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TESTIMONIAL: Meagan Alexcee

Friday, November 10, 2017

Age: 27

Employed: Malone's Bar and Grill

Before H.A.V.E I knew nothing about working in the kitchen. I was 27 years old working a seasonal job in the summer as a longshore worker and that was it.


I started my 8 week course at H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society in the summer and enjoyed every day of it.  Chef Amber, Chef Glenda, Chef Richard and the rest of the staff all made my 8 week experience unforgettable. Since day one H.A.V.E. Chefs and staff made me feel like I was family.


Prep, cold kitchen and hot kitchen are the three areas that I worked and learned new stuff daily.  My strongest area was the cold kitchen. H.A.V.E. helped me start my first actual real full-time job at Malone’s Bar and Grill.


I still pop into the cafe from time to time to say a quick hello, and as soon as you walk in that door, hugs galore and smiles are everywhere. I want to thank H.A.V.E., the Chefs and staff because if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be where I am today.  This program helped me start my new career in the culinary field and I am excited about my future.


Friday, November 03, 2017

Age: 61

Employed: H.A.V.E. Catering Staff

At age 60 I suffered sudden and severe hearing loss to the point I could no longer continue working in my chosen profession.

Unemployed and facing homelessness it became my good fortune to happen across a flyer on a downtown bulletin board for the H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society. Although I had little to no experience in the food preparation field I contacted the intake counselor and was given an appointment that very day.

I found the counselor to be extremely warm and friendly. The concerns I had regarding no practical kitchen experience were quickly put to rest as this was the case of many of the students who had gone through the program. Intake happened amazingly quick, just a few days after my initial interview.

From day one I started to learn real industry skills from both knowledgeable and very talented instructors and even though I had a severe hearing concern the time was taken by each instructor to make sure I understood the kitchen instruction of the day.

The kitchens themselves, there are three, each allowing for specific function instruction are quite well appointed and are very practical for culinary instruction. Each day we were taught a new skill with instructors providing as much one on one instruction as was necessary to fully understand the lesson of the day. In what seemed like a very short time I was working on my own creating soups, baking and  preparing full meals that just weeks earlier I had no idea how to create. The training, eight weeks in total, seemed to zoom bye and before I knew it I was graduating.

Although I would have never suspected it when I started, the H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Program has turned out to be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my 45 year career.  I can’t thank Chef Amber Anderson and her professional staff enough for helping me regain my confidence and help restore my dignity. I’m really not sure where I would be today without their help and I strongly encourage anyone who is experiencing personal barriers to employment to contact H.A.V.E. I’m sure, like myself, you’ll be glad you have

Help Wanted: Employers struggle to fill food service, entry level jobs

Monday, October 09, 2017

Randy Shore: The Vancouver Sun

North Vancouver’s iconic Tomahawk Barbecue has closed for dinner four nights a week while owner Chuck Chamberlain tries to find kitchen help.

In three months since losing several longtime cooks, his ads have drawn just 12 applicants and plenty of no-shows. The two that showed up for their scheduled interview were hired on the spot.

One new hire was scheduled to start a week ago on Saturday morning, but hasn’t shown up yet.

“Most of my chefs had been here more than 30 years, so I didn’t know hiring would be such a problem,” said Chamberlain, who has employees commuting from as far way as Port Moody. “Well it’s become such a problem that we have to close at four o’clock Monday through Thursday.”

Chamberlain is hardly alone.  

Minister Don McRae, BC's Minsiter of Social Development, pays a visit to H.A.V.E. to see how we train our students.

Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation:

"Whether you're someone living with a disability, or a friend, family member, neighbour, employer or co-worker, we all have a role to play in supporting people with disabilities to fully participate in our communities. The Vancouver Adapted Music Society and the H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society are not only community champions, they are doing really cool things to support inclusion and create opportunity for people with disabilities!"

H.A.V.E. Cafe: recipes for social success

Monday, October 21, 2013

Danielle MacCarthy: The Source/La Source Newspaper 10/21/2013

In all cities, there are the must-see sights – flashy, trendy, polished, upscale venues – and then there are those unlikely to be featured on any tourist board’s hit list, but which should be.

Tucked away on Powell St., in a part of the city that was long ignored but now experiencing rapid gentrification, is H.A.V.E. Cafe. H.A.V.E. (Hope, Action, Values & Ethics) is a social enterprise and a not-for-profit registered charity which doubles as both a cafe – serving on average around 50 customers per day – and a culinary training centre dedicated to empowering lives with a hand up rather than a hand out policy.

Off the streets and into the kitchen - HAVE program expands to the North Shore

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brent Ritcher: North Shore News 10/18/2013

Finding a job and making ends meet is hard enough, even when you don't have to struggle with mental or physical disability, poverty, addiction or homelessness.

That's where HAVE Culinary Training Society comes in. After eight weeks of customized kitchen training, students emerge with some serious help to get over those barriers and a foot in the door to a career in the hospitality industry.

The non-profit program recently expanded from the Downtown Eastside to the Lookout Emergency Aid Society's North Shore shelter and graduated its first four students, all of whom are now working in North Shore restaurants.

Things that work: Serving up self-esteem

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Andrea Woo: The Globe and Mail

The HAVE Café welcomes patrons with the warmth of a family kitchen: Smiling, white-clad employees bustle about, gliding over the black-and-white checkered tile floor to serve customers home-style offerings – omelettes, sandwiches and pastas – ordered from a menu drawn in chalk.

