Looking for a great value new lunch spot? Cafe 335, located at 335 West Pender Street, may just do the trick. This social enterprise serves up breakfast and lunch, and is run by graduates of the Culinary Skills Training Program, a collaborative program between Coast Mental Health and Vancouver Community College (VCC).
The Culinary Skills Training Program, which began in late 2014, provides training to at-risk young adults who struggle with various barriers to employment. The program is 4 weeks long and run by a VCC culinary instructor. Graduates are invited to continue onto VCC’s 12-month diploma program. Cafe 335 provides an arena for these students to practice their learned skills in a real-world setting. There have been 29 graduates of the program and many have moved on to work at places such as The Keg, Liquids and Solids, JamJar, the Vancouver Fish Company, Safeway, the Foggy Dew and BC Place.
LeeAnn Deacon is the manager of Cafe 335 and has seen all of the graduates go through the program since 2014. She has witnessed firsthand what the program can do for struggling youth. Though the process can have its challenges, graduates of the program come out with not only employable culinary skills, but soft skills that they can take with them throughout their lives. “The reward is witnessing incredible growth in our employees,” she says of the program.
Cafe 335 serves a breakfast menu from 8 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., which contains a variety of options from breakfast wraps to bagels. The lunch menu, served from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., contains a selection of affordable sandwiches, soups and salads, with a different feature every day. Be sure to try the butter chicken sandwich! With all menu items being under $8, it is definitely one of the more affordable lunch options in the downtown area. For your next office event, Cafe 335 also offers catering for breakfast and lunch.