Youth Crew Catering makes fabulous food – Winnipeg Free Press


The phone is ringing off the hook at Youth Crew Catering. It could be due to their famous celebration cookie. It could be because they are known to not skimp on top quality ingredients. It could be because non-profits love them, as their delicious food is made by West End youth.

“Requests are coming in daily, it’s almost overwhelming,” program manager Leslie Kwok says.



<p>Leslie Kwok, who founded and runs SNA’s Youth Crew program, which includes Youth Crew Catering, shows off a batch of gluten-free, ginger and chocolate chip cookies.</p>
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Leslie Kwok, who founded and runs SNA’s Youth Crew program, which includes Youth Crew Catering, shows off a batch of gluten-free, ginger and chocolate chip cookies.

Youth Crew Catering is part of the Spence Neighbourhood Association’s Youth Crew program, which gives local youth a chance to gain much-needed experience and earn money while working on a casual basis.

Kwok prioritizes safety and professionalism in the kitchen and the youth love her for it. Under her warm hearted yet tough-love tutelage they become engaged, accountable, responsible and safe. All youth in the program learn employee rights and adopt a culture of workplace safety.

Many of the recipes that they make come from her grandmother’s cookbooks. The well-used recipes have stood the test of time and she never cuts corners with the ingredients. “It (the ingredients) has to be the best of the best or forget it.”

They make vegan, veggie, paleo, gluten-free and halal dishes, as so many customers request them these days. Kwok mentions that their taco bar can easily be modified to suit a mix of all of the diets as long as gluten-free taco shells are available.

Participants learn that cooking is a creative process while they tweak and revise recipes together to suit different diets. Little changes can make big improvements. A version of their delicious, cranberry-orange vegan and glutenfree cookie was too crumbly until they added more banana to the dough.

Youth Crew Catering’s celebration cookie is the one most requested for fundraising drives and can often be found at board meetings city-wide. “…it is made with chocolate chips, coconut and cranberries…the kicker is the ripple potato chips” says Kwok.

Helping kids learn about life, and work is something Kwok traced back to her own childhood.” I’ve always wanted to give youth more choices and for them to get the professional training I didn’t get when I was a kid”….”there was no one to teach me how to be professional at work and I started working at 12 years old.

It is thanks to the hundreds of customers who have supported Youth Crew Catering over the years that it has grown to be such a success while helping youth with few employment options become job ready and start their work life with confidence and skills.

You can reach Youth Crew Catering at (204) 801-6740. They do need five business days notice to cater an event

Anne Hawe

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