Durham College brings delicious treats to Queen’s Park

Students and faculty members recently showcased their culinary mastery at College Day at Queen’s Park.

Representatives from Durham College’s (DC) Faculty of Hospitality and Horticultural Science traveled to Toronto for Colleges Ontario’s annual showcase of the province’s post-secondary institutions. This year’s event focused on culinary innovation, and two of DC’s successful (and delicious) applied research projects were on display.

In collaboration with the Centre for Craft Brewing Innovation (CCBI), two Horticulture – Food and Farming students presented Lucky Farmer Honey Ginger Ale. Elliot Berthelet and Danielle Dowd developed the beer as part of their Artisan Product Development course.

“The beer emerged as a love letter to farmers and queer and women brewers everywhere,” explained Berthelet. “We wanted it to be a drinkable summer beer using local ingredients to reflect our own values and approaches to brewing.”

With that in mind, they used honey from the DC apiary and ginger from the greenhouse.

The beer was sampled by many at the event, including representatives from other colleges and members of provincial parliament, and it received rave reviews. But that’s not the only reason the event was rewarding for the students.

“It was a great experience. Getting to see what other schools get up to and the variety of research projects that are happening across the province was really interesting,” said Dowd.

In addition to the beer, the Culinary Management program’s champlain cheese was popular with hungry guests. The product of a happy accident, it was first created when students missed a step in the cheese-making process. The result was a hard, parmesan-style cheese that ages quickly and can be ready for market in two to three months. Parmesan can take as long as two years to be market ready, so the applications were obvious and exciting for David Hawey, professor and Culinary program coordinator.

“We turned it into a research project with a business partner in hopes they’d be able to produce it for sale,” he said.

It was a great day for showcasing some of the innovative work that’s being done at DC’s Whitby campus, according to Wendy Smith, Food and Farming professor and a research coordinator with the Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE).

“It was fantastic. We had lots of repeat customers.”