The People Behind the Plate - DEDICATE Healthy Kitchen & Meal Prep

Heather St. Croix and Chad White, owners of Dedicate Healthy Kitchen

“I’m not sure I would have ever tried to start a restaurant anywhere else. But the sense of opportunity here was the biggest push for me to have the confidence to give it a shot,” Heather said, looking back on how her humble desire for easy, healthful eating has grown into a city-spanning sensation in six short years.

Dedicate Healthy Kitchen, founded by Heather St. Croix and Chad White, debuted in downtown Fort McMurray, August 2015. The kitchen is built on the basis of providing patrons a wide range of hearty food to fuel their way to good health and happiness.

“As kids, Chad and I lived about 45 minutes away from each other in small town Newfoundland,” Heather said. “Our schools would play basketball against each other. It was the only sport we had there, so we played basketball from grade 7 to graduation -- 5 or 6 days a week, with tournaments on the weekend.”

After graduation the two had seemingly gone their separate ways, though it wasn’t to last. 

“I was on a waiting list for a school back home, so I moved up here thinking I was only going to be around for about a year or so. But I got up here and just never left.”

Chad, meanwhile, had gone on to study pipefitting in Newfoundland and, in time, his trade brought him up to the oil sands city as well. 

“We both ended up in the construction industry. We knew each other from school, but only got together after we’d both moved up here and found ourselves in the same circles.”

Working long hours at site, the couple struggled to find time to stay fit and eat smart.

“We were always eating at restaurants, it was just easier that way. All the time you’d need to purchase, prep, then eat your food and still squeeze in time for the gym? It’s a lot.  Fitness was always a big part of our lives, but working 12 hours days -- or even longer with the commute time -- it was just too hard to make that work.

“We always wanted to start a business, always knew we wanted to run a restaurant. We love the vibe and the variety of restaurants in town, but it was hard to always eat healthy with what was available at the time,” Heather said. “We saw the need for something different and knew the struggles that come with working long hours, so we figured we’d try offer a healthier concept instead.”

And the jump from concept to commercial success came quick, with Dedicate expanding to a second location in Eagle Ridge in 2019 after having outgrown their 1200 square foot spot downtown.

A third location has since opened in Calgary. 

“It’s super exciting, and just to know that all this stemmed from Fort McMurray is amazing,” Heather said. “Fort McMurray’s been awesome, we have a really passionate base here, but a big city like Calgary opens us up to a much larger world. We’re going to get our name out there and show them what Dedicate is all about!”

And what is Dedicate all about?

“For us it’s about helping people live a healthier lifestyle. It’s very rewarding, it keeps us going,” Heather said. “But eating healthy isn’t just salads and wraps, and you’re not going to eat salads and wraps for the rest of your life. 

“Different people have different needs depending on their activity level. Whether you’ve never gone to the gym, or hit the gym every single day, we want to make sure anyone could feel comfortable walking into our store and didn’t feel out of place or like they didn’t belong. That’s the goal with our menu.”

And what a menu it is! Sure, the salads and wraps are there, but also in the good company of mighty, meaty omelettes, protein-packed pancakes, and a bevy of juicy burgers.

What’s more, Dedicate offers a multitude of meal prep options as well. One can choose from over a dozen pre-built meal ideas, or call in and craft something custom with help of their meal prep menu. With just a day’s notice for preparation time, they’ll have your good eats made up fresh and ready for pick up (or delivery) in short order.

Heather and Chad remain forever grateful for the success and continued support their restaurant has enjoyed these past years:
“A lot of our staff live this lifestyle and eat our food, we all have our own stories and it’s great to really connect with the customers coming in. It puts a more personal touch on what we do, and I believe that’s a key to our success -- our customer service. All of our staff know our customers and our customers know our staff.

“We meet new people everyday, but a lot of people have been here from the beginning -- it's great, and the changes we’ve seen are wild! Some of our customers have had babies, and seeing the babies growing up over the years has been awesome. We love this community!”

For more information on Dedicate Healthy Kitchen, be sure to visit their website or check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

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About the Author:

Lookin' good.

Hey there, I'm Devon.

I'm a content writer and web coordinator for Explore Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.

Originally from Friendly Manitoba, I've lived here since 2006. I came for the hills and a bit less humidity, but stayed for the people.

In writing this series, I'll strive to showcase those great people, their passion, and the good work they do here. I'm focused squarely on folks in the food sector for this series, but hope to explore others from all walks in later projects, too.

If you are a restaurant owner and would like to be featured in this series, please let me know! If you're not, but have someone in mind, let me know that, too!

You'll find me at I look forward to hearing from you!

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