Culinary Research and Innovation

Prairie Research Kitchen


Our research chefs and food scientists bring all their expertise in food trends, consumer demands, cooking styles and methods to the table. Their insights can provide you with greater long-term competitive advantages—and a higher probability of market success.

Culinary Arts

Our research chefs bring a unique point of view to the food processing and service industries. With extensive experience in culinary techniques and flavour profiles, our researchers strive to provide great-tasting solutions that meet clients’ needs. If you are interested in showcasing an ingredient or have a product concept in mind, our chefs can help make your product ideas a reality. The Prairie Research Kitchen is embedded in the School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, allowing researchers and students to access chef and hospitality instructors to bring their extensive experience to the project.

Food Science

Our expertise in food science blended with culinary arts provides us with a powerful approach to challenges from the food industry. With a knowledge of food systems, scientific methods and food safety, our food scientists elevate project results to bring feasible solutions to your innovation challenges. The scientific stream of Prairie Research Kitchen also focuses on clinical trials, plant bioactive research, and plant protein research.

Business and Marketing

Ideas and prototyping are the first layer in a long commercialization funnel. As ideas form at the top of the funnel, a larger business community is there to connect the company to resources they need – from scale-up, co-packing, investment, marketing, to product launch.

The Prairie Research Kitchen, as part of RRC Polytech, is connected to these resources and is an active and respected part of the innovation community. Instructors and students throughout the College can bring skills in manufacturing, IT, marketing, and graphic design, and have partnerships with incubators, investors, business leaders and government.

A food company’s first step with the Prairie Research Kitchen opens the door to a network of resources motivated to see the idea reach its full potential as a new company or product line. This economic growth benefits our students and our communities.

Student Workforce

Prairie Research Kitchen strives to train the next generation of culinary professionals and food developers by putting them to work on your research project.

From student-led recipe development and testing to technology diffusion support, our students can be a mutually beneficial solution to support your project.


“I was extremely impressed with the chef’s culinary expertise and ability to work technically on process development. We were able to develop a rapport immediately and communicate effectively to meet project goals. I look forward to working with the group again.”
Kelly Henderson, Product Development Manager, Richardson Milling Limited

Our Experts

Prairie Research Kitchen’s team bring the best of the both culinary arts and food science skillsets to the table. Our collaborative team blends their expertise to find innovative solutions to industry challenges.

Mavis McRae, Prairie Research Kitchen Director

Mavis has led the development of RRC Polytech’s Culinary Research program since 2014. With a 25-year career in food product development and project management, Mavis’ connections to the Western food and agriculture stakeholders are important in creating successful collaborations.

Her background in food science and entrepreneurship helps new clients navigate through the commercialization process, creating links to other valuable technical and business resources in the community.

Heather Hill, Research Manager

Heather has been involved in food product development for over a decade, with a focus on value-added pulse ingredients. She has completed multi-year projects funded through industry partnerships with the Canadian federal government and with several agri-food companies and organizations.

Heather holds a Masters of Science Degree in food chemistry and product development, which will help shape the science program around clinical trials, cannabis research, and plant protein research.

Kyle Andreasen, Research Coordinator

Kyle joined the team in 2018 after a successful 10-year restaurant industry career. While in industry, he worked on new food service menu items such as a vegetarian sausage for an Ottawa restaurant.

Kyle works on applied research and product development with local food manufacturing and food service companies, providing a culinary perspective to food service questions and challenges.

He’s passionate about developing recipes, troubleshooting existing products, and coming up with brand new ways to utilize ingredients.

Anna Borys, Research Assistant

Anna started working at the Prairie Research Kitchen through a co-op work placement, and now she supports food producers to come up with innovative solutions as a full-time Research Assistant.

She graduated from RRC Polytech’s culinary program in 2020, when she won the Co-operative Education Manitoba (CEM) Co-op Student of the Year Award and the Culinary Arts Gold Medal.

With a background in photography, Anna uses her skills to elevate Prairie Research Kitchen’s food styling and photography services and coach students working on these projects.

Roxanne Kent, Research Assistant

Roxanne began working with the Prairie Research Kitchen (PRK) while doing her second co-operative work placement through Culinary Arts. She now works as part of the PRK team as the Indigenous Research Assistant using her acquired culinary skills to support product development projects.

She graduated from Culinary Arts in 2021 with honours. She has won various awards while in school, including one for a recipe created for Manitoba Pork Producers.

She obtained her social work degree in 2015. By using the skills she gained from her social work degree and culinary arts diploma, one of her long-term goals is to work with low-income families and teach them how to cook nutritious meals. She likes the challenges of creating and developing new recipes and finds it rewarding to be able to apply what she has learned in her craft.

Roxanne is Ojibway and is from the Wabaseemoong Independent Nations in northwestern, Ontario.

Branden Wyryha, Research Technician

Branden began working at the Prairie Research Kitchen in 2021 as a Research Technician. He previously worked at RRC Polytech as an Educational Assistant in the Life Sciences department.

Branden graduated from RRC Polytech’s Chemical and Bioscience Technology Co-op program in 2014 and later obtained his B.Sc. from the University of Winnipeg. He comes to PRK with over five years of experience working in a variety of government and commercial laboratories. His experience with laboratory equipment, laboratory safety, and execution of research projects is a valuable addition to our growing team.

Jamie Chahine, Indigenous Research Liaison

Jamie Chahine joined the Prairie Research Kitchen in 2021. She has worked to develop Indigenous advancement opportunities and deliver supports and post-secondary education services for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students at RRC Polytech since 2010. Her experience working with student, community, industry, and College stakeholders, combined with over 15 years of experience in business finance and administration, enables Indigenous students and clients to engage with our research team to achieve their food business goals.

Jamie is committed to help increase Indigenous participation and innovation opportunities in the food industry by connecting clients with our research team.

Jamie is Métis from Winnipeg and is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies.

Judy Quistberg, Administrative Assistant

Judy joined the Prairie Research Kitchen in 2019 as our administrative assistant.

With more than 30 years of experience in public sector industries, Judy has a proven track record of dependability, motivation and honesty. She has a strong ability to streamline processes, maximize efficiency, and foster professional relationships within organizations.

Judy’s philosophy centres around what role she can play in helping others find solutions.

RRC Polytech campuses are located on the lands of Anishinaabe, Ininiwak, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dené, and the National Homeland of the Red River Métis.

We recognize and honour Treaty 3 Territory Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, the source of Winnipeg’s clean drinking water. In addition, we acknowledge Treaty Territories which provide us with access to electricity we use in both our personal and professional lives.

Learn more ›