March 24, 2022

Ottawa Mission graduates first class of Food Services students trained exclusively at “Chef Ric’s”

More than 90% of graduating students secure employment in the food services industry

Ottawa, ON – Today the first class of Food Services Training Program (FSPT) students trained within “Chef Ric’s”, The Ottawa Mission’s new social enterprise housed within the former Rideau Bakery, received their diplomas. Of the 13 graduates for this class, 11 have found employment in the sector. This graduation ceremony was dedicated to Rachel Hauraney, a student with this FSTP cohort who had secured a position in the industry, but sadly passed away unexpectedly earlier this month.

One of those graduates is Forough Alikarami. Originally from Iran, Forough arrived in Canada in July 2021 and began volunteering in The Mission’s kitchen shortly after that. “I wanted to make a career and do what I love. Working in the kitchen helped me prepare for the FSTP. I knew what I wanted and this program opened a new window for me.” Forough is working at a local restaurant and couldn’t be happier.

The FSTP is the creation of Chef Ric Allen-Watson, The Mission’s Director of Food Services. Finding himself alone and homeless at age 14, he knows the power of paying it forward. “Someone reached out to me and showed me that education could help. And that why I started this program: to give people the help they need to rebuild their lives.”

Since the inception of the FSTP in 2004, 226 people have graduated from the program, 90% of whom have gone on to positions in the food services industry. In September 2021, operations for the FSTP were moved from The Ottawa Mission’s kitchen to “Chef Ric’s”, The Mission’s new social enterprise to add more space and increase the capacity of the program. These new graduates are the first to be trained exclusively at the new location.

“As Ottawa emerges from the pandemic, we anticipate that The Ottawa Mission will remain the first place of refuge for increasing numbers of very vulnerable people going forward for the next several years. By expanding this incredibly successful program at Chef Ric’s, we’re doing our part to help even more people in need,” Ottawa Mission CEO Peter Tilley concluded.

About The Ottawa Mission
Since 1906, The Ottawa Mission has been serving those who are homeless, hungry and lost by providing food, clothing, shelter and skills. In 2020-2021, The Ottawa Mission provided emergency shelter to an average of 185 men every night and served an average of 1,994 meals every day.  The Ottawa Mission also provides to men and women health services, mental health and addiction treatment programs, hospice care, dental services, housing services, educational support, job training, spiritual care, and clothing to thousands in need in our community. In September 2020, The Ottawa Mission marked the one millionth hour that the shelter has been in existence since its founding in 1906. In 2019, the Mission became a housing-focused shelter reflective of its commitment to a home for everyone as a human right with the launch of its housing department. Visit to learn more.

Aileen Leo
Director of Communications
T. 613.234.1144 x 305
C. 613-712-3092