Recent grant creating new opportunities at PGI
BY OSCAR RODRIGUEZ
A recent grant awarded to Red River College’s culinary arts program is just one example of the changes that have been going on in the department over the past few years.
“Six years ago, sous-vide was something only scientists did. Now we have sous-vide machines in our labs and kitchens,” said Karen McDonald, chair of hospitality and culinary arts at RRC.
Earlier this year, Red River College received over $1 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation – a grant that will allow the college to convert the eleventh floor of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute into its first-ever culinary research centre.
The centre will feature a fully equipped commercial kitchen, a modular-style kitchen for project-specific equipment, a specialized food photography room, an analytical and culturing lab, and a client collaboration and focus group space.
The Research and Food Innovation Kitchen will be a project and client-focused institute, allowing for the College’s Culinary Arts program to take on more clients around the city, said McDonald. She also said it will also allow students to research new methods of cooking, and how to bring these methods to everyday kitchens.
According to McDonald, the opportunities available to students may involve projects like recipe development and discovering new uses for ingredients found here in Manitoba.
“A lot of the work the research team is doing is on crops that are growing in Manitoba, and finding ways to use them in more mainstream menus. We already do a little bit of that, for example with canola – but this just takes it to another level,” said McDonald.
There may also be select opportunities for students who aren’t in the culinary arts program to use the new research centre. Because of the rising interest in food photography, the centre will also include a specialized food photography area, which will allow all creative arts students to learn how to properly photograph food.
“The research kitchen will be a really fun collaborative space for students to come work, volunteer, learn, and get access to different equipment,” said Joel Lamoureux, the research manager overseeing the new kitchen.
According to Lamoureux, the research centre will give culinary students a chance to lead projects with local clients, like Granny’s Poultry.
Lamoureux said he believes that the research kitchen being a Red River College facility is a big benefit.
“We can apply for different grants, so that’s what gives us kind of an edge compared to different food centres,” he said.
The 4500-square-foot research kitchen is scheduled to be completed in June 2019.