It's a quainter environment than many expect, given its Downtown Eastside address and the fact that most employees have struggled with multiple barriers to employment. It was for these reasons that Glenda Phillips initially dismissed a flyer for the café's culinary program she saw posted at the Salvation Army's Belkin House, a downtown Vancouver transitional residence in which she was staying, despite being on the lookout for a job.

YELP Review

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I had lunch here today with about 30 business people. It was a set lunch, with a salad, soup, entree, dessert and coffee. Decor was very clean and fairly neutral.

The salad was mixed greens, with candied walnuts. some canned mandarin segments and a neutral dressing. Better than many I've had downtown.

Soup was homemade tomato. Not too pureed and had the right amount of "bits" in it. I'm a fan.

Pork tenderloin with a mushroom sauce, roasted fingerling potatoes, sliced carrots and pickled red cabbage. Good sized portions, good flavours, fairly well presented.

Creme Brulee. What can I say? Perfectly caramelized topping and very cool inside. A little sweet for my taste, but I am a CB snob.

Their regular lunch menu has all-day breakfasts, salads, sandwiches, burgers,  pasta, rice and noodle dishes; priced from $6 to $11. Looks well worth the money and you are helping an amazingly good cause. Even the parking is cheap in the area. Do yourself and society a favour....try the HAVE cafe for lunch.

​​Angels in suits H.A.V.E success with cafe training program for at-risk youth and adults​

Friday, November 09, 2012

Mia Stainsby: Vancouver Sun 

Mark Brand of Save on Meats might be the poster-boy employer for Vancouver’s poor in Gastown and the Downtown Eastside but there are other unsung angels in suits in the city.

The food business lends itself to a generous mindset and chefs and restaurateurs are constantly donating time and goods to causes, big and small.

Ian Tostenson, president of the B.C. Restaurant and Food Services Association, is one of them. He teamed up with his buddy Brad Mills, CEO of office supply company Mills Basics, to make a difference to Vancouver’s most disadvantaged.

Vancouver culinary training program attracting 50+ crowd

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Micki Cowan: Vancouver Courier

The H.A.V.E. culinary training society originally formed to help people who were homeless or disadvantaged in the Downtown Eastside find employment. But now theyve found an additional struggle that many applicants have listed as a problem in finding jobs age.

The program works with its students to ensure they can achieve self-sufficiency. Their success rate is high 80 per cent of graduates find employment

TESTIMONIAL: Fadei Erastove

Age: 61

Graduated: November 2011

Employed: Camp Cook for Aramark, 3 hrs north of Fort Nelson, B.C.

"My training at H.A.V.E. gave me the confidence I needed to get back to work....they had the patience and kindness to deal with all my issues. My barriers were my lack of social skills and communication skills and I was very shy. Before I came to H.A.V.E I was doing an on-call maintenance job and I was battling depression. What I learned here was how to deal with people and be part of a team. When I made mistakes I would feel bad but Amber and Raj always told me that it was okay and that I was doing good. I graduated and now I work as a camp cook in Northern B.C. The people at H.A.V.E. taught me to believe in myself and for that I am grateful."

TESTIMONIAL: Alex Sabovich

Age: 51

Graduated: May 12, 2012

Employed: The C Restaurant in False Creek

“My barriers included; recovering drug addict, being on Methadone, living in the DTES, out of work for a long time and little or no support. What I did have going for me was my previous experience in kitchens, being a hard worker and my willingness to make a complete lifestyle change.​It was difficult but, at 51 years of age I needed to be successful at any endeavor I took on. For 17 years I was a driller/blaster and when I was 34 I had a traumatic experience; I was in a car accident and I lost my wife. I became addicted to drugs and hit bottom. 3 years ago I began to make changes and began taking other programs because I wanted to be serious when I took this course and I didn’t want to waste mine or anyone else’s time. I completed the H.A.V.E. program and graduated on May, 12th, 2012. They got me a job at The C Restaurant on False Creek. I started as a dishwasher and then worked my way up to prep.​Without this program I would never have been able to come this far. I attribute my success to Amber, Raj, Glen and my fellow classmates at H.A.V.E.”​

Hope Action Values Ethics

Glen Lamont, H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society, Former Student Counsellor

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.” –Albert Einstein

I’m often asked by friends and colleagues; “You guys have such a successful program, why doesn’t
everyone in the Downtown East side enroll in the course and then they could clean up that whole area of the city?” If only it were that simple. But when I start to think about how to answer that particular question, I always end up being reminded of what the acronym H.A.V.E., actually stands for; Hope, Action, Values and Ethics. It really does sum up what this school teaches.


Graduated: May 31, 2012

Employed: Poultry in Motion, White Rock, BC 


"I had a job for ten years and then because of downsizing I got laid off. I knew nothing about kitchen work. I learned so much in such a short time at H.A.V.E. I liked the atmosphere and most importantly, how they made learning fun. My barrier to employment was my age. It is very difficult to start over when you are older. After I graduated they found me a good job. I like my job but I still go back to H.A.V.E. to visit and donate my time. It is like a family there.​Thanks to everyone at HAVE Culinary Training Society! I have a new career and a new start in life.”


Glen Lamont, H.A.V.E. Culinary Training Society, Former Student Counsellor

One of the greatest challenges we face as human beings is our inability to overcome fear and self doubt. We live in a world that demands we keep up with ever changing technology and consequently an ever changing job market. Everyone has an i-phone or android and we can share information on the go with Google doc. and countless other apps that supposedly make our lives easier and therefore give us more time to devote to work and making money.

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