Behind the scenes at Northlands Expo Centre is one of the biggest kitchens in western Canada. In that kitchen Executive Chef Jaimeet Kathuria and his team are working to cook meals for the thousands of evacuees from Fort McMurray.
“We are running 12 hour shifts at this point,” he said. “A lot of guys are working six days a week, seven days a week, but we’ll pull it [off].”
Kathuria and his team provide three meals a day for the evacuees. Each meal is focused on the basic nutritional needs of each person. Separate plates are made for people who have allergies, who don’t eat pork, or who eat Halal.
So far Kathuria estimates they’ve made about 45,000 meals, averaging 6,000 to 7,000 a day. They’ve pulled staff from Northlands other properties, Rexall Place and Northlands Park, to form a team of 182 people.
“A lot of cooks have been asking me ‘don’t even pay us for two or three days, we are ready to volunteer for this.’ They all are supporting me, without them it’s not possible. I would never be able to pull it if I didn’t have this team.”
Kathuria himself has ties to Fort McMurray. He spent five years in the city working as an Executive Chef at MacDonald Island Park, and working with the PTI camps as well.
“I met a lot of good people over there, made some great friends over there,” he said. “My kitchen is open to serve them all, for the time we need to serve them.” (kb)