Torontonian’s Colombian Social Venture

chef2 Food Train founder and Scarborough native, Brian Johnston, has created a mentoring project for low income cooks, combining culinary studies in twenty regions around the world with the Harbourfront Centre World Café model to develop healthy food businesses in Medellín, Colombia. A crowdfunding campaign is raising money until July 24th to keep the mentoring centre free for cooks with no capital.

“I was used to choosing food from almost any continent in the world, within a few blocks of my doorstep in Kensington market” says Johnston. “A lot of expatriates and tourists would complain about the limited restaurant options, so I added to my French cuisine studies by learning to cook the local food in regions of Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America”. As word got out about his delicious cooking, friends began asking him to help them create their own food businesses.

While developing his own business model, Johnston recalled Toronto’s World Café food kiosks that change ethnic flavours on a weekly basis as part of Harbourfront Centre’s summer programming. “I always loved the way the centre could take the same space, and simply change the music, décor, and food programming to create a completely unique culinary and cultural event”, he shares. By combining this type of space with his training, project management and business incubator experience, he set out to create a long term employment and skills development centre, showcasing unique cuisines and businesses adapted to local markets and tourist opportunities.
Vía Cocina – Food Train is designed to be financially self sustaining, and is developing innovative ways to make it a reality. Check out his inspirational video at: (if you choose to contribute, click on travel and food perks as a thank you)

Spread the word. Doing good never tasted so good!

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