Traditionally, harvest time is a time for community celebration. That was certainly the case at Durham College (DC) on September 22 as students, faculty and more than 130 community members came together for the second annual Harvest Dinner in celebration of the amazing work being done at the college’s Centre for Food (CFF) at the Whitby campus.
The sold-out event brought DC’s field-to-fork vision to life and marked the culmination of countless hours spent in the fields, labs, classrooms and kitchens as students and faculty from the culinary, horticulture, hospitality and events programs worked side-by-side to plan and execute an evening that guests won’t soon forget.
“Watching our students in action at all stages of the planning and execution of this event filled me with immense pride,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “The Harvest Dinner is both an incredible opportunity and an immense undertaking for everyone at the CFF and I want to extend my sincere thanks to everyone, and our students and employees in particular, who helped make the evening a resounding success.”
CFF ambassador and celebrity chef Jamie Kennedy was also in attendance to show his support and greet guests. The multi-course, family-style meal was served under the stars, surrounded by the CFF’s fields and greenhouses, and featured recipes inspired by and featuring food planted, picked and prepared by DC students.
“It’s extremely meaningful to have so many members of the community joining us tonight to celebrate our students’ achievements,” said Kevin Baker, dean, CFF. “Tonight’s dinner embodies what field-to-fork is all about and this experience of working together to put it into action is one our students will draw on throughout their careers.”
The evening’s delicacies started with sweet corn cakes with cranberry caviar, and baba ghanouj served on a beet chip passed during the cocktail hour. Next, the meal was presented in three rounds that featured a wide range of flavours and ingredients, including a pickled-and-cured platter of vegetables and venison-pork salami; pan-seared trout with lemon geranium and chili; a Caprese salad made with DC-produced mozzarella; smoked Ontario turkey with braised fennel and cranberries; and roasted Ontario pork loin with red cabbage and apples, among numerous other dishes.
“To be in the gardens harvesting produce this morning and then see our guests enjoying the fruits of that labour this evening is a special experience,” said Ryan Cullen, a second-year student in the Horticulture – Food and Farming program and student governor with the college. “It’s wonderful to see all the programs working together and students applying what we’re learning to one convivial harvest experience.”
Anyone who missed out on the Harvest Dinner is still in luck. CFF produce and other local ingredients will continue to inspire the dishes being served at Bistro ’67, the CFF’s full-service, teaching-inspired restaurant, which recently received a prestigious Feast ON designation for its use and support of locally sourced products. Garden Fresh Wednesdays will continue at Bistro ’67 until the end of November and upcoming Jamie Kennedy Thursdays special dining experiences are scheduled for Thursday, November 17 and Thursday, December 15. There will also be a celebration of Bistro ‘67’s new Feast ON designation with a 100-mile dinner on Thursday, October 20. Food lovers can also enjoy pre-packaged meals and daily lunch specials from Pantry, the CFF’s unique retail store for student-created goods, or expand their own culinary skills and knowledge through the CFF’s cooking experience classes and demonstrations.
For more information, visit www.durhamcollege.ca/cff.