LOFT Kitchen

Café & Catering from CONC’s Social Enterprise

515
youth participants last year

90,045
number of meals served

30,495
number of snacks served

LOFT Kitchen

LOFT Kitchen is a youth-centered social enterprise providing café and catering services to local clientele while developing the employability of local youth facing barriers. LOFT Kitchen provides hands-on training in the food and hospitality industries, coupled with leadership, mentorship and networking opportunities, social supports, and work-readiness programming. Youth learn from professional chefs and experienced restaurant managers as well as from their peers in the creative and fast-paced environment of LOFT Kitchen. LOFT Kitchen is the exclusive catering partner for all CONC Programs, and a vital element of the Breaking Barriers program.

Here you can come in and get healthy salads, hearty sandwiches and great coffee. But to review it on those merits alone would be an injustice to what it’s actually doing for the neighborhood. What is unique about LOFT Kitchen is that it operates as a non-profit cafe with a special mission. All proceeds earned here go to help sustain and support social programing

Customer
LOFT Kitchen

Must have walked past this place a dozen times before. It’s a great initiative, the staff and trainees are knowledgeable, polite, courteous, and friendly.

Customer
LOFT Kitchen

A great place to buy local fresh products made by our youths! Affordable and Delicious!

Customer
LOFT Kitchen

LOFT Catering

We invite you to experience the delicious offerings of LOFT Kitchen’s catering business. Whether you are planning a 10-person office gathering or a 200 guest wedding, LOFT Kitchen caterers will work with you to deliver the perfect dishes in perfect style.

LOFT Kitchen caterings have included vegan meals for OCAD, and office luncheons at the University of Toronto and events at City Hall. When you book a catering with us, you are signing up for great food and personal service while also supporting youth in your community to gain employable skills and valuable hands-on experience. It’s a win-win-win!

LOFT Catering relies on local ingredients wherever possible, with a special focus on providing a multi-cultural menu to keep you excited about what’s on your plate. To book LOFT catering for your next event, Contact Us.

LOFT Kitchen menu

Working with LOFT

We offer positions to youth, aged 16-29, who want to work in the food & hospitality industry!  We train youth in large scale catering, back of house and line cook prep, working with volunteers, serving meals to community members and working in our youth-led café, learning front of house customer service and barista skills.

One of our most valuable partnerships in progressing our youth employment initiatives has been with St. Stephen’s Community House.
Since 1990, St. Stephen’s has served the community with dynamic programs and services for youth, helping them make a healthy transition from teenagers to young adults. Those interested in learning more about our youth employment program can contact us for more information.

St. Stephen Community House

LOFT in the Community

LOFT Kitchen is a voice of advocacy for youth employment training and social enterprise in our city. The LOFT Kitchen team has been invited to city events including OCAD’s “This Job Could Be Your Life: Creativity, Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship”. We’ve also spoken at Reconstructing Resilience in Toronto, Social Enterprise Toronto Conference 2012-2016: the World Café. LOFT Kitchen took part in Figment Art’s Festival Toronto (featured picture) and our youth graduates guest lectured at OCAD’s Strategic Foresight & Innovation Master’s Program.

OCAD University

International Connections

We are interested in the many forms social enterprise takes world-wide, and the capacity for social enterprise to change the way we do business in every sector for the better.

Communications Officer Tariq Ali from Senscot, Scotland’s Social Entrepreneur Network, visited CONC’s LOFT Kitchen youth in the summer of 2016 to talk about Scotland’s social enterprise journey. Ali is one of the many connections we’ve made at The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), an annual international event for social enterprises all over the world to come together and discuss policy and practice.

Buy Social

Where do you buy your groceries, clothes and gifts? Do you know what it means to buy social?

Buy Social is a flagship campaign by Social Enterprise UK, that aims to build markets for social enterprises among the general public as well as the private and public sectors. It challenges all of us to think about where we buy our goods and services from, and the social impact of our purchasing decisions. LOFT Kitchen has been a proud participant of this campaign and wants to encourage our greater community to join the conversation.

Read more

Our Graduates

After completing the LOFT Kitchen training and employment program, our graduates have gone on to do amazing things, for themselves and for the community!

Our graduates have gone on to George Brown College – such as recent graduate Jahnaya Reid, who became the 2016 recipient of the Investing in Our Diversity full Scholarship to George Brown ECE – Ryerson University, The Institute of Holistic Nutrition, and OCAD University.  Our talented youth chefs have also found employment with The McEwan Group, the Fairmont Hotel, Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants, and numerous cafes and coffee shops in the GTA.

Summer Camps &
Volunteer Groups

We love working with young go-getters looking to be a leader in their own lives and community! Every summer we welcome Me To We Take Action Camp, a youth camp, that’s all about discovering your passion, building your confidence and developing your leadership skills — all while forming a network of true and loyal friends. Every Wednesday during the summer months, 22 youth come to LOFT Kitchen to learn about social enterprise, tour our shelters, volunteer in our Drop-In, and of course make some scrumptious food! LOFT Kitchen was selected as Best Summer Camp 2014 & 2015 by Me to We!

We also offer hands on kitchen training with youth groups around the city. Groups include Toronto BJJ, Sketch, Toronto Remix come into LOFT Kitchen to learn from our youth led team. This includes: pizza making classes, make your own pasta, and we always welcome family members to join!

ME to WE

LOFT Gallery

The LOFT Gallery at 850 Bloor Street West features the creative works of local youth artists working in a range of media. There is no cost to artists to mount their show at the gallery. Opening events for exhibits are a possibility. The profits of all sales are split between the artist and the LOFT Program. Please contact us for more information.

© Christie Ossington Neighbourhood Centre. Charity Registration Number: 898720651RR0001

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