Culinary graduate Candice Ekonomakos is a Cook with a Mission

Candice Ekonomakos (left) with Lily Poon.

Candice Ekonomakos (left) with Lily Poon.

TORONTO — By day, you will find Candice Ekonomakos doing what she loves, working full time as a cook at Toca Restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. By night, you’ll often see Candice pursuing her other passion, helping others, by volunteering as a cook at homeless shelters in Toronto and Brampton.  

In addition to  winning a Premier’s Award in 2014, this 2012 graduate of the Culinary Management Program at Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, has become the advocate of “Cooks on a Mission” a junior chef’s initiative to help those in the industry feed the homeless. 

“While I was taking the bus from Brampton to my job at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Toronto, I started to notice an increase in homeless people and people asking for money,” says Ekonomakos, who grew up in Brampton and recently moved to downtown Toronto.  

“I didn’t have the extra money to help, but I knew I could help by volunteering my time by cooking at homeless shelters.”

Cooks with a Mission aims to help alleviate hunger and poverty in low-income communities in the GTA.  The goal is to encourage junior cooks and chefs to volunteer funds or their time at area shelters, while encouraging restaurants to donate equipment or funds to the cause.   

Ekonomakos volunteers her time at the Brampton Knights Table and the Yonge Street Mission and recently initiated and organized a sold out, five-course fundraising dinner at the Brampton Knights Table. 

“My goal is to be a humanitarian chef and that is what I am.”