November 07, 2012
The University of Guelph has appointed its first Food Laureate. Anita Stewart, an expert on food and Canadian cuisine, will serve as the University’s honorary food ambassador, providing advocacy and leadership and promoting initiatives. It’s believed to be the first such position in the world.
“This historic appointment is a significant step towards strengthening U of G’s reputation as ‘Canada’s food university,’” said president Alastair Summerlee. “We are known internationally as the place for food research, teaching and technology, but our contributions to the culinary life of Canada need to be more widely touted. Having a Food Laureate will allow the University to engage people across the country and strengthen our profile and support.”
Stewart founded Cuisine Canada to promote the growth and study of Canadian food culture. She was the first Canadian to earn a master of arts in gastronomy; has authored or co-authored 14 books on Canadian foods and wines that include many U of G examples; and appears regularly on CBC Radio. Besides consulting on Ontario’s culinary tourism strategy, she has worked frequently with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Canadian Tourism Commission and Ontario Ministry of Tourism. And of course, Stewart created Food Day Canada.
In 2012, she was appointed to the Order of Canada.
In accepting the honorary appointment, Stewart said: “My goal is to continue to explore how U of G has set our national and international tables with both talent and ingredients. And while I’m at it, I intend to recognize some very real culinary heroes whom all of Canada can celebrate.”
A longtime friend and supporter of the University, Stewart has helped U of G celebrate its own food history by creating a food inventory and preparing a special menu for the 125th anniversary of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) in 1999.She also helped U of G launch the Good Food Innovation Awards in 2010 to recognize restaurants showing culinary creativity with local ingredients. The College of Management and Economics (CME) awarded her an honorary degree in 2011. As Food Laureate, Stewart will promote U of G’s culinary contributions to Canada by refining the food inventory, developing public awareness campaigns, organizing events and strengthening connections between producers and consumers.
“We hope to promote the exchange of new ideas, innovations and information,” Summerlee said. During her two-year appointment, Stewart will report jointly to the deans of OAC and CME.
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