When you think of local food, processing ingredients from scratch and developing new recipes, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Did you envision cafeteria food in hospitals?
Most people don’t. The reality is that local food procurement and providing patients, staff, and visitors with “home-cooked” meals is often challenging for staff in public institutions because it takes more time. In an effort to mitigate these barriers, the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, George Brown College worked collaboratively with St. Michael’s Hospital to develop skill-based food and culinary education to help staff incorporate local food into recipe testing and development.
The curriculum included lunch-and-learn sessions and intensive culinary skills training sessions. A more intensive Culinary Skills Training Certificate program was developed, which provided staff with an understanding of the importance, benefits, and limitations to local foods, recipe development, ingredient substitutions, and seasonal use of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and salads.
The benefits of this joint initiative have not only contributed to changing the way staff at St. Michael’s source and cook food, but the initiative has also had a positive effect on staff morale. For example, prior to the training, SMH kitchen staff member, Catherine Burreci, was never comfortable with anything more than assembling sandwiches. By providing her with practical education, she has become an advocate and leader in the shift to accommodate more local products, which is ultimately at the core of creating institutional change.
To find a sample recipe developed by George Brown College for public sector foodservices, click here.
To find out more, take a look at these Green Papers: