Thursday, July 12, 2018

Paintbox Bistro: Social Enterprise or Delicious Restaurant?

Looking for a delicious vegetarian restaurant in the east side of the city? Well, look no further. Located in the heart of Regent Park, Toronto, at the corner of Sackville and Dundas, is the Paintbox Bistro Restaurant.

Founded in 2012, the Paintbox Bistro and Catering Restaurant offers an array of unique and fresh vegetarian dishes including green curry tofu, collard green enchiladas, forest mushroom pappardelle, “meat-free” burgers, and a Caesar-style kale salad with coconut “bacon”.

For those that are quick to brush off the Paintbox as another example of the area’s gentrification, it is important to note that the Paintbox Bistro is a proud Certified B Corporation. Certified B Corporations are businesses that strive to meet verifiable social and environment objectives to help fight poverty and climate change. The Paintbox was the first caterer in Canada to receive the designation in 2013; it was also recently named “Best for the World” in 2016, landing in the top 10% of B Corporations due to its strong community mandate.

Part restaurant and part social enterprise, the Paintbox provides employment and career development training opportunities to individuals interested in starting a career in the hospitality industry. Indicative of this mission, most of the Paintbox employees have no prior experience working in a restaurant setting, and, as part of their training, they experience every aspect of the restaurant’s operations, including its catering business and administrative work. This allows individuals to find a niche within the restaurant where they both enjoy the work and can hone their skills, whether working on the kitchen line or supporting front-of-the-house operations.

Considering that the owner and founder of the Paintbox restaurant, Chris Klugman, was a former instructor with the prestigious culinary management training program at George Brown College, the Paintbox is well suited to the task of providing career path opportunities in the food hospitality industry.

Travis Acheampong

Regent Park Focus Media Arts Centre

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