A Taste of Dignity
For Chef William P. Topping (Bill), food was a way to express compassion and kindness towards others. He spent his life pursuing his passion for cooking, earning his Certificate of Qualifications as well as his Certificate of Appreciation and various cooking awards.
Bill grew up in a factory town but knew from an early age that the factory life was not for him. He felt lucky to have been indentured into an apprenticeship for cooking, which not only provided a learning opportunity, but shaped who he became as a person – it was quickly clear he was meant to be a chef.
He spent his life feeding others and bringing people together around food; for him, this was a way to help those in need. Bill specialized in institutional food production, working at Oshawa General Hospital (OGH) for almost a decade, preparing up to 3000 meals a day designed to fit every dietary need while maintaining high quality. Following his time at OGH, Bill performed private catering while also authoring two books, A Taste of Durham and Romantic Venison.
In Bill’s eyes, food was a way to express love and hospitals were at the heart of a community. With this perspective, it’s no wonder he chose to leave a legacy that brings the two together. Bill suffered from pulmonary fibrosis and as his condition worsened, he decided to plan a Taste of Dignity gift to Northumberland Hills Hospital (NHH) Foundation within his Will.
Sadly, Bill passed away in March 2020, leaving these funds with the wish they be utilized to provide food and entertainment to celebrate NHH staff and physicians. During Bill’s visits to NHH as a patient, he had been impressed by the consistent compassion demonstrated by physicians and staff – it was clear to him they were not just going about their jobs, but they truly cared. He saw strength in the size of NHH, believing it supported a community feel and allowed for efficient and personal care, and he felt this deserved to be recognized.
For Bill, leaving this gift was the perfect recipe to show his appreciation for the care he received – it combines a heaping spoonful of gratitude, a pinch of cheer, and a touch of respect.