By: Helena Shlapak
George Brown College’s culinary program is giving to students in need in an effort to reduce wasted food.
Culinary students at the downtown college whip up fresh food daily, serving up several courses that serve four people, including desert. After one recipe is graded by the professor, the students are left with three portions to take home but that often wasn’t what happened.
The amount of food waste appalled George Brown professor and chef, Jason Inniss, and he decided to take action by donating the unused food to the college’s food bank. This partnership with George Brown’s student association began in May 2016 and has since served over 1,600 meals to hungry students.
With that in mind, Humber News spoke to the Associate Dean of the School of Hospitality and Tourism, Rudi Fischbacher about what Humber does with the department’s food.
“Our food goes to Gourmet Express so it’s made and sold to the public,” said Fischbacher. “We don’t throw away the food or anything like that. When the food is produced in the practical lab, one portion goes to the student and the other to Express for sale.”
Fischbacher said that the food sold at Gourmet Express helps fund the culinary program and even helps contribute to scholarships.
The problem at George Brown was that culinary students weren’t taking their portion home. When asked about this, Fischbacher laughed and said, “I haven’t met a student yet that hasn’t been hungry. We haven’t had any experience of students throwing food away, they’re consuming it as their own lunch or dinner.”
Fischbacher said that hardly any food is wasted as the culinary students utilize the food at different stages. Deboned chicken will be both cooked for class or for the Humber Room restaurant and peelings will be used for compost.
“We’re very, very careful and we’re well aware of sustainability,” said Fischbacher.
Since Humber College no longer has a food bank, it isn’t possible for the culinary program to do what George Brown is doing but even so, Fischbacher said it just wasn’t feasible to give the food they cook away as it was a safety concern. Fischbacker said the food needs to be prepared and chilled properly and it’s not worth the risk. However, this doesn’t mean that Humber doesn’t give back.
“We go out to the Toronto food bank and we go to their location and cook meals,” said Fischbacher. “It’s freshly cooked, it’s done by students and faculty. We give back in a different way.”