Culinary class spreads word about canola

Culinary arts | Future chefs cook gourmet meals with a homegrown ingredient

BRANDON — Making and eating gourmet food in a gorgeous setting is a good way to make somebody feel good about canola and canola growers.

That’s part of the thinking behind the Manitoba Canola Growers Association’s sponsorship of the culinary arts program at Assiniboine Community College, which provides the school with a demonstration kitchen and lecture theatre.

It also provides a setting for the association to reach out to professional cooks of the future, people who are interested in food and people who don’t know much about where things like canola come from.

“It’s been a wonderful venue, and I think the school is pretty proud of it,” said Ellen Pruden, the canola grower association’s education and promotion manager, after leading a group of foodies, cooks, farmers, food writers and journalists through an evening at the school’s Grey Owl restaurant.

“We bring people together to talk about food and farm,” she said.

“People really connect and relate, and people change. It goes to their heart, and food is really about heart and soul.”

It’s difficult to make a reservation at the Grey Owl restaurant, which is in the oak-panelled interior of Brandon’s former hospital overlooking the Assiniboine River Valley.

Students in the culinary arts program prepare and serve some of the most complex food found in Manitoba.

Pruden said supporting the culinary school has been a good way for the association to promote the cooking and nutritional values of canola oil and to connect small groups of people to farmers and agriculture.

“We just want to connect people around farm and food,” she said.

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