Red River College’s inaugural Indigenous Culinary Skills program is cooking up opportunities for students and re-opening the doors to the College’s Prairie Lights restaurant at the Notre Dame Campus.
The College’s first-ever pop-up short order restaurant will see this inaugural group of students cooking made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch starting March 12th to April 17th, with a menu featuring a new take on some delicious Indigenous dishes.
“A key priority for the College is to advance Indigenous achievement and elevate student success. Our role as a college is to ensure we create the programs, supports and opportunities that allow Indigenous peoples to demonstrate their leadership and innovation in all facets of our society,” said Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy.
The students will operate the restaurant as a real short order kitchen, which won’t only give students practical experience that they can use when they enter the workforce but it will also touch on power skills like team work, communication, time management and problem solving. This initiative demonstrates the College’s commitment to support Indigenous learners on their journey towards education and successful employment as well as growing Indigenous peoples successfully into all industries.
“By offering traditional Indigenous dishes such as bannock tacos and 3-sisters soup, these students will be sharing their culture with the rest of the College and members of the public who come to dine at Prairie Lights. That really fits into the work we are doing with Truth and Reconciliation through celebrating Indigenous culture and advancing Indigenous achievement in our communities. You can really see the sense of pride students have by sharing the food they make that is part of their history.”
The restaurant will also give employment experience to students enrolled in College Transition, a one-year exploratory certificate program. The College has hired these students to run the “front-of-house” operation and as part of their new role also received First-Aid Training and their Food Handler’s certification.
“Red River College is dedicated to finding innovative opportunities to build a better future for students,” says Chartrand. “There is a compelling need for financial assistance for Indigenous students who want to pursue post-secondary education, so we will find solutions and remove barriers to education and employment wherever we can.”
The Prairie Lights restaurant will be open to the public from March 12th to April 17th and offers made-from-scratch breakfast, lunch and daily specials. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Friday; 9 am to 10:30 am for breakfast, and 11 am to 12:30 for lunch. Seating is limited and is first-come, first-served.