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Barilla Canada and Covenant House extend 10-year partnership

The family-owned Italian food company continues its support of the agency’s Cooking for Life program
Chef Tim Minefee led the first Cooking for Life class this year

Who: Barilla Canada

What: Living up to its motto Good for You, Good for the Planet, Barilla Canada is extending its 10-year partnership with Covenant House supporting its Cooking for Life program, which provides interactive hands-on training that teaches the cooking skills needed to work in hospitality and the principles of a healthy diet.

Cooking for Life provides Canadian youth who are homeless, trafficked or at-risk with skills that help them secure employment and combat an inflation rate that is at a 31-year high, greatly impacting food costs.

Barilla is donating 1,070 servings of pasta, $1,500 worth of essential living items, supplying graduates with chef coats and knife sets, and making its in-house professionals available to lead classes. Barilla executive chef Tim Minefee led the first class, teaching essential cooking techniques and means to reduce food waste. His message: Pasta is a blank canvas, allow it to inspire you.

Gino Rulli, vice-president and general manager of Barilla Canada, understands how learning to cook can translate into employment opportunities, but believes the program goes much further. “Give them a meal and they eat for a day, but teach them how to cook following the Mediterranean diet, and they can eat healthy their whole life,” he said. “There has never been a better time to educate students on the importance of creating healthy dishes with simple and affordable ingredients.”

Since its inception, Cooking for Life has proven to be a huge success.

  • 402 graduates
  • 92% earned their food handler’s certificate
  • 40% were hired by their placement employer
  • 45% secured a position elsewhere

“We are so grateful to be extending our partnership with Barilla,” said Mark Aston, executive director at Covenant House. “It’s been a difficult few years for everyone and with inflation, it’s made access to basic rights like affordable food and housing even harder. Giving our students the means to seek a career in hospitality and the knowledge to create wholesome meals using simple affordable ingredients goes a long way.”   

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