Pear Tree chef Scott Jaeger to cohost four-course dinner to help youth living with mental-health issues

The celebrated local chef teams up with Coast Mental Health's Culinary Skills Training Program for a fundraising feast

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      Esteemed local chef Scott Jaeger of the Pear Tree Restaurant is co-hosting a four-course dinner to raise funds for Coast Mental Health’s Culinary Skills Training Program.

      The event takes place on Monday (November 26) at Social Crust Café and Catering (335 West Pender Street), a social enterprise of Coast Mental Health. Cohosting are members of the Pear Tree team and culinary students.

      The goal is to raise funds to support at-risk young adults who are recovering from or living with mental-health issues who are interested in gaining culinary training.

      Each year, three cohorts of about 14 students enroll in the program, which provides a safe space for youth to gain hands-on commercial kitchen experience while working in a functioning café. 

      Taught by Red Seal certified chefs, the four-month-long course covers cooking theory and techniques as well as essential life skills, such as communication, team work, and time management.

      Students then do a practicum at the café, working alongside support staff that includes experienced professionals and program alumni. Upon graduation, students can apply for work at the cafe for positions ranging from prep and line cooks to stewards and cashiers. From there, they receive further and ongoing support through the Cafe Training Program in developing their soft skills and organizational skills so that they’re employment-ready.

      Jaeger, meanwhile, opened the Pear Tree Restaurant (4120 East Hastings Street, Burnaby) with his wife, Stephanie, in 1998. Ever since, it has been deservedly recognized as one of the best restaurants not just in B.C. but right across Canada. Jaeger has used seasonal, local, organic, and sustainable ingredients long before they became a so-called trend with his signature exceptional, elegant, and fresh execution.

      Coast Mental Health’s Guest Chef night meal begins with a scallop consommé followed by slow-roasted Pemberton Valley sunchokes with Canadian-grain salad. The main course is Yarrow Valley duck with North Arm parsnip. (Vegetarian options are available.) Finishing things off is a dessert of Okanagan pears with chocolate and toasted hazelnuts.

      Tickets, $75, include the four-course meal, which is sponsored in part by Encore Vineyards, and two drink tickets.

      There are two seatings to choose from: 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

      ​More information is at Social Crust Café and Catering.