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caterer hosts event for service dogs

medium - the waterloo chronicle
date - oct 13, 2010

Dana Shortt Gourmet will be hosting a Soup and Cracker fundraiser on Oct. 15 from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m. at 55 Erb St. E, Unit 101, in Waterloo.

The fundraiser will feature soups, crackers and lots of free samples from the kitchen of Dana Shortt Gourmet, the Barrie Brothers, Thiru’s Classic Indian, Village Kitchen and Stonewall Kitchen.

All profits from the sale of the featured items will help place a Certified Autism Service Dog with a local child from Waterloo. The child is currently on the waiting list to receive a dog from National Service Dogs. which is a children’s charity located in Cambridge.

Shortt has been involved with numerous charities throughout the years by donating gift baskets to help raise money for local charities, as well as hosting her own annual spring Bake Sale To Benefit for Kids Ability.

In addition to her spring fundraiser, Shortt has decided to host an annual fall fundraiser to raise money for other local charities.

In the fall of 2009, she hosted a charitable bake sale event for Children and Family Services.

This year, Shortt was introduced to National Service Dogs and was inspired to raise money to sponsor a local child with autism.

NSD is committed to enriching the quality of life and enhancing the independence of children and families like Tessa’s.

Certified Autism Service Dog’s from NSD are valued at $30,000 over the eight to 10 year working life of each dog.

However, thanks to the support of local business such as Dana Shortt Gourmet and other community members, they are provided at no cost to families.

For more information on NSD, visit www.nsd.on.ca or phone 519-623-4188.

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gone shopping

medium - the record
date - july 15, 2006
author - Carla McLennan
article - find of the week: the pope's jam

found by: Carla McLennan, for Grand River Life

Description: When Pope John Paul II was in Toronto for World Youth Day, he tasted some of this jam and subsequently asked that two cases be shipped to the Vatican.

Its official name is Red Lavender Strawberry Merlot Jam, but I just think of it as the pope's jam. Made for over 20 years by Swiss chef Urs Abey and his company A Bisket - A Basket out of the St. Lawrence Market, it's preservative-free, at least 70 per cent real fruit and handmade from top quality all-natural ingredients.

I expect the Pope had this jam for breakfast on his english muffins, but I served it the other day with brie and crackers and it seemed to be a big hit. You can buy this jam at Dana Shortt Gourmet, 55 Erb St. E., Waterloo, (across from the LCBO) where it sells for $7.99 for a 250mL jar.

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entrepreneur had a great appetite for hard work
in starting up successful firm

medium - business times
date - april 2006
author- lisa kember

Running a successful catering business with no car seems almost impossible. But that is how Dana Shortt started her business. The earliest phase of what is now Dana Shortt Gourmet operated in Toronto using the bus and subway system to trek food, platters and catering supplies from place to place.

Fortunately, Dana Shortt – who was recently awarded 2006 Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce – is not one to get bogged down by circumstances. Shortt is a confident business visionary.

Her entrepreneurial venture started at the age of 24 while she was studying at the George Brown College Chef School in Toronto and simultaneously working as a private chef and catering small events. She had already completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Hotel and Food Administration at the University of Guelph before going to George Brown.

While her fellow students were preparing to work their way through the hospitality industry, Shortt started looking for alternatives.

“I realized that I didn’t see myself as a chef in a restaurant – that wasn’t what I wanted to do,” Shortt says. “I wanted to do catering, food writing and private label products.”

Through her creativity and salesmanship, she did an unusual apprenticeship in 2004 with the approval of the George Brown faculty – apprenticing for herself while launching her dream and renting space at the Breithaupt Community Centre. That was unheard of at George Brown, where students typically work under a chef in a restaurant or a hotel.

This vision and drive comes naturally to Shortt. She is the product of an entrepreneurial family. Both parents own separate companies and this is not her first business venture.

“I always assumed I would work for myself,” says Shortt. “I knew I wanted to start a business – and I wanted to do it here, in Waterloo region.”

As a true entrepreneur, Shortt is quick to recognize opportunities and capitalize on them. “I first rented the commercial kitchen at Breithaupt in 2002. But after lugging platters up and down the stairs and running to Zehrs for food supplies because I couldn’t accept deliveries, I knew it was time to do something different.”

“I opened the store on Erb Street and opened Dana Shortt Gourmet in 2004. I had just finished an amazing Christmas season and I began to realize there was a market for people who just need good-quality take home food. And I launched the store so I could offer “Pick-up Catering” – providing people the opportunity to pick up the whole meal or just a single appetizer or entrée.”

At the store, customers select fresh soups, entrees or desserts from a fridge or plan ahead meals from the freezer. They can enjoy the convenience of selecting from a menu or picking a la carte from available items.

