Thanks for wondering about caterToronto!
caterToronto is a network of creative and collaborative caterers, operating as “quiet operators,” “social enterprises,” and “micro-businesses” that are seeking better social and economic outcomes with dignified, diverse, and delicious food employment and entrepreneurship. We are unique and exceptional because of our integrative hands-on approaches to build and strengthen connections for healthier community food systems with our membership and all of YOU!
We started seeding an idea for caterToronto in 2013, with funding support from Metcalf Foundation for Vanessa Ling Yu (founder and director) to coordinate a network of community-based caterers for better socioeconomic opportunities. caterToronto hosted its first forum in 2014 attended by would-be food entrepreneurs, community agency representatives, and successful, local business owners. Forum themes focused on starting and sustaining a new food business. Discussions highlighted additional barriers faced by attendees, many of which were common challenges such as costs of entry into the food industry. Meanwhile, the forum also provided the first opportunity to work together to provide catering serve to a client - in this case, US! Incoming requests for catering provided the impetus to address ongoing challenges as a social enterprise. We are grateful for our ongoing supporters from across the Greater Toronto Area.
The three main services that caterToronto offers its membership: Training and access to commercial kitchen rentals; Business, administrative, and techical supports; as well as, Feasible and feast-able market opportunities. Our mixed-model composition has provided support to over 50 community-based caterers representing over 160 motivated individuals frequently living in low-income neighbourhoods. A few have progressed into their own commercial kitchens, some with retail storefronts; but the majoirty find the rental kitchens are a great option to produce food and beverages sold at farmers' and arts markets, and served at various celebrations, meetings, weddings, and conferences. Our current membership roster includes racialized women who are food entrepreneurs originally from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Mexico, South Korea, and Zimbabwe.
caterToronto is ramping up connections and channels by which its membership can cater your event and enable shared opportunities to promote better food for all!