DC students win student series competition

A video exploring the Three Sisters – corn, beans and squash – and their role in Aboriginal cuisine has won five Durham College (DC) students from the college’s Centre for Food (CFF) a prestigious competition hosted by Canoe Restaurant in Toronto. For their prize, the team enjoyed an exclusive dining experience at Canoe’s iconic Chef’s Rail, followed by an overnight stay at the Le Germain Hotel in late November.

Held as part of Canada 150 celebrations, Canoe’s student series competition asked entrants to create a video answering the question, what does Canadian food mean to you? Together, Casey Chessman (Horticulture – Food and Farming), Tamara Green, Khadijah Hosein and Emilie Woytowich (Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts) and Ikra Ijaz (Hospitality – Hotel and Restaurant Operations Management) created their winning submission.

Inspired by Green’s Indigenous heritage and the diverse backgrounds of all the team members, the students focused their entry on the concept of the Three Sisters, which represent the main agricultural crops of many First Nations, using their interconnectedness as an analogy for Canada’s multiculturalism and its positive impact on the ever-evolving idea of what constitutes Canadian cuisine.

Kristin Atwood, a graduate of DC’s Culinary Management and Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts programs, filmed and produced the team’s entry and will also attend the celebratory dinner where Canoe chefs John Horne and Ron McKinlay prepared a decadent, multi-course meal for the DC team using the finest Canadian ingredients from coast to coast.

“We are absolutely thrilled for the students who won Canoe’s student series competition,” said Kevin Baker, principal, Whitby campus, Durham College. “They are studying in programs that are rooted in the field-to-fork philosophy which gives them a unique perspective on the role food and farming have played – and continue to play — in shaping Canadian culture, including cuisine. The submission that they created highlighted the traditions and diversity that make our country special. I know they are looking forward to experiencing the meal at Canoe, especially given its own unique focus on defining Canadian cuisine.”

DC’s students competed against 22 other schools in the competition, which was open to any student above the age of 19, enrolled for the academic year beginning September 2017 in a food-related program, including culinary arts or chef; hospitality management; winery and viticulture technician, distiller or brewmaster; agriculture (including fish and seafood); cheesemaker; butcher; baker/patisserie; food and nutrition management.