Cooking with Spencer

February 21, 2019
Spencer passes along his love for cooking though a class for the kids at RMHC Toronto.
Spencer hosting a class
As a chef, Spencer Newlands believes the value of food is that it brings people together. That’s part of the reason why he volunteers to deliver cooking classes for the children at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto.

“I see food as something that is special. I love seeing the joy on people’s faces when they eat a good meal,” he says.

Two years ago, Spencer began hosting a monthly cooking class for RMHC Toronto School and a weekly class for RMHC Toronto Camp.

“Cooking is an important life skill, so I didn’t want to do a ‘kid version’ of a class. I always bring the best ingredients and restaurant-quality materials. My goal is to introduce the children to easy recipes they can make with their family.”

In Spencer’s classes, the children make a variety of foods from scratch like pasta, pizza, cheese and butter, tortillas and more.

“I plan recipes I know the kids will enjoy, like cupcakes, but I turn it into a lesson about using real ingredients and creating a balanced meal.” 

Spencer-making-cupcakes.jpg

Katie Doering, Principal of RMHC Toronto School, says the classes cover some of the health curriculum like healthy eating for the elementary students, and eating ‘super foods’ for the high school students.

“Spencer has a special ability to connect with the kids and get them excited to learn. Kids who have attended his class ask me when the next one is and will try to book their hospital appointments around it,” says Katie.

Spencer also encourages the kids to try food they wouldn’t normally eat.

“Most kids hate tomatoes and say they wouldn’t try them, so to see some kids eating tomatoes by the end of a class is a success for me.”

“One child told me they were going through a difficult time, but the class made their day. When I see the kids smiling or hear them say, ‘this is the best thing I’ve ever eaten’, it’s an amazing feeling.”

The cooking classes started two years ago and expanded the support the Newlands family has been providing to RMHC Toronto for many years. The Newlands Family Foundation is a generous donor to RMHC Toronto School, and Spencer’s sister, Jordon Newlands, also volunteers on the RMHC Toronto Golf Classic Committee.

Ever energetic and enthusiastic, Spencer recently grew his involvement by joining the RMHC Toronto Young Professionals Committee (YPC). The YPC is a group of young professionals dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the organization.

“My mom has supported RMHC Toronto for most of my life, so I know how important it is. I love coming to the House because I always leave smiling, which keeps me coming back.”

We are grateful for the continued generosity and support from Spencer and the Newlands family. Their important contributions help us provide a sense of normalcy and fun for families during a difficult time in their lives.