Research Partnerships and Innovation

Research Partnerships & Innovation

Culinary

Anna Borys wins CEM Co-op Student of the Year Award for placement with Prairie Research Kitchen

January 31, 2020

When Anna Borys signed up for the Culinary Arts program at Red River College’s School of Hospitality, she wasn’t sure where it would take her – she just knew she didn’t want to work in a restaurant.

“I went into culinary school knowing I didn’t want to work in food services,” she says. “But I didn’t know what else was out there.”

Having worked for her family’s glass business for 10 years before going back to school, Anna had developed a taste for the nine-to-five lifestyle – a schedule the fast-paced service industry doesn’t always allow.

This confusion about her future left her in a bit of a pickle, until she started her co-op work placement with RRC’s Culinary Research team, which operates out of the Prairie Research Kitchen on the 11th floor of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute (PGI). Anna credits her co-op placement with determining her career path.

Anna first encountered the Culinary Research team while cooking her way through Culinary School. The team would often pop up in her labs and classrooms – working with instructors and making presentations to students about the work they do with clients in the food development industry.

“When they told us they work on developing recipes and that they were looking for co-op students, I knew right away that’s what I wanted to do,” says Anna.

Now, after successfully completing her co-op placement, Anna has started working full-time with the Research team.

One of her first projects was working on a new consumer food product called Bump – a ground beef/plant protein blend aimed at the flexitarian market – with James Battershill from Juno Food Labs. Anna developed a delicious Bump kofta kebab recipe that’s a hit with the client (and everyone else who’s tasted it).

“Working on the Bump kofta is definitely a highlight for me,” says Anna. “It’s one of the first recipes I worked on, and the client now uses it as a sample. It’s quick, delicious, and shows how versatile the product is.”

Anna’s food photography highlights a pie whipped up in the Prairie Research Kitchen

An avid photographer, Anna started an Instagram account to document what two years of the RRC Culinary Arts program is like. She says one of the most rewarding aspects of her co-op is taking food photos for clients like James, who often end up using them for their own marketing purposes.

Anna’s hard work is now being rewarded, as she was recently named the Co-operative Education Manitoba (CEM) Co-op Student of the Year Award for 2019.

“This award shows how important this industry is,” she says. “It’s up and coming. The Culinary Research program is pretty new at Red River College, so this recognition is huge for the research program.”

She’s also no stranger to winning awards – Anna took home the second-place prize at last year’s Applied Research & Innovation Day for her soy-free tempeh project, which she developed alongside the Culinary Research team. She’ll also graduate at the top of her class at next week’s convocation ceremony and is preparing to apply for the National Co-Op Student Award.

Anna at Applied Research & Innovation Day 2019

Despite her success, Anna is quick to credit the amazing team she worked with for helping her get where she is.

“I really don’t feel like this is my award,” she says. “It’s our award. This wouldn’t have happened without Mavis, Heather, and Kyle from Culinary Research – this showcases our teamwork. I don’t want to take credit, it’s our credit.”

Now her co-op experience has come full circle, as she’s helping to mentor the next wave of Culinary Arts students who are working in the Prairie Research Kitchen. She continues to be an advocate of the co-op process and shares her experience regularly with students.

“The co-op program is the reason for my career path,” she says. “This award, my success – this all has to do with my co-op and working with Culinary Research.”

Prairie Research Kitchen featured in the Winnipeg Free Press

January 15, 2020

Red River College’s new Prairie Research Kitchen was featured in the Winnipeg Free Press with a full-page spread and interviews with research professionals Mavis McRae and Heather Hill.

The article highlighted the Kitchen’s modern, beautiful workspace and the innovative work our research chefs and scientists are doing alongside Culinary Arts instructors and students, with clients from across Manitoba.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“Complete with a board room with an amazing view for tasting and focus groups, Mavis McRae, the research professional for culinary research & innovation and head of the lab, said culinary arts students will get a whole new training opportunity in the science of food that was not previously available.

Already the lab is working on about 10 projects at a time with new a couple of new ones being pitched every week by industry partners and research scientists.”

Please click here to read the full article.

Prairie Fava: Small business with a big idea wins big at the Manitoba Business Awards

November 21, 2019

Like many big ideas, Prairie Fava started with a seed.

In this case however, it was a whole seed farm.

Hailey and Cale Jefferies

Hailey and Cale Jefferies are two self-described “entrepreneurial spirits” who moved back to rural Manitoba after going to university in Ontario. Cale’s family business was calling – having grown up on a fifth-generation seed farm in Glenboro, Manitoba, he made the choice to take over Jefferies Seeds.

