Yes Chef! fundraising campaign surpasses $5 million goal

TORONTO, May 19 /CNW/ - Recognizing the demands of a rapidly growing hospitality industry and the need for more skilled workers able to fill the gap created by Ontario's looming labour shortage, George Brown College's Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (CHCA) has reached a milestone fundraising target supporting significant facility expansions and renewal projects. Yesterday evening, the Centre celebrated the three-year, $5.1 million achievement of the Yes Chef! fundraising campaign by honouring its donors, supporters, friends and family at a celebratory reception.

"We are thrilled that we've achieved this goal, and could not have done it without the significant contributions - in both funding and support - from our friends and industry partners," said John Walker, dean of the CHCA. "Our biggest goal is to produce the best talent in foodservice and hospitality, and our relationships with industry partners are a key component to the CHCA's success."

A total of 61 companies in the foodservice and hospitality industries contributed to the Yes Chef! campaign, including significant donations from:

    
    -   Compass Group Canada
    -   Corby Distilleries Limited
    -   Ecolab
    -   Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
    -   Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
    -   Garland Canada
    -   Lindt and Sprungli (Canada), Inc.
    -   Ontario Hostelry Institute
    -   Prime Restaurants of Canada Inc.
    -   Saputo Inc.
    -   Unilever Food Solutions
    

As part of last night's appreciation event, a commemorative installation was unveiled to thank all of those who contributed to this accomplishment. Also on-hand were Yes Chef! campaign co-chairs Donna Dooher, Chef and owner of Mildred's Temple Kitchen, and Michael Beckley, senior vice president of Lodging Development for Marriott and Ritz Carlton Hotels and Resorts Canada.

"I'm a big believer in George Brown's Yes Chef! initiative. The College's Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts provides a fabulous opportunity for all those who are entering our industry to get the best possible education available," said Dooher. "The generous support of this campaign and its resulting effects on the College's facilities means raising the bar for the industry."

The fundraising goal, which was officially achieved on March 31, 2010, coupled with $15 million from the Ontario Government and George Brown College itself, has already contributed to the CHCA's two newly renovated buildings. In addition, there are numerous renovations to the CHCA currently in progress, including a concierge station, hotel-style front desk at Student Services, nine interactive culinary labs, three baking labs, a chocolatier lab, a culinary demo theatre, mixology and sommelier labs and a student resource centre.

The expansion also includes the development of The Chefs' House, George Brown's student-operated restaurant, which includes vaulted windows and an open-concept kitchen where students prepare food and patrons can watch with the help of strategically placed plasma TV screens.

"Donations to the George Brown Yes Chef! Campaign have helped to ensure the long-term success of Canada's foodservice and hospitality industries, and has helped students fulfill their dreams of a future in these fields," said Jack MacDonald, campaign donor and chief executive officer of Compass Group Canada and ESS North America.

About George Brown College

With nine out of 10 graduates hired within six months of graduation, Toronto's George Brown College has established a reputation for equipping students with the skills, industry experience and credentials to pursue the careers of their choice. From its two main campuses located across the downtown core, George Brown offers nearly 160 programs across a wide variety of professions to a student body of 60,000 (including those enrolled in full-time, part-time and continuing education programs). Students can earn diplomas, post-graduate certificates, industry accreditations, apprenticeships and four-year bachelor degrees.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/

SOURCE George Brown College

For further information: For further information: or to book an interview, please contact: Shannon Morton, Linda Heredia, APEX Public Relations, (416) 924-4442, ext. 253, 240, smorton@apexpr.com, lheredia@apexpr.com


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