Top Chef Canada’s Adrian Forte discusses his culinary passion and the importance of access to healthy and nutritious food.
How did you discover your passion for the culinary arts?
I got into the culinary arts because of my grandmother. Growing up in my native country of Jamaica, I was inspired to pursue this career path by watching her come up with amazing creations and feeding our big family. Everyone adored her and she has been my inspiration from the very beginning.
With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, what keeps you inspired to experiment and try new dishes?
I’m working on my first cookbook which will be published by Random House Canada in 2022, so I’ve been using the downtime from the pandemic as a source of inspiration. I’ve been in the kitchen creating and testing new dishes that I send to family and friends to try! Hosting virtual cook-alongs since we’re all at home has also been a part of this journey for me. It’s not only helped me, but has helped many others try new dishes and still feel connected from afar.
What are some of your favourite Afro-Caribbean dishes that help keep you warm during the winter season?
I love Jamaican chicken soup. It’s a warm and comforting dish with nutritional benefits that can help with your gut health and boost your immune system.
Why is it so important for youth experiencing homelessness to have access to healthy food?
It’s extremely important to ensure that everyone has access to healthy and nutritious food, especially during a global pandemic. I believe food scarcity or lack of food can lead to difficult situations and even mental health issues and depression, so as a preventative measure it’s best to ensure that healthy food is accessible to marginalized communities.
It’s also important for youth to have access to healthy food because this helps their immune systems function and can help create better futures. Gut health is important in order to heal and keep the brain healthy.
Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth
Food security is a key issue for youth and anyone experiencing homelessness. Young people are still growing — they’re at a crucial stage of development and not having access to regular nutritious meals can really have long term impacts on their health.
Eva Smith was a Jamaican immigrant and advocate within Toronto’s Black community. When she founded North York’s first shelter for youth, called Eva’s Place, access to healthy food was a central part of what she was trying to achieve. Eva’s was one of the first shelters that left food out for young people instead of locking it up during the day. Today, Eva’s Initiatives for Homeless Youth is an award-winning organization that provides emergency shelter, transitional housing, and programming for youth in need. To learn how you can help marginalized youth grow into tomorrow’s leaders, fill out the form below and a representative from Eva’s will get in touch.