Don Guthro and Quang Dang
D.I.C.E.D. Culinary School, Vancouver

Here’s the reality: there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of unbelievably caring people across the West who have dedicated their lives to helping those less privileged than themselves—and who never get a drop of ink written about their endeavours. And sometime all it takes is for a new detail to surface to help us all see what was right in front of us the whole time. In this case, the story was that Don Guthro, an internationally trained chef who had worked in some of Canada’s top rooms, had taken the initiative to found D.I.C.E.D. Culinary School with the goal of training aspiring chefs in the proper techniques without saddling them with backbreaking debt.

Don Guthro and Quang Dang. Photo by Leila Kwok.
Don Guthro and Quang Dang. Photo by Leila Kwok.

And the detail that finally brought this immensely admirable work to the wider public’s attention? The fact that Quang Dang, the acclaimed Calgary-born chef from West and other top rooms, signed on to help the initiative, and helped bring attention to a cause run from a basement-level room hidden deep in Vancouver’s west side.
The idea of an acclaimed chef cooking a $5.95 hamburger kicked off the buzz, and as more people flocked to D.I.C.E.D.’s Discovery Café to see the much-loved Dang in action, the community began to get a better understanding of what Guthro had already been quietly achieving for the past dozen years. It’s that rare win/win—we now know, and can support, Guthro’s passion… and we get to chow down on Dang’s food at the same time.

Food for Thought with Don

What was a food-related skill you discovered or mastered during the pandemic?

I became very aware of costs, food waste and supply chain issues. We discovered that we could be very creative with menu items for our at-risk meal programs when we were shorted products because of supplier limitations.

Best movie scene dealing with food?

Chef. The moment when they made sandwiches for the workers after the labourers helped them with the setup of the equipment in the food truck. I loved the idea of a barter system of great food for supporting each other.

THE WHOLE STORY: Introducing Western Living’s 2022 Foodies of the Year