NL Gazette

Chef Ric knows that learning to cook can change a person’s life as it saved his.

Chef Ric Watson recalls that when he was 10 years old, it was his responsibility to do all of the food shopping by himself.

“I couldn’t see over the cart moving down the aisle,” he said.

“I was given a set amount of money and was expected to make it work. At that age, I had to learn how to make a budget “He said. “I never got it right, and when I came to the money, they’d say, ‘here comes little Ricky Watson.'”

In his role as executive chef and head of food services at the Ottawa Mission, he paints a bleak image of his childhood in Kingston, Ontario., with a single mother who was profoundly mentally ill and unable to care for him.

Being self-sufficient was a difficult lesson to learn, but it was one that he carried with him throughout his life.

Chef Ric, 58, is working in one of the busiest kitchens in the country, dipping a plastic spoon in a giant vat of turkey soup and having it as part of his daily diet to feed hundreds of people.
He shuts his eyes and takes a sip of the soup.

“It’s delectable!” That’s great, thank you,” he replies to one of his sous-chefs, his voice as quick as his motions as he rushes off to do his next duty.

Chef Ric now spends the most of his time at the Ottawa Mission’s new business bearing his name.

Chef Ric’s — which is located on the site of the former Rideau Bakery for those who live in Ottawa — is many things. There is a shop that sells low-cost cooked meals. Profits from the catering company are reinvested in the institution’s philanthropic efforts. And the Mission’s Mobile food truck programme, which currently provides 2,600 meals every day to help feed the poor in and around Ottawa.

“If I could have anything, it would be that no one in this city or in this country went hungry.”

Read More: Chef Ric knows learning to cook can change a person’s life, because it saved his | CBC News

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