Maria and Agatka Summer 2014
Shot by Conor M. O’Brien
“FoodShare and other Ward 18 food leaders such as Community Food Centres Canada, the Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market, and The Depanneur have shown the exciting potential of good, healthy food, urban agriculture, and food entrepreneurship. It is a way to improve the health and sustainability of our ward, to encourage new local jobs and economic activity and to bring our community together.” — Alex Mazer, Ward 18 Candidate for Toronto City Council 2014
Hosting a pop-up is too expensive
Having to set up all the infrastructure for a pop-up from scratch: venue, kitchen, dining room, promotion, tickets, staffing, etc. is incredibly time/resource intensive. This limits who gets to cook/host.
Attending a pop-up is too expensive
The high setup costs drive up the ticket price; this limits who gets to attend.
Pop up culture lacks diversity
As a result, there ends up being a strong bias toward the same kind of people (e.g. privileged white guys) doing the majority of the cooking/eating and defining the aesthetic/ethos of pop-up culture. Read more
The Dep rents out its kitchen by the hour to people who need inspected, commercial kitchen space to prepare their food; it is available on weekdays.
(Note: on Mondays and Fridays, the kitchen is only available up to 3pm). Read more
Field Sparrow Farms has taken on the vegetable delivery service that was formerly provided by Kawartha CSA. They are offering a winter veggie box subscription that will run every other week from January 16 to May 22. The subscription will include 10 deliveries of 20 lb. boxes of healthy, naturally-raised vegetables sourced primarily from the Amish community in the Kawartha Lakes region. Read more
The Depanneur’s rental commissary kitchen is now available for full day rentals SUNDAYS & MONDAYS.
We are looking for people who want to commit to a monthly schedule for a minimum of 6 months. The rental includes a proportional share of the available cold and dry storage space:
$350/month for 1 full day a week
$650/month for 2 full days a week
+HST + share of Hydro
Last month’s rent required as a deposit.
Feel free to contact me for more details and to book a viewing.
In addition to our regular public events like our Drop-In Dinners, Supper Clubs and Workshops, The Dep also runs a shared commercial kitchen space for independent food entrepreneurs. We have shared the facilities with great local culinary talents like The Daily Dumpling Wonton Co., Cookie Martinez, Nice Buns Bakery, Roots of Health Nutrition, and Santo Pecado Mexican Catering. The wonderful Alchemy Pickle Company also got its start in our space before moving on to her own kitchen.
Situated below The Dep, the kitchen has a commercial convection oven, an electric stove, several refrigerators & freezers, a deep sink with spray hose, washroom, lots of prep space, etc.
Members of the kitchen co-op meet every 6-8 weeks to help with a deep clean of the space. Renters are expected to have their Food Handler’s Certificate, and I also strongly recommend people have their own insurance in addition to the basic package I have for the Dep.
The Depanneur model focuses on how to provide quality food at a reasonable price, all while working to engage the local community in a variety of ways.
by Shauna Trainor | May 9, 2013 | Toronto Guardian (formerly Toronto Is Awesome)
I believe all of us have seen the power of food in bringing people together – creating conversation and fostering community – whether family, friends, colleagues, neighbours, or strangers. The Depanneur is working to implement a potentially disruptive business model to leverage the power of food in bringing together and strengthening the community.
RedefiningTO highlights the people, projects, programs and places making a difference in Toronto and beyond. We hope that sharing these stories will inspire you to join the ranks in redefining Toronto for the better.
At a recent Pecha Kucha, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet one of the brave presenters, Len Senater, who shared the story of his unique west side restaurant The Depanneur, located at 1033 College St. The Depanneur’s mission is to showcase and inspire culinary talent, to promote innovation in the food sector, and to collaborate with food entrepreneurs as well as existing social enterprises all in an effort “to expand the horizons for food in Toronto.”
The Depanneur (Quebecois for convenience store) was named not only in reference to the fact that the space used to be home to a convenience store, but also because Len believed it was fitting given his view of the food industry in Toronto as “en panne”, or rather, broken.
“There is a real formulaic approach to ‘fine’ dining in Toronto – trendy, flashy, hip, pricy, loud, meat-heavy etc… It’s conspicuous, status-forward, and for and by people with money in a way that doesn’t really interest me. There are lots of reasons for this, including high rents and bureaucratic barriers that raise the stakes so high no one wants to take any real risks. You end up with a lot of derivative, trendy, status-quo stuff, rather than more innovative and creative stuff,” he says.
by Aruna Antonella Handa | February 20, 2013 | Alimentary Initiatives
I absolutely love the Depanneur. I think Len Senater is a local food hero. He has truly revolutionized the notion of a corner store by returning the concept to what it once was.
When Len and I lived in Montreal (we didn’t know one another well, but our circles happily overlapped), the “depanneur” or the “dep” was the corner store where you went to get locally bottled cheap imported wine, cigarettes, a box of (usually) stale crackers and not much else. When Len took over the lease at his joint on Havelock and College, the place was a veritable dump. I could not believe it. But Len’s face was all shiny and new and full of optimism. I, on the other hand, could barely breathe in there. Len and his pal renovated the place physically, but while he was chipping away at the paint on the walls, Len was also chipping away at the traditional notions of a corner store. Instead of poisons like industrial candy and tobacco, Len was going to sell sour dough breads and organic vegetables. Instead of trashy magazines and porn, Len was offering serious food journals. And instead of a sorry patty reheated to within an inch of its life, Len served frittatas and wicked grilled cheese. In short he renovated the corner store, in form and in content. The Dep also features cookery classes and makes for an amazing venue for a private party.
Len is currently looking for someone to manage the corner store part of his operation as he has his hands full with running the Dep’s two kitchens, his remarkably successful and rather uniquely public supper club, the Rusholme Park, as well as his runaway success Drop-in Dinners. So, when Len asks for help? We all chip in. Alimentary’s Toronto Office Markets wouldn’t have been half as successful were it not for the brilliant support Len has quietly offered food start-ups with his kitchens by renting them commercial kitchen space. I call this small businesses weaving into one another to build resilience, to make it harder for strong winds to blow us away…