Shortt and her team – which now consists of an Executive Catering Chef, Resident Chef and various support staff – still do catering and food delivery. But they also focus on building the clientele who have discovered this life-saving resource for busy hosts and hectic families.

While Shortt has been focused on building the business, people have been buzzing about her exceptional food and unique business model.

“I’ve done very little advertising,” Shortt says. “We have expanded on the basis of word-of-mouth. One client has lead to another.”

The award, a closely-guarded secret until the day it was presented, was sponsored by the Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology. The fact that she was selected out of the 10+ nominees was a complete surprise. “It is a great honour for me. I have always enjoyed exceptional support through the Chamber.”

Asked for her advice for other entrepreneurs, Shortt is quick to respond. “Surround yourself with people who are going to be supportive. It is exciting to build a company – but it can be hard at times. You have to work really hard and be committed and focused. So it helps to have the right people around you.”

Even as she develops the gourmet take-away meals, builds her team and continues to service her growing clientele in the store, Dana Shortt is envisioning the future.

“I plan to develop private-labelled food – a selection of signature items – and sell them in other retail venues. I will continue to increase the catering business and grow the store. Maybe eventually I’ll write a cookbook.”

But she won’t be giving away the recipes that make her shop’s take-home gourmet items a hit with customers. She wants to keep them coming back!

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shopping guide - love is in the air

medium - grand magazine
date - january | february 2006
article - gourmet made easy

"Treat your sweetheart to a gourmet food package, priced at $50 and up, which includes a sampling of our best-selling signature items, all ready to eat and enjoy. Many items are freshly made, along with a few imported specialties. Or give your Valentine a break and purchase a selection of our fresh and frozen entrees. If you call ahead, your order will be waiting."

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gifts to last

medium - grand magazine
date - november | december 2005
author - jennifer king

"Every holiday, at least in my family, is centred around food," says Waterloo chef Dana Shortt. So when in doubt, go with food, she suggests. "It's perfect for people who have everything. It's not going to sit in the closet. It's not going to sit up in the attic. It's going to be savoured."

Her company, Dana Shortt Gourmet, is creating six gourmet brunches, to be delivered to the doorstep on selected Sundays every other month through 2006.

Her dishes are prepared with fresh, seasonal ingredients, bought locally whenever possible, and just reading the menus will make anyone's mouth water.

One brunch features items like caramelized leek, goat cheese and roasted red pepper frittata, with maple-glazed sausage and her signature lemon-currant scones. Every brunch includes freshly squeezed juices, gourmet pastries, and "a little extra," courtesy of Dana.

It's a great gift for newlyweds or parents, priced at $399 for six set brunch dates for two people, including delivery. Add extra friends or family for $32.99 per person, per brunch.

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new ventures

medium - the record
date - may 11, 2005

Dana Shortt has opened Dana Shortt Gourmet, a specialty food shop and catering business located at 55 Erb St. E., Waterloo. (Waterloo Plaza (opposite LCBO), 880-1555, www.danashortt.ca)

Gourmet comfort foods, unique products and pick-up catering. Call ahead to order hors d'oeuvres for a soiree, quiche and lemon scones for a baby shower or organic chicken pot pie for the cottage. Corporate catering available.

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gone shopping

medium - the record
date - winter 2005
author - Sara McLennan
article - find of the week: colander

I own two very sad colanders - one that is destined for a spot of honour at Doon Heritage Crossroads and another that is even more embarrassing. If you, too, are in the market for a shiny new colander, I've found the perfect one.

Visit Dana Shortt's Gourmet Made Easy, at 55 Erb St. E., Waterloo (in the mall across from the LCBO) to see this nifty Vancouver-made colander which sells for $23.99.

Instead of plain holes, words like beans, blueberries and pasta have been punched out.

If you'd like, Shortt can use this colander as a base for a gift basket - um, I mean gift colander - filled with gourmet goodies and kitchen gadgets.

Clever. What home chef wouldn't love to receive that?

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hot flashes

medium - women's culinary network news
date - may, 2005

November 2004 saw the launch of Dana Shortt Gourmet. Located in Waterloo, this shop features fresh and frozen gourmet meals-to-go, appetizers, desserts, entertaining accessories and hostess gifts.

A kitchen is located in the back to provide full-service catering to take-away single meals or hors d'oeuvres. They also have a large selection of family and single-sized frozen entrees (savoury pies, meat and vegetable lasagna, curried chicken, etc.) and delectable pies, cakes, squares and tarts from Phipps and Dufflets.

More details along with what's cooking this week features can be found at www.danashortt.ca

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   55 erb street east, unit 101
   waterloo, ontario, N2J 4K8
monday to friday:  10 am -  7 pm
:  9 am -  5 pm
:  closed
open sundays 11am-4pm - december only - leading up to christmas day
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