Our Story

New Beginnings

It started in 2004.

Chef Ric Watson had seen and heard from so many people who came to The Ottawa Mission for a meal, but were hungry for so much more.

They wanted to change their lives.

So Chef Ric had an idea: what if we could help teach these men and women the skills they need to support themselves and find work?

That's how the Food Services Training Program was born, and 17 years and almost 200 graduates later, the time had come for it to grow.

A New Home

In 2020, the search began to find a new home for the program, where it could accommodate more students and provide a better learning environment.

During the search, the Aggarwal family generously offered the use of the space formerly occupied by the Rideau Bakery, the iconic business in downtown Ottawa started by the Kardish family, for the cost of $10 a year for 7 years.

Now, the new Chef Ric's is a social enterprise, providing healthy food, affordable catering, and most importantly, the same transformative job training program for men and women looking to change their lives.