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A Cook with a Mission! 

By day, you will find Candice Ekonomakos doing what she loves, working full time as a cook at Toca Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton in Toronto. By night, you’ll often see Candice pursuing her other passion, helping others, by volunteering as a cook at homeless shelters in Toronto and Brampton.

In addition to winning a Premier’s Award in 2014, this extraordinary graduate of the Culinary Management Program at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, has become the advocate of “Cooks on a Mission” a junior chef’s initiative to help those in the industry feed the homeless.

“While I was taking the bus from Brampton to my job at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Toronto, I started to notice an increase in homeless people and people asking for money. I didn’t have the extra money to help, but I knew I could help by volunteering my time by cooking at homeless shelters.”

Candice graduated in 2012 from the Culinary Management Program at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. She immersed herself in school activities, including serving two years as President of the Humber Culinary Arts Club (from 2010-12) and the Honourary Co-chair for the Club from 2012 to 2013. Candice served as National Junior Representative for the Central Region of the Canadian Culinary Federation (CCF) in 2011, Junior Delegate for the Toronto Escoffier Society from 2011 to 2014; two of those years serving as Junior Chair, a Junior Delegate of the Oakville Branch of CCFCC as well as Junior Delegate of the World Chef’s Societies (WACS) from 2011 onward.

Candice leads an initiative called “Cooks with a Mission” which aims to help alleviate hunger and poverty in low-income communities in the GTA. The goal is to encourage junior cooks and chefs to volunteer funds or their time at area shelters, while encouraging restaurants to donate equipment or funds to the cause.

“We are blessed with a passion for food and we can share our gift to help those in need.”

ingredients and notebook

Candice volunteers her time at the Brampton Knights Table and the Young Street Mission and recently initiated and organized a sold out, 5-course fundraising dinner at the Brampton Knights Table.

“My goal is to be a humanitarian chef and that is what I am.”