Ric Watson
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Ric Watson

“Cool Food Dude”
Few people cook more meals than Ric Watson. He battled addiction and now he’s the chef at the Ottawa Mission, feeding more than 1,200 people every day.

Occupation: Chef, Catering Business Owner, Community Builder

Ric Watson

Chef Ric Watson is the Executive Chef and Director of Food Services at The Ottawa Mission.
Chef Ric is responsible for managing the staff, students and volunteers who serve over 1450 meals every day for some of Ottawa’s most vulnerable members of our community
Chef Ric also mentors and teaches homeless or at risk of being homeless members of our community the skills required to work in a commercial kitchen.
Once homeless and struggling with drug and alcohol issues himself, Chef Ric was fortunate to experience a mentor that helped turn his life around and led him to earn his chef’s papers and hotel and restaurant management certification.
His career as a chef led him back to Ottawa, and what started as occasional volunteer service with the homeless became full-time employment at The Ottawa Mission in 2002.
In 2004 Chef Ric started a food services training program at the Ottawa Mission to help get people off social services and into the workforce.
The five-month course teaches theory and practical skills required to work in a commercial kitchen.
The program maintains a constant waiting list and plans to expand beyond the physical borders of The Ottawa Mission.
It has graduated 149 individuals, 142 went on to find employment in the industry, a success rate of 95%.
Chef Ric is also an active community volunteer and has served on several community organizations, including the Algonquin College Student Advisory Board, the Board of Just Food, and the Board of the Ottawa Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) Ottawa branch.
He has also received many awards, including:
Ottawa Chef of the Year (2014)
Maury Carp award for Community Development (2015)
Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship (2016)
The Order of Ottawa (2019)

Hats off to this CHEF!!

Few people cook more meals than Ric Watson. He battled addiction and now he’s the chef at the Ottawa Mission, feeding more than 1,200 people every day.

Watson has come a long way from his teenage years as a runaway with a drug problem. He beat addiction and now he helps others battle their demons.

On Easter, almost 3,000 meals will be prepared under Watson’s supervision.

Interview with a Chef: Chef Ric Watson of the Ottawa Mission

Executive Chef Ric Watson

Occupation:
Manager of Food Services at the Ottawa Mission.
Personal and Professional Experience
• Ricky Joseph Watson was born in Kingston Ontario, November 27, 1962.
• Chef Ric trained in Hotel and Restaurant Management and received his Chefs Red seal at Camosun College, in Victoria B.C.
• He worked at the University of Victoria for 5 years as the Chef of the Commons Block.
• He has been at the Ottawa Mission since 2002 where he supervises staff, trainees and volunteers in preparing and serving five meals a day to shelter, hospice and community clients.
• In addition to planning and preparing more than 1300 meals a day, Chef Ric is responsible for the development and implementation of The Ottawa Mission’s Food Services Training Program in 2004. The program successfully helps move people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless back into the community with employable skills.
• Currently Chef Ric sits on the Algonquin College Student Advisory Board and brings his unique perspective and understanding of the difficulties that some people have returning to school brings a different skill set than other members of the Board.
• Chef Ric sits on the Just Food Board. By sitting on the ‘Just Food’ board Chef Ric brings the element of feeding the less fortunate to the table when working with their goal of achieving ecological sustainability and providing access to sufficient, safe, nutritious and culturally-acceptable food for an active and healthy life.
• Chef Ric is also the Vice president of the Ottawa CCFCC (Canadian Culinary Federation) branch and also a graduate and future instructor for the Christopher leadership course and the winner of the Order of Ottawa Award (2019)
• Chef Ric has received many awards; 2014 Ottawa Chef of the year, 2015 Maury Carp award (Community development)
• Chef Ric and the FSTP students have taken home some trophies as well; Winterlude stew cook off, Ottawa Chili cook off

Among his many achievements and accolades, Chef Ric was recognized as one of Ottawa’s ‘Amazing People’ by CTV Ottawa. He was also named Chef of the Year by the Canadian Chef Federation and nominated for the Order of Canada.

News Article

Since 2001, Elite Catering’s Chef Ric has been taking care of Ottawa’s catering requirements. Working closely with the Montgomery Legion, Elite Catering offers you the highest quality food and service in either of Montgomery’s two halls.

Owner Chef Ric Watson, Chef Sammy Amponash and assistant manager Kristyn Berquist are ready, willing and able to satisfy all your catering requirements.

Head chef and owner Ric Watson has over 25 years experience and has his chef’s papers with red seal and hotel/restaurant management diploma.

Chef Ric has catered events from 2 people to 6000 people.

Trained in Hotel and Restaurant Management he received his Chef’s Red Seal at Camosun College, in Victoria B.C.

In 2010 he completed the ‘Leadership Ottawa’ program, where he and other active members of the community strengthened their roles as leaders by creating and completing a community initiative program.

Currently Chef Ric sits on the Algonquin College Student Advisory Board and the Just Food Board.

Chef Ric is a member of the CCFCC (Canadian Chef Federation) and is a graduate of the University of Ottawa Leadership Course and the Christopher Leadership Course.

Among his many achievements and accolades, Chef Ric was recognized as one of Ottawa’s ‘Amazing People’ by CTV Ottawa. He was also named Chef of the Year by the Canadian Chef Federation and nominated for the Order of Canada.