Kristin Atwood wins first Durham College Gold Medal Award

Durham College (DC) culinary student, Kristin Atwood will fly to Calabria, Italy for a week this June to participate in the Italian Culinary Exploration program at the Italian Culinary Institute.  This incredible experience is courtesy of the new Durham College (DC) Gold Medal Award, which Atwood was recently awarded in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the Culinary Management program at the Centre for Food (CFF).

The Gold Medal Award, an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy to study at the institute, is offered by the college’s leadership team. All students studying in the Culinary Management program are eligible to apply with the award  presented to a student who demonstrates excellence in attendance, volunteerism, professionalism, attitude and academic standing throughout their time at DC.

“Kristin is an exemplary student with a positive attitude and strong work ethic,” said David Hawey, professor of the culinary programs at the CFF. “Not only has she gone above and beyond in her own achievements, she has provided support through volunteerism and mentoring for her fellow classmates as well. She is an absolute joy, and we couldn’t be more pleased to present her with this award.”

Hawey, who will accompany Atwood to Italy, added that the Italian Culinary Institute was chosen as the preferred school because its philosophies align with and complement DC’s field-to-fork vision.

Among her many accomplishments, Atwood has interned at Momofuku Daisho in Toronto and  shown an interest in product development, creating recipes for nut-free macarons and low carbohydrate protein bars at her current place of employment, Frantastic Events in Whitby, Ont. She has also represented DC at numerous events both on and-off of campus including the first-ever Harvest Dinner held at the CFF last fall and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. In addition, she helped with preparation and service and spoke on behalf of the college at the 2016 Summit on Talent and Skills in the New Economy, which was held at the college’s Oshawa campus in January and attended by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.

“I’ve been working in restaurants and bakeries since I was 16, and my time at Durham College was so valuable in helping develop my skills and learn more about the industry,” said Atwood. “I feel very lucky to be able to do what I love every day, and I am so excited for this opportunity to visit the Italian Culinary Institute and learn even more.”

Ironically, Atwood’s post-secondary education didn’t start in the kitchen. While studying English literature at university, she worked at restaurants and bakeries to help offset the cost of her tuition. It was that work that stirred her passion for food. After graduation, she was offered a post-graduate opportunity at the University of Oxford in Oxford, England for creative writing. While overseas, her kitchen experience landed her a job working under Chef Kristin Frederick of Le Camion Qui Fume – a high-end food truck in Paris, France – and her career path forever changed.

“It was while working in Paris that I realized without formal culinary training certain doors in the industry would always remain closed to me,” said Atwood. “So I returned to school for a second time, choosing Durham College because of its excellent reputation in culinary arts. I knew after graduating from DC, those doors would begin to open.”

As she prepares to graduate this June, Atwood has already launched – a culinary and travel online magazine that shares tips, tricks and recipes as well as stunning food photos guaranteed to make your mouth water. She is also in the process of developing a French version of the site.

“We are so pleased that Kristin chose Durham College to sharpen her skills and gain a competitive edge in the culinary industry,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “She has been a shining star in her program and will no doubt find success in all her endeavours. We are thrilled to present her with the first Gold Medal Award, and look forward to following this talented young woman in her new and exciting adventures.”

The Culinary Management program provides students with an opportunity to master the art of food and flavour. This includes exploring the possibilities of locally grown food, experimenting with ethnic and contemporary cuisine and developing abilities in the culinary arts. In addition, students learn valuable management skills to take their career to the next level. To learn more, please visit