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Why Your Restaurant Team Should Join the Culinary Federation

The Culinary Federation gives professional chefs and cooks from across Canada an opportunity to connect locally, nationally and internationally with culinary peers – to network and learn from each other, give back to the local community and mentor up-and-coming industry professionals.

Founded in 1963, the Culinary Federation is a Canadian association of professional chefs and cooks with active membership of 1,000+ and 21 local branches across Canada. Member chefs come from diverse industry verticals including multi-unit chains, independent operators, international hotel groups, institutional and educational facilities – professors and students – food manufacturers and food distributors.

We spoke to National Administrator Lisa Evangelos to learn more about this important Canadian foodservice organization. 

What were some of the original objectives of the Culinary Federation, and have any changed or been added in the past year with the recent massive shift in our country’s foodservice landscape?

Almost 60 years ago, The Culinary Federation’s founding members had the original intention of creating a professional association for certified chef de cuisines across Canada to provide a place for all chefs, cooks and culinary professionals to connect, gather, network and grow in their professions.

Over the past 18 months we have adapted to the times and needs of our membership by offering online networking and professional development opportunities, a six week Addictions Awareness and Mental Health Support course, increasing our social media content and engagement, and holding virtual awards celebrations to honour and acknowledge our members while we weather the COVID-19 storm together.

What kind of workers can get involved in the Culinary Federation?

Membership with the Culinary Federation is available to any and all persons who actively seek and involve their career paths as a Cook Apprentice, Journeyman Cook, Professional Chef/Cook, or Culinary Professional. We also offer a “FOODIE” version, specifically geared towards non-professionals with a passion for food and cooking. Our community is made up of culinary arts students, all professional levels of chefs and cooks (from new to the industry chefs and those more established), corporate chefs, pastry chefs, foodies, and culinary partners (such as suppliers, producers, farmers, restauranteurs, etc).

What are some of the benefits of membership, and how can members help their foodservice community through the Culinary Federation?

  • Local connections and networking through monthly/bi-monthly branch events (virtual and in-person)
  • Culinary competitions (local, national, international), community events, skills and product knowledge education
  • Chef Certification programs through World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) & The Canadian Culinary Institute (CCI)
  • Access to services and discounts specifically for Culinary Federation members:
    • Business & Personal Skills Development Education Modules with McKinley Solutions
    • Culinary Skills Training through www.rouxbe.com
  • Customized programs and offers from national partner community, including:
    • Dine Aware (Food Allergy Training)
    • FoodGrads (Employment Portal)
    • ChefWorks Apparel (10% Discount)
    • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Benefit – $4,000 per member
  • Mentorship, career development and opportunities for advancement
  • Involvement in Annual National Conference
  • Customized education, networking, local culinary community events

What are some events and initiatives currently in the works among the federation and its members?

After having to cancel our National Conference in 2020 and 2021, we are excited to be planning for our National Conference in Saskatoon for June 12 – 16, 2022. We believe that this conference will be all the more significant and sweet because we’ll finally get to gather with our fellow chefs and celebrate the resiliency and strength our members have shown over the last 2 years of the pandemic. This fall, our various branches will be able to meet again in person for their local monthly events and the camaraderie the federation has been dedicated to and built upon, will be our focus once again!

What are some other things the foodservice community should know before signing up?

Once you become a member, you will receive regular communications from a National Board, a Local Branch Board and you will have opportunities to connect locally and across the country. Our membership programming runs January – December. Members joining after July 1st are offered a 50% discount on their fees for the remainder of the year and those who join after November 1st will be counted towards the following calendar year. Categories are Young Chef, Member at Large, National Chef, Armed Forces Chef, Pastry Chef, Foodie and Culinary Partner. You can read the breakdown of eligibility, fees and benefits on our website

What advice would you give members and non-members alike as they navigate new establishments, re-opening old ones and helping their staff and communities bounce back?

We strongly encourage all fellow culinary industry workers to make their wellbeing a priority during this transitionary time. We all will be able to serve our clients and guests more effectively, efficiently, and thoroughly if we are in good physical and mental health. Be intentional in your self-care. Be patient with yourself and your staff as you get back into the swing of this demanding industry. We understand the desire to get back to “normal” but we believe it’s important to determine your “new normal” and what is a reasonable expectation of yourself and your staff. Take this opportunity to redefine the culture you want to create in your work environment to keep everyone happy and healthy.

Follow the Culinary Federation on Instagram or visit culinaryfederation.ca