Your Lunch is Ready by Paul Seale
Forgot your lunch at home? Not to worry. Bev Gray has you covered at the Old East Village Grocer where she works in the full-service delicatessen.
From the Dilly Chicken wrap to the Potato and Brie pizza or Sweet Kale salad, Bev and the rest of the deli team prepare fresh food daily for those that live, work, or play in the surrounding neighbourhoods, all the while slicing meats and cheeses for the store’s faithful shoppers. A close-by neighbour of the store herself, Bev says, “My work in the deli helps me feel like I am contributing to a local food economy.” And she contributes more than that.
The OEV Grocer is a social enterprise operated by ATN Access for Persons with Disabilities, and uses its revenues to help people facing barriers to meaningful employment. Trained in an English butcher shop, then subsequently in hotels, Bev knows her meats and her customer service. She shares that knowledge generously with her colleagues and the clients that the Old East Village Grocer serves.
Donning a hairnet and gloves, Bev sets into her work an hour before opening, putting on the day’s soups, baking baguettes for use in sandwiches, then preparing fruit and yogurt parfaits for grab and go breakfasts. And, in a blink, it’s lunchtime. “We like to make sure there are always at least eight or ten different sandwiches and wraps available for different people with different tastes,” Bev says as she assembles the ingredients for her own Coronation Chicken sandwich filled with curried chicken salad. The next time you’re nearby, you just might want to forget your lunch at home on purpose.