But the seed to start their own business was officially planted when Hailey’s mom was diagnosed with cancer.

“My mom’s sickness really inspired my passion for health,” says Hailey. “My husband was selling fava seeds to farmers, but there was no market to sell it to. I saw lots of opportunity with fava and took it upon myself to leverage my passion for sales with making food healthier.”

Fava flour, flakes and grit can be used as ingredients in new and current food products to enhance the fibre and protein content. Fava flour is a gluten-free alternative that can be used in baking and conventional recipes. Combining pulse flours with grain flour creates a complete protein source, as the amino acid profiles are complementary. Rice flour is often used as a gluten-free alternative, though the protein quotient isn’t as high as in fava.

Prairie Fava operates out of Jefferies Seeds and the businesses work well with each other; as more fava beans are sold to farmers, that means there are more fava beans to process – and better nutrition in our food.

While starting their own business was a natural fit, Hailey says that being a small start-up meant they didn’t have the time or resources to dedicate to trial and error and market research. The duo co-founded Prairie Fava in 2015 and started officially processing fava beans two years later. After connecting with Red River College’s Culinary Research team – now known as the Prairie Research Kitchen – Prairie Fava soon got to work conducting basic research on their fava flour.

And the seed that first inspired their business has now blossomed into an award-winning company: Prairie Fava was recently awarded the Start-Up of the Year Award at the 2019 Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Business Awards.

Hailey Jefferies is presented with the Start-up of the Year Award at the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Business Awards

“RRC was the first to bring a chef’s perspective and experience to applied research,” says Hailey. “The input of a chef has expediated our product development and provided us with valuable information as to the direction we should take in R&D. Our product development has been strengthened by the connection of culinary and food sciences that RRC provides.”

One of the first projects Prairie Fava and the Prairie Research Kitchen worked on together was a fava flour crouton. They initially started testing with whole beans and flour, which wasn’t really working at first. It was a trial and error period of finding fava’s strengths.

Eventually they got to work on muffins and cookies – beloved family recipes, revamped with a healthy, fava-infused twist. Hailey says she took some samples home to family for a blind taste test, and that everyone picked the cookie with 50% fava as their favourite.

Hailey Jefferies speaks at the grand opening of the Prairie Research Kitchen, as RRC Interim President Darin Brecht and Minister of Economic Development and Training Ralph Eichler look on.
Photo by Jason Halstead

 

 

With the help of the Prairie Research Kitchen, Prairie Fava was able to demonstrate that fava doesn’t compromise flavour and has the added benefit of injecting an alternative form of protein to new and existing recipes.

“I can’t emphasize enough how valuable Red River College is for a company like ours,” says Hailey. “They have provided access to College-specific expertise and funding ​that has helped propel our company into the market. We have appreciated being able to leverage the creative talents of RRC students to do market research, recipe development and great food photography. We have not been able find this kind of diverse food research elsewhere on a limited R&D budget.”

So what’s next for Prairie Fava?

“We are very excited to report that we anticipate the launch of a fava-based ‘better for you’ product into the consumer market in 2020,” says Hailey. “With the new Prairie Research Kitchen officially open, we can’t wait to do even more with RRC on a different scale. They’ve been an integral part of our growth.”

To learn more about Prairie Fava, please visit their website.

Want to know how to cook with fava? Check out some of our delicious recipes:

Tortillas

 

 

 

 

 

Crepes

 

 

 

 

 

Spaetzle

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Fried Chicken

 

 

 

 

 

Pork Schnitzel

 

 

 

 

 

Tempura

Culinary Research produces perfect pies for charity auction

October 21, 2019

The Culinary Research team revealed some of the culinary delights concocted in the brand new Prairie Research Kitchen at Food & Beverage Manitoba’s Industry Excellence Awards on October 9th. In collaboration with RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts and Richardson Food & Ingredients, the team created three pies that were donated to a charity auction that raised funds for Cancer Society programs in Manitoba.

The CRI team worked alongside RRC Chef Instructors Gordon Bailey, Kim Cooke, and Lylah Erkau to create the “Pie-O-Dome,” a true piece of art that showcased the skills of the RRC culinary crew. A sugar-crusted almond nougatine pie with organic dark chocolate ganache and Grand Marnier spiked coffee, this showstopper was encased in an airbrushed compressed sugar dome to provide the lucky bidder with an additional delicious (and mysterious!) surprise when shattered. Unsurprisingly, the Pie-O-Dome was a popular item during the auction and was snatched up by a very lucky bidder.

