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What's in a Meal?

An Update from 405 Alexander’s Kitchen Team

Dec 1 2023 | Connective

Since Connective began operating 405 Alexander in October of 2021, the kitchen team has served over 110,000 meals – for many in the community, this service is an important source of food security.


Earlier this year, Shawn (405 Alexander’s Kitchen Coordinator) and his team set out to overhaul the menu being served to residents and service users of the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter. With thousands of meals served up each month, this was a major undertaking.



“A lot of work goes into a menu, especially a major overhaul like we did. Running a 28-day rotating menu is very complex but provides a great value and variety.”


For Shawn and his team, the goal was to “create a more well-rounded and well balanced, nutritious diet, using more traditional food that service users would enjoy.” On paper the task sounds straightforward enough, but in practice, it was anything but.


From gathering service user input, to consulting Canada’s Food Guide, and considering portion sizes, traditional diets, and diverse food groups – the first step was ideation. After that, “the hard work begins.”


Staff had to build, test, and price individual recipes (sometimes as many as 3-5 per meal), work with suppliers to ensure that ingredients would be regularly available, and ensure that each dish ‘worked,’ so that “service and the flow of delivery was speedy and efficient.”


A handful of the meals prepared by the kitchen crew at 405 Alexander


The team also took special care to ensure that on days where pork or seafood were served, alternatives were available to meet allergy needs or dietary preferences. The results? So far, they speak for themselves.

“The response has been just incredible. We constantly have people complementing our staff and thanking us for our efforts.”

– Shawn, Kitchen Coordinator

It was a lot of work, but for Shawn and his team, it was well worth it.


“Food can play such a huge role in someone’s road to recovery…I have always preached that the kitchen is the heart of a home; it’s the family center, it provides comfort, laugher, and healing.”


“We are always trying to provide that at 405 – a safe, comfortable space for friends and family to come together.”


 The team also practice what they preach, taking the time to get to know everyone and asking about their day, their family, or their plans. “We take pride in the food we serve and do our very best to provide a positive dining experience.”



To learn more about some of the supports and services available at 405 Alexander, read out latest newsletter.