By recognizing the need for a better understanding of healthy eating habits within the communities we serve, Sharpen Up meets at-risk individuals where they’re at in the socially distanced safety of home via Zoom or in-person and adapts to what tools and equipment they have access to. Originally launched to hone in on kids and young adults, SU has evolved to support Indigenous groups, young mothers, seniors, and more individuals of all ages. This program is facilitated via 3 Chef-led Zoom or in-person sessions in both group and one-on-one environments. Workshops are designed to teach participants how to source and prepare healthy, home-cooked meals on a budget. In group and one-on-one settings, Sharpen Up focuses on foundational cooking techniques with simple, nutritious recipes.

A Better Life Foundation chef leading a Sharpen Up group training and education session for at-risk youth in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside as part of a commitment to holistic food literacy as part of Sharpen Up programming.


Throughout this program, Sharpen Up participants either receive customized grocery orders delivered to their doorstep or have access to a selection of specialty ingredients in a group setting. Facilitated by our program coordinators with funds raised primarily through private donations, government grants, and corporate sponsorships, grocery deliveries ensure ingredients necessary to each workshop will be on hand. Our recipes consider fresh, healthy, seasonal, and local ingredients that are sensitive to cultural and dietary restrictions along with participant preferences.

Fresh, local ingredients are provided to Sharpen Up participants to support nutritional recipes made by learning foundational cooking technics.

I have been a bit anxious and sick given finals and the pandemic, lately. Before, I wouldn’t really listen to my body when I felt stressed, but given the lessons the Chefs taught me, I now treat food as medicine.

– Anonymous, Sharpen Up Participant


Sharpen Up Chefs are hand-picked and curated from our wide network of world class industry peers and are aligned with us to serve people, planet, and purpose. We are honored to have Chef Airis, the Food Network’s first black female-identifying Chopped champion as part of SU leadership. Chef Joshna Maharaj, a two-time TedX speaker, CBC guest, and social justice advocate is another Chef in our ranks alongside Chef Charles Michel, a Michelin-star trained Chef and Future Food Institute Professor  who has been featured on Netflix’s The Final Table. As leaders in global sustainability, equity and democracy in food systems, this culinary team is dedicated to making a difference starting with the home kitchen.

Sharpen Up leadership Chef Airis, the Food Network’s first black female-identifying Chopped champion.