Official Liaison College Blog

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Chef de Cuisine at EPIC

Chef Amira is realizing her culinary dreams.  As the newly apppointed Chef de Cuisine for Epic (The Royal York's signature restaurant) her passion for culinary arts is in full swing.
* this photo was copied from the Food Revolution Photo Gallery *

Epic is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday Brunch.

Chef at the Taste Canada Gala

Recently Chef Amira showcased her talents at the Taste Canada culinary awards as she represented the Royal York both as an exhibitor at the gala and also as a finalist in the Hotel Cookery Competition at the Royal Winter Fair.

Here's a sampling of a brunch menu item - the brunch boasts an array of locally inspired cuisine paired with local libations:

Smoked Trout Eggs Benedict

Soft Poached Organic Eggs, Ontario Potato Latke,

Cured Lemon BĂ©arnaise                               

Origin: Blue Mountain, Ontario

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Canada Cooks the Books Awards

Taste Canada hosts the annual culinary book awards in conjunction with the Royal Winter Fair and every year, in celebration of Canadian Cuisine, culinary students from across Canada work with cookbook authors to compete on the culinary stage.

The competition is based on a recipe from a nominated cookbook and allows students the opportunity to work with authors to create a dish on stage in front of a live audience at the Fair.

This year Liaison College entered three teams into the competition and the team from Oakville under the supervision of Mark Duncan place third (behind the Stratford Chef School and Loyalist College).

here's the Chef's report:

Last Saturday, Mick Benest, Craig Winterburn, and Ben Kaschuba competed in the Canada Cooks the Books competition, sponsored annually by Taste Canada.

Here are a few photos from the competition.  Their plate, shown, is a Roasted Chevre and Beet Salad with Candied Ginger.  The salad portion consists of microgreens, which are pea shoots, corn flowers, baby beet shoots, as well as edible flower petals, sprinkled over the dish.

In one photo, you can see Martin Kouprie, the author of the Pangea Cookbook, with our boys.  It was his recipe they prepared during the competition.

The other folks, pictured with Craig and Mick, are the owners of the microgreen farm that graciously donated their products to the school to use in the competition

Congratulations to Team Oakville!  Well done

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Liaison College student to publish cookbook -- all about bologna!

Oakville Liaison College student Kevin Phillips is writing a cookbook.  It may be the definitive book on his favourite subject matter .... bologna.

Kevin is originally from Newfoundland where bologna is a staple in everyone's diet. It is something that he clearly remembers eating while growing up in the 1950s.

"Food was scarce, and bologna was always cheap," he recalls. "So my mom would make stuffed bologna, bologna rolls, bologna jerky. Really, bologna is a big part of old-style cooking in Newfoundland."

After a distinguished 33-year career with the Canadian Armed Forces, Kevin retired in 2011 to pursue his passion for cooking through Liaison College. Along the way, he realized that many of the old-style bologna recipes he'd grown up with, were being lost, from one generation to the next.  So he decided to find and compile all those recipes into a cookbook -- the first of its kind.

"My dad and I, we used to make bologna sandwiches," Kevin recently told The Globe and Mail newspaper. "We put a coleslaw dressing on it and we thought it was the greatest thing!"

Yes, Kevin knows that bologna tends to have a bad reputation in some circles for being a bit of a "mystery meat" and/or, unhealthy. He notes, however, that bologna is "delicious," and, like any other food, it is fine if eaten in moderation. And perhaps this is why his cookbook -- which will feature at least 365 recipes: one for every day of the year -- has found a publisher and is on track for publication in 2014.

"All my life, I've been interested in cooking," Kevin adds. "So when I retired, I wanted to learn about the science of cooking... and also get back to some cooking basics. My training, and now this cookbook, have allowed me to focus on both. I am very happy about that."

Kevin was interviewed recently on the CBC Radio. Have a listen ..... and enjoy the taste of The Rock.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Michael Smith Gets Help from Liaison College Barrie Students

Liaison College helps make evening with Chef Michael Smith a success!
When it comes to shucking and eating oysters, more than knowing what to season them with or how to slurp them back, the most important thing to remember is this: do not stab your hands with the blunt, oyster shucking knife.

Actually -- Chef Michael Smith told the culinary students assisting him recently with the MarchĂ©-style dinner that kicked off his “Muskoka Weekend with Chef Michael Smith” at Deerhurst Resort -- do not let the weekend’s guests stab themselves while shucking their own Prince Edward Island Malpeques.

“Let’s all be careful tonight and protect our guests,” Smith, Canada’s best-known chef and host of Chef Michael’s Kitchen on the Food Network, cautioned the Liaison College-Barrie Campus students, about an hour before the approximately 320 people who registered for his second annual epicurean getaway came in through the ballroom’s doors.

“Other than that, we’ll just wing it, because we really can’t mess this up,” he joked before giving the students a shucking demonstration and a primer on the oysters’ main condiment for the evening: a Bloody Mary granita.

It turned out that the PEI Oyster Station, with its cheeky, chalk-on-blackboard signs reading Go shuck yourself and Shuck, suck, slurp, swallow, was the star of the night. The other nine stations, serving gourmet poutine made with fingerling potatoes and Northern Ontario “Thornloe” cheese curds, handing out thick parsnip-and-pear soup “shooters”, and offering two-bite beef, lamb and turkey burgers, certainly had their traffic.

But the biggest draw was