With the snip of a ribbon, the Perfect Place Catering Cafe officially opened in Winnipeg to make food and help youth.
Co-owners Erica Contois and Destiny Michell were youth care workers for many years and did support work at Community Education Development Association (CEDA) for students in Grades 9 through 12.
They also love to cook.
Now they are combining their passions in a new business.
“That’s what we’ve done for years,” said co-founder Contois. “We feed 100 kids a day through the CEDA program, that’s part of our kitchen, too, right now.”
The pair hopes the formula will be a recipe for success.
“I hope they walk away feeling good – that they feel good in their bellies, feel good in spirit, you know we hope to create a friendly atmosphere where they feel at home,” added Michell.
(Destiny Michell, middle, and Erica Contois, right, officially open Perfect Place. Photo: Darrell Stranger/APTN)
One dollar from every burger sold at the grand opening will go towards sponsoring a student from the CEDA program, along with half of all tips that have been donated since the cafe opened unofficially in November.
Riely Castel is a former student of CEDA who knows firsthand the impact the organization can have on a student’s life.
“CEDA made that an easier trip and a lot more pleasant…it’s the financial and educational supports that they offered. They had one-on-one tutors and the bursaries for attending school regularly, and the program, as well.”
Jordan Bighorn, the CEDA Pathways to Education program manager, hopes the cafe can change opinions about Winnipeg’s notorious North End neighbourhood.
“The Merchant’s Corner, of course, had some fanare when it opened, but I think it has yet to really show its true transformation from what it was, as I understand, from years ago,” he said of the Selkirk Avenue building.
“The darkness that came out of this place and now the light that’s coming out.”
Contois and Michell are also paying tribute to their friend, Winnipeg social and community worker Mitch Bourbonniere, by naming their clubhouse sandwich ‘the Big Mitch.’
They want the cafe to be the ‘Perfect Place’ to start a new era for the community.