Humans of Riverside: DREW’s Story

“I like eating and trying to replicate dishes from different parts of the world. I love cooking because it gives me a chance to be creative and to test myself.”

Drew Dopwell

Maintenance for Riverside BIA

His Story:

My favourite thing to do is cook.

I like to try food from all over the world and I’m grateful that I don’t have to travel far to enjoy dishes from different areas.

I like preparing and cooking food as much as I like eating. I enjoy the aroma and I like seeing the satisfied faces of people who try my creations.

Cooking inspires me to test myself and go beyond what I know. I find the whole process, from prepping to when it hits the table, soothing. However, if I had to choose my favourite ingredient, it would be pasta – of any kind. I also experiment with herbs and spices. My top picks are garlic, onion, ginger, turmeric and curry. The smell gets me every time and I’ve discovered that I can create tasty dishes when I work with these.

I learned to cook when I was young. Growing up in Hamilton, I had to rely on myself and making my own food was one of the ways I could take care of myself. I remember taking cooking classes in high school and then I took a chef’s course while attending Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough.

By the time I was 19, I was a cook at the Golden Griddle chain of family restaurants in Peterborough. Since then, I’ve cooked in many venues, feeding people from every class and various backgrounds. I also like sharing food with people who are in need.

The most memorable meal I’ve prepared was Christmas dinner for 250 seniors. I was 18 at the time.

One of the lessons I’ve learned from cooking is to follow directions. Some recipes require that you follow the directions precisely.

My cooking journey continues as I’m determined to master making dough. I think that’s my biggest failure in the kitchen. I’ve been trying to perfect making Jamaican patties, not the filling, but the crusty dough.

If I could choose my last meal on earth, it would probably be pizza (made my way)

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Drew’s story on the window at 686 Queen Street East

Making Space: Art by Bareket Kezwer and Yshmael Cabana accompanying Drew’s story on the window at 682 Queen Street East

About the Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” Storytelling Series:

The Riverside BIA – located along Toronto’s Queen Street East from the iconic bridge over the Don River to just past De Grassi St – is proud to celebrate diversity and inclusiveness with this story-telling series.

The project launched in summer 2020 as part of the Main Street Art Challenge and collaborated with writer and editor Grace Cameron, artists Bareket Kezwer (@bkez) and Yshmael Cabana (@_yshyshysh) to bring public art and launch this story-telling series in partnership with local businesses in the Riverside BIA. This project is supported by STEPS Initiative (@STEPSInitiative) as part of their Main Street Art Challenge.

The “Humans of Riverside: Giving Voice and Making Space for BIPOC” story-telling project makes physical space in storefront windows for BIPOC artists, and gives voice to stories from local BIPOC community members in Riverside. Each piece of art and each story shared has a bigger meaning that connects to the local business/window and to the BIPOC community member by sharing a link/QR code to their full story online. The Main Street Art Challenge brings this new and ongoing storytelling series to life, and the art produced for the challenge will continue to live virtually beyond the Main Street Art Challenge as part of the ongoing ‘Humans of Riverside‘ storytelling initiative.