Compass One Healthcare and Indwell Announce Partnership in Gather Culinary Academy

Partnership will support culinary training for individuals receiving mental health care or living in poverty

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Canada –  February 19, 2020 – Compass One Healthcare, one of Canada’s leading service providers of food and hospitality services in healthcare, today announced their partnership with Indwell, a Canadian charity supporting individuals receiving mental health care with their transition back into the community. Through their partnership, Compass One Healthcare will support the Gather Culinary Program by providing culinary training, financial support, and assist graduates with professional development.

Indwell’s Gather Culinary Academy is a job skills program that’s offered free to individuals seeking health, wellness and belonging, to enter or re-enter the workforce in the culinary arts. The program is led by Indwell in partnership with the City of Hamilton, Hamilton Health Sciences, and Compass One Healthcare. In its first year, the program is already seeing great success including the recent graduation of all 12 inaugural students.

During an 11-week program, students receive in class hands on instruction and visit local food industry sites including restaurants and the Joseph Brant hospital in Burlington. These trips expose students to the real life situations they will experience when they re-enter the workforce.

For many of the students in the Gather Culinary program there is a significant gap in work experience which often results in a significant barrier to finding employment. The Culinary Academy helps students grow their skills in a field they are passionate about, and provides them with the proper tools needed for a successful return to work.

“I could not imagine doing anything else” said Hannah Puhuta, Gather Culinary Academy Program Coordinator. “I have seen the students’ levels of confidence grow exponentially since starting the program. Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn coupled with the support of the Academy is a recipe for success.”

Dahlia Abou El Hassan, Senior Director of Business Excellence at Compass One Healthcare shares her elation regarding the partnership. “As a food service provider in healthcare settings across the country, Compass One has the unique ability to offer culinary training and professional development to outstanding graduates of the Indwell Culinary Academy. We are thrilled to support learning and hands-on skills development with our team of experts while helping to support graduates with their self-confidence and sense of belonging.”

The Compass One team have hired two graduates of the Indwell Culinary Academy at the St. Joseph Hamilton site, where the company provides food services, and will continue to do so annually.

About Indwell

Started in 1970 in Hamilton, Ontario, Indwell is a charity that creates affordable housing communities that support people seeking health, wellness and belonging. Their programs support more than 550 households in Hamilton, Woodstock, Simcoe, and London.

Compass One’s Teaching Kitchen Wins the DUX Eat Better, Live Better Award!

Grand Prix Award DUX 2019 Winner


Teaching Kitchen: The ultimate cooking experience

Compass One’s Teaching Kitchen has won the DUX Eat Better, Live Better project category award at the gala in Montreal on January 30th, 2019.  The winning company is recognized for their leadership and innovation in projects that improve the dietary choices, health and wellness of Canadian

So what exactly is the Teaching Kitchen? The Teaching Kitchen is a fun and interactive platform to explore food, learn about nutrition and enhance participants’ cooking skills. Each session is led by a Dietitian and Chef who provide participants with healthy cooking tips so they can learn how to prepare easy, delicious meals made from wholesome ingredients at home.

The Teaching Kitchen had been implemented at North York General Hospital and classes are available for hospital staff including nurses, physicians as well as the community such as previously discharged patients, outpatients, their caregivers and family members.

Participants learn nutrition knowledge and food skills with the intention of improving cooking behaviours, quality of meals and the frequency of meals cooked and eaten at home.  Interactive cooking classes feature fresh seasonal foods, prepared in a manner that excites the senses, builds relationships and enhances the community’s well-being.

Teaching Kitchen Chef North York General HospitalLiterature and research has shown that more Canadians are turning to fast food, delivery and eating out instead of grocery shopping and cooking at home. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, up to 80% of premature deaths related to heart disease and stroke can be prevented through a healthy diet and exercise. Not knowing how to cook stands as a barrier to eating healthy and preparing nutritious meals. Research shows that hands-on cooking classes are effective in increasing confidence with cooking (improved knife skills) and food skills at all ages and that better health and higher fruit and vegetable consumption is related to an increased frequency of meals cooked and eaten within the home. For example, for those with diabetes, cooking programs have resulted in a reduction in A1C (average blood sugar), other studies showed a reduction in blood pressure or improved cholesterol.

The Teaching Kitchen’s goal is to empower and teach participants basic nutrition education and culinary skills through hands on cooking classes so that they have the ability to improve their food skills, cook at home more often and make healthy food choices.

There are many benefits to the teaching kitchen:

  • Increased frequency of cooking at home
  • Decrease home meal time stress
  • Increase frequency of family time at home
  • Increased nutrition knowledge and skills to manage diet and health conditions at home
  • Helps prevent hospital readmissions and address malnutrition in the community
  • Increased appreciation of cultural diversity and world cuisines
  • Improved employee productivity/morale (team building events within the organization)
  • Engagement with existing healthcare organization wellness initiatives (mom baby class, baby food), cardiac, outpatient diabetes, children in kitchen