This week, we are taking a look behind-the-scenes in the camp kitchen and meeting one of our great cooks, Alex Smith…
Even though chicken tikka masala with rice and naan bread is not typical camp food, Alex took a risk to prepare this meal for a dining hall full of hungry teenagers. The results were better than he expected, actually one of the best new recipes he has tried at camp.
Alex, head cook at the Clearwater Site at Ontario Pioneer Camp, one of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship’s nine camps across Canada, is a 3rd year student at Tyndale University studying religious education and general ministry. He grew up going to a variety of camps. At the age of 16, he started working at Circle Square Ranch Severn Bridge. He helped out in the kitchen, led small groups, and was the camp videographer/photographer for five years before serving as head cook.
In 2011, Alex moved to Ontario Pioneer Camp to cook for the Leaders-in-Training and Woodland Challenge teen programs. “It can be very busy cooking for hungry teenagers, I have long hours! But they’re very appreciative that somebody is here who can provide them with food,” says Alex as he takes a break from the kitchen to talk to us.
He is the creative mastermind behind the kitchen counter, preparing three meals a day, seven days a week, for three weeks at a time for the teens on site. He takes care of everything from setting the menu, to filling out food orders, to making sure everyone gets fed, especially campers with special dietary needs and allergies. He has a pretty good grasp on how to gauge a group’s interest, what recipes they will like and which ones won’t work.
“Cooking at camp is a creative outlet for me,” says Alex, “It’s a way that God can use me in the Christian camp context,”