Skills Nunavut helps soup kitchen feed the hungry
“The giving aspect of the idea is what makes it extra special”
This year, the Skills Nunavut Iqaluit Cooking Club youth group is starting a new tradition – donating food to the Iqaluit soup kitchen.
They’ve been meeting for a few years now, and this is something the group’s been wanting to organize, instructor Aaron Watson said.
“It’s always been an idea that we would donate food if there was a surplus,” Watson said.
“I think everybody in the group was definitely into it,” he added.
The group, which meets weekly at Inuksuk High School, is made up of five students, but usually there are as many as eight.
All between the ages of 14 and 18, the youth enjoy themselves and are learning new skills and techniques for preparing food.
This year, there are three returning members.
“I always build it up over the years from the basics towards the more advanced,” Watson said.
Watson, who worked in Ontario as a chef for many years, enjoys teaching this skill to the students at Inuksuk High.
“It is important to get youth interested in trades and skills. This program also keeps me in the know and forces me to research and stay current with modern cuisine and food trends,” he said.
So far, they’ve made Caesar salad with homemade dressing, soup, caramelized onion bisque, chili con carne and other dishes.
Now that the basics are covered, the group can do more advanced cooking “which hopefully means a future focus on wild meats while supporting local businesses.”
Eventually the kids in the skills group get to compete in Nunavut and sometimes at the national level.
“There’s always a Nunavut team at the nationals,” Watson said.
As for helping out another non-profit organization such as the Iqaluit soup kitchen, Watson says he’d like to that again in the future.
Other ideas to get involved in the community include going to the elder’s centre and inviting them to help the kids with local food projects.
The goal of the group is to make cooking fun each week.
A few of the youth also are active with the food bank.
“The giving aspect of the idea is what makes it extra special,” Watson said.
“I think we have a pretty generous group of young people,” he said.
After they finish cooking, the group sits down to enjoy their creations.
“That’s part of the experience,” Watson said.
Here is a Skills Nunavut Iqaluit Cooking Club holiday recipe:
Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Chipotle Lime Cranberry Sauce and Granny Smith Apple Sauce
A recipe to be served alongside a Turkey dinner or all on its own for those that may choose to opt for a different holiday meat.
Chipotle Lime Cranberry Sauce
4 cups cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 tbsp juice of fresh limes
1 large or 2 medium chipotle peppers from a can (available at many stores in Nunavut, ask your grocer)
1. Finely chop chipotle
2. Combine water, sugar and chipotle. Bring to boil and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
3. Add cranberries and lime juice. Bring back up to boil and reduce to simmer for 5-10 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop (break).
4. Cool to room temperature.
5. Puree in food processor or blender.
6. Refrigerate before serving, sauce will thicken while it cools.
Granny Smith Apple Sauce
4 Granny Smith Apples
10-12+ sprigs of fresh parsley (substitute dried parsley)
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1. Core and quarter apples.
2. Put apples in pot and fill with water until apples are covered with.
3. Boil until apples are fork tender.
4. Puree in blender or food processor with parsley adding water from pot gradually as to avoid too thin a sauce.
5. When serving whisk in butter (in 3 or 4 pieces) to finish sauce.
Maple Glazed Pork Tenderloin
3-4 Pork Tenderloin
4-8 tbsp Maple Syrup
1. Preheat oven to 350 • F
2. Trim excess fat off of pork tenderloin.
3. Season tenderloin on all sides with salt and pepper.
4. Heat a large oven safe frying pan (or small roasting pan) on burner with 1-2 tbsp of Canola oil.
5. When pan is hot sear tenderloins on one side. When nicely browned flip and immediately transfer to oven. If cooking 3 or more tenderloins use 2 pans or what is needed for amount of meat. Don’t crowd the pan.
6. When pork is just past rare temperature (about 5-7 minutes in) pull out of oven and glaze with maple syrup on all sides and put pork back in oven.
7. When pork is medium rare remove from oven and set on cutting board to rest for 3-5 minutes.
8. Slice on an angle and serve with two sauces.
9. Garnish with your favourite fruit, cheese, or what is to your liking. In this preparation we used soft gouda cheese and roasted grape tomatoes. If this is a meal on its own and not an accompaniment, serve with potatoes and vegetable or how you see fit.
Bon appetit and seasons greetings from Skills Nunavut Cooking Club!