learning helps them grow, and gain the tools they need to fulfill their potential.

The Regent Park Catering Collective is one of our social enterprise incubators. We facilitate growth through help with training, organization and resources. In support, we focus on:

  • Ensuring proper accreditation for all members
  • Development of skills and best practices surrounding business strategy and customer service
  • Pairing catering collective members with mentors in the food industry
  • Develop toolkit and resources to allow for long-term growth