From field to fork

Durham College’s Centre for Food will bring local produce to life

From sketches and plans to vision and reality, the first two phases of Durham College’s Whitby campus project are complete and now it’s time for Phase 3.

On December 1, the college hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for the final phase of the project, celebrating the beginning of the new Centre for Food which is designed to accommodate approximately 900 students studying in culinary, hospitality, tourism, agricultural and horticulture programs.

“This project is all about partnerships,” said Durham College President Don Lovisa. “It’s about community building and the special relationships we create along the way that help us realize our vision.”

Lovisa was joined by Ajax-Pickering MPP Joe Dickson and Whitby Mayor Pat Perkins, who offered congratulatory remarks to the college; Ruth Lafarga, a campaign volunteer and Adam Bagi, a first-year Hospitality Management – Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism student who spoke about what the new centre means to them; to community and business partners; students; staff; and faculty.

The event saw an official apple tree-planting take place and offered guests the opportunity to sample food prepared and served by students in the college’s Culinary Skills and Hospitality Management – Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism programs. The menu was designed by the students and prepared using locally grown food.

Students in the Hospitality Management – Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism and Culinary Skills programs are currently using facilities at Maxwell Heights Secondary School and Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School to facilitate some of their learning and are eager to see the completion of the new building. One of the features of the new centre will be to provide live coverage of the kitchen staff as they work throughout the restaurant and in the hallways to showcase the work that goes into preparing each plate.

“This will make the student experience available to all those who come to enjoy the meals and allow them to see it prepared right in front of them,” said Bagi of the ability to broadcast his cooking experience. “It will allow customers to see all the preparation and lead-up before their food is so elegantly presented on a plate.”

The new 36,000-square-foot Centre for Food will feature state-of-the-art labs, classrooms and research and meeting spaces and offer a full-service green-certified teaching restaurant and lounge open to the public.         

The Centre for Food is scheduled to open in September 2013.