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Dining Services

Food is an important part of every student's day – and at Pickering College, we recognize that and take food seriously. We believe in nurturing healthy minds and healthy bodies, and this has informed our approach to the meals we serve. Children are happier at school and better able to learn when they have a balanced meal. We know variety is important as well as nutrition. Our menus are reviewed by a nutritionist, and we serve homestyle meals, with a focus on local, homemade and fun meal choices.

Healthy Mind; Healthy Body

As a day and boarding school, we serve many meals each year. During the school year, our Food Services team provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner from Monday to Friday, and brunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. Our Food Services team also cater special events at the school and provides catering services for outside functions at the school. For an additional cost, we also offer a special morning recess and after school Tuck Shop. 

Seasonal Menus & Choice

Our breakfast includes a variety of hot items, fresh fruit, yogurt, cereal, toast, juice, tea and coffee. Lunch has two hot meal choices, one of which is always a vegetarian option. Our hot meals are accompanied by a fresh salad bar, sandwich bar and two homemade soup choices. Most of the time, we have family-style lunches where students and teachers sit together. Our Senior School students have two days a week where we serve a buffet lunch and the students do not have to sit in specific groups. Dinner also has hot meals and is accompanied by a salad bar.

We recognize that children are more likely to eat nutritious food when it’s fun. That’s why we come up with creative approaches to serving food, such as creating restaurant style cultural-themed weekly family dinners for our boarding students. We promote eating mindfully and with gratitude by beginning our meals with grace and a moment of silence.

To ensure we are taking advantage of seasonal choices, and to increase variety, we create a five-week menu in September that’s changed up for the winter in January, and again in the spring.

Our Approach

Family-Style Dining

Gathering for lunch family-style is a Pickering tradition and a time to learn table manners, share stories and meet children from other grades. 

Locally Farmed Food

Because of our focus on local food, not only do our menus change to reflect the seasons, but when possible, we purchase from local suppliers first. 

Prepared From Scratch

We prepare many items from scratch and are very careful about how we cook our food. Our entire lunch menu is prepared by baking, grilling, steaming, poaching, braising or sautéing.

Local food tastes better because it is fresh, leaves a much smaller environmental footprint, is safer because it has passed through fewer hands and time zones, and supports the local economy.

Sample Menu

Pickering College is leading the way among independent schools as the only one in Ontario to produce its own food using Urban CultivatorTM technology.

Pickering College has always been committed to serving students fresh, healthy, locally-grown food. That’s why the team in Food Services took that commitment to healthy eating a step further by introducing an Urban CultivatorTM.

The gleaming white double-door apparatus is a showpiece in the school’s servery. Full with verdant organic greens, the indoor hydroponic growing system allows a commercial kitchen like ours to produce healthy sprouts, microgreens and fresh herbs year-round.

The urban cultivator’s philosophy is from farm to fork in ten seconds or less. Pickering College knows that local food tastes better because it is so fresh. The purchase of the cultivator was assisted by a grant provided by the winner of the Farmer Environmental Stewardship Award, an award provided by an alumni family in recognition of student environmental leadership.

Pickering College is truly leading the way among independent schools as it is the only one in Ontario to have made this kind of investment in producing its own food.

Locally-produced food leaves a much smaller environmental footprint, it’s safer because it has passed through fewer hands and time zones and it supports the local economy—It’s also more nutritious since fresh produce loses valuable minerals and nutrients the longer it is in transit.

Being able to grow our own greens and herbs is really in keeping with our practice of making meals as nutritious as possible—Whether it’s changing our menus so we’re taking advantage of seasonal choices or purchasing ingredients from local suppliers. Our kitchen uses the veggies and herbs grown by Pickering students in the raised garden beds behind the Dining Hall and this additional investment will mean we are able to continue producing our own food right here, even during the winter months.