In addition to the Pie-O-Dome, the team whipped up two other pies, including the “Key to Success Lime Pie,” a picture-perfect example of the skills being taught to the next generation of chefs and bakers at RRC’s Culinary Arts and Professional Baking programs. This decadent key lime cheesecake was surrounded by a buttery graham crust and garnished with a pillowy crème Chantilly and fresh sliced limes.

RRC partnered with Richardson Food & Ingredients on the “Co-Pie-Lot Collaboration Pie,” a gluten-free sensation inspired by a classic German Chocolate cake. This partnership pie combined fudgy creamy chocolate filling with a rich and flavourful coconut pecan custard. All this deliciousness rested on a gluten-free oat flour crust made with Richardson gluten-free oats and canola pastry shortening.

Take a look at the creation of the pies in the gallery below:

A recipe for success: federal funding turns up the heat for Culinary Research & Innovation

June 13, 2019

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced new federal funding this morning from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council’s (NSERC) College and Community Innovation (CCI) program that will spice up Red River College’s Culinary Research & Innovation (CRI) program.

The Technology Access Centre (TAC) grant will provide $1.75 million over five years, adding flavour to the program’s culinary research kitchen, a state-of-the-art facility set to open at the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute later this summer.

“This funding empowers our Culinary Research & Innovation area to expand their already rich and advanced program,” said Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC. “Our researchers have the opportunity to help fill the gap between idea and full scale-up food centres in Western Canada, and continue to support food companies by providing access to the vast resources of researchers, instructors and students at the College.

The Culinary Research TAC will be Red River College’s third Technology Access Centre, joining the existing Building Envelope Technology Access Centre (BETAC) and the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing (TACAM).

The Culinary Research TAC will provide culinary-focused food research to food manufacturing and food services businesses. RRC’s team of chefs and food scientists will work with industry partners, as well as RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts instructors and students, to provide unique chef-created product prototypes ready for scale-up and commercialization. Food processing is one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Manitoba.

Recent successes from CRI include a soy-free pea-based tempeh prototype, developed with recent Culinary Arts graduate Anna Borys using Manitoba plant-based proteins. The product won second place at the College’s third-annual Applied Research & Innovation Day.

Canada’s Technology Access Centres (TACs) are specialized applied research & development centres affiliated with publicly-funded colleges and cégeps. TACs are specialized applied research and development centres affiliated with Canadian colleges or cégeps. Learn more at tech-access.ca.

Fast Food: CRI co-op students dish up innovative apps at Ag Awareness Day

March 25, 2019

Peter Matkowski, CRI Research Coordinator Kyle Andreasen, and Anna Borys at Ag Awareness Day 2019

Culinary Arts and Culinary Research & Innovation (CRI) co-op students Anna Borys and Peter Matkowski showed off their chops at Ag Awareness Day on March 19th. While dozens of dignitaries, government officials and supporters filled the Golden Boy Dining Room at the Manitoba Legislative Building, students from both RRC and Assiniboine Community College were busy prepping their innovative appetizers to serve to guests following the program.

The Manitoba Provincial government has been celebrating Agriculture Awareness Day during the third week of March since 2005. The event promotes greater awareness of the contributions agriculture makes to this province and the industry’s role as a key driver of the Manitoba economy.

To add a dash of spice to this year’s event, culinary students were invited to compete in a protein-based appetizer challenge. Each of the four students were tasked with preparing a creative animal or plant protein-based snack, featuring either peas or bison.

 

Anna Borys dished up yellow pea tempeh chorizo tacos, while Peter Matkowski served bison bratwurst with braised cabbage, pickled blueberries and fermented mustard. While both dishes were flying off the table faster than the students could dish them up, it was Peter Matkowski’s bison bratwurst that was ultimately crowned most innovative at the friendly competition. The students’ efforts proved there’s plenty of room for creativity and flavour in value-added protein products in Manitoba.

Anna Borys’s yellow pea tempeh chorizo taco with roasted corn cilantro salsa and lime crema

Peter Matkowski’s bison bratwurst with braised cabbage, pickled blueberries, and fermented mustard

Culinary Research & Innovation: Cooking up Solutions

January 29, 2019

Culinary Research & Innovation (CRI) may be relatively new to Red River College, but the program has accomplished a lot in a short timeframe. CRI has created or improved more than 95 new products, processes, and ingredient applications for 40 companies, thanks to the work of research chefs, food scientists, and culinary students.

With the new research kitchen set to open in June 2019, there will be new opportunities for students, instructors and companies to participate in this exciting program.

Don’t just take our word for it – listen to what others are saying about CRI!

 

Student opportunities for part-time work (around your academic schedule) can be found here: jobcentral.rrc.ca. New positions will be posted at the beginning of each term, so check back frequently.

Companies can get more information about the program here or by contacting Mavis McRae at mmcrae30@rrc.ca or 204-632-3993.

Insights and Trends in the Healthy Food Sector: a talk with Dr. David Hughes

November 26, 2018

Red River College, in partnership with Bioscience Association Manitoba, is pleased to welcome Dr. David Hughes, international speaker on global food and drink industry issues, to the Prairie Lights Dining Room on Monday, Dec. 3rd for a talk on “Insights and Trends in the Healthy Food Sector.” The event is free and all are welcome.

  • Date: Monday, Dec. 3rd, 2018
  • Time: registration is at 9am, session begins at 9:30am
  • Location: Prairie Lights Dining Room, Notre Dame Campus
  • Please register in advance at: biomb.ca.

Light refreshments will be served.

From Bioscience Association Manitoba:

Professor David Hughes is an Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, and a Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, U.K. He is a much sought-after speaker at international conferences and seminars on global food industry issues, particularly consumer and retail trends. David has lived and worked in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia and has extensive experience as an international advisory board member with food companies and financial service organizations on three continents.

For 20 years, he was a Non-Executive Director of Berry Gardens Ltd – a U.K. farmer-owned berry fruit business (£230 million turnover in 2015). With his American business partner, David established, grew and sold a branded fresh produce business which served supermarkets in the USA. Around the globe, he works with food and beverage supply chain companies – including farm input, growers, manufacturers and ingredient companies, retailers and food service firms – to assist them in management training, strategy and Board level decision-making. David’s views are frequently sought by TV, radio and the printed press.

PARKING INFORMATION

If you are entering through the main entrance by the bus loop:

  • Please go down to the Mall level,
  • Proceed through the hallway on your right,
  • Prairie Lights Restaurant is located on your right, next to Tim Horton’s in the Mall Level.

If you are entering through any other entrances:

  • Please head to the Mall level
  • Look for the Tim Horton’s (Prairie Lights is adjacent to it.)

Cooking up a bright future for Culinary Research and Innovation

July 27, 2018

Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director, Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College (RRC), Ian Seymour, Board Director, CFI, Paul Vogt, President and CEO, Red River College, Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, Sue Leclair, President and CEO of The Pretzel Place and RRC alumni, Doug Eyolfson, Member of Parliament for CharleswoodÑSt. JamesÑAssiniboiaÑHeadingly, and Rick Tofani, Director, Applied Research and Innovation Services, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology are photographed after an announcement of a total federal investment of $10,678,322 in research infrastructure funding for recipients awarded in the latest round of the Canada Foundation for InnovationÕs (CFI) College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) competition at Red River College in Winnipeg, Wednesday, January 18, 2012. The funding will support 11 projects at 11 different colleges/polytechnics across Canada. Canadian Press Images/John Woods

On Wednesday, Science and Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan stopped by Jane’s restaurant to announce a total federal investment of over $10 million in research infrastructure funding for recipients awarded in the latest round of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) competition.

Red River College was one of eleven successful colleges and polytechnics across Canada, and now thanks to the CFI’s investment of more than $1 million, construction is underway to build the College’s first-ever multi-functional culinary research centre. Read More →

Adding to the pulse of Culinary Research and Innovation: introducing Heather Hill

July 18, 2018

Bringing more than 10 years of experience in the agri-food industry, Heather Hill has joined Red River College’s Culinary Research and Innovation team for a six-month term as a Research Manager.

Peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas – collectively termed pulses, are what Heather brings to the table in terms of expertise in food development research. She has worked in partnership with agri-food companies and organizations from Beijing, Switzerland, Morocco, Minneapolis, Steinbach and Portage la Prairie – from large multi-national corporations, to farmers looking to add more value to their crops, and everything in between.

With a Master’s of Science degree in food science, and a background in value-added ingredient development, Heather brings a bold new perspective to the team. She loves being presented with a challenge and providing practical solutions to overcome an issue. In her new role here in Culinary Research and Innovation, Heather will be providing a science-based approach to help with the applied research activities of the department. Read More →