DC students’ field-to-fork “Five-Mile Burger” is tops at Taste Canada competition

A burger, and the story behind it, won the day for Durham College (DC) students at a national competition this month.

Culinary Management students Victoria Rinsma and Jonathan Soligo, and Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts student Kristin Atwood competed against their peers from other colleges in the Taste Canada Cooks the Books competition at the 2016 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto on November 12.

With competitors tasked with preparing dishes provided by Taste Canada cookbook authors, the DC team took on Barry C. Parsons’ recipe for a peanut butter sriracha bacon cheeseburger from his cookbook Rock Recipes 2. Not only was their recipe creative and delicious, but the story behind the dish provided the extra dash of local flair the students needed to win the title of Best New Student Chefs.

“Since starting at DC, I have really found a love and passion for locally-sourced food as well as growing your own ingredients. So being able to promote and showcase those things at the competition was great,” said Rinsma.

“We applied our field-to-fork philosophy in making the burger, as we do with everything at DC’s W. Galen Weston Centre for Food (CFF),” said proud coach Peter Lee, professor and program coordinator of the Culinary Programs at the CFF in Whitby.

In their presentation of the burger to competition judges, the DC students described where each locally-sourced ingredient came from, inspiring Parsons to dub it “the Five-Mile Burger”.

Many of the key ingredients such as onions, peppers, zucchini and the student-prepared relish came from the CFF gardens. The star ingredient, a triple-A sirloin, came from the CFF’s Advanced Butchery lab. The bacon was made pancetta-style and double-smoked by the students to make the pan-seared burger double delicious. No ordinary bun would do for this creation. So a recipe from DC’s Advanced Baking and Pastry Arts post-graduate program for a special brioche bun served as the proverbial icing on the cake.

The competition also required students to create a signature garnish featuring canola oil in honour of event sponsor the Canola Council of Canada. In keeping with DC’s field-to-fork vision, the team also made beer-battered onion rings with an onion from the CFF garden and a blonde ale beer from Whitby’s own Brock Street Brewing Company. The rings were cooked in canola oil and served with spicy sesame aioli sauce made from canola as well.

If the description of the students’ burger and onion rings is making you hungry, Lee says Bistro ’67, DC’s full-service teaching-inspired restaurant inside the CFF, may feature it on the menu in the new year. So start lining up now!