Innovation in Action, February 2013
University of Guelph’s research and culinary community rolled out the red carpet for Chefs Mark Filatow, Charles Part and Jennifer Warren Part and culinary entrepreneur, Alex Cruz, all Gold and Silver Innovation Award winners.
Few universities can claim such a deep commitment to shopping from their own foodsheds but U of G Hospitality Services has taken it a step further. It is also one of the cornerstones of the Elmira Produce Auction, a Mennonite-run wholesale market that links farmers directly with their end users, namely the students at the University of Guelph. Local produce has become such an integral part of the on-campus foodservice that food preservation has become a way of life throughout the summer when buyer Mark Kenny (a.k.a. 100 Mile Mark) heads to market two and three times a week. Walk-in freezers are chock full of everything from local asparagus to peppers. He’s pictured at the right with one of the many palettes of veggies last summer.
Across campus there were lessons in plant breeding with Peter Pauls, the Chair of Crop Science. The question? What IS hybridization? Then the Barcode of Life Project was unveiled and is, as one chef recounted, ‘life changing’. Canada is at the very centre of the International Barcode of Life project that is compiling and cataloguing the DNA of life on earth. On most recent and practical terms, these scientists are experts in food fraud.
Dr. Art Hill, Chair of the Department of Food Science and one of Canada’s cheese specialists opened the doors to his pilot plant.
Potato breeder Vanessa Currie (at the right) liberated some of her secret stash of last year’s spuds for a tasting that included the ancient Lumper potato, the sexy Purple Majesty and a whack of numbered varieties that could be part of our food future.
The largest Canadian cookbook collection on the planet is housed at the McLaughlin Library. These agricultural and culinary archives are second to none and form the backbone of the University. They are also a very real testament to the men and women who, for centuries, have built Canada’s food culture.
Food Day Canada and the University of Guelph’s unique collaboration will continue over the coming years, more chefs will be welcomed to campus and more dreams will be shared.
Other citations for Innovation will be presented later this year from coast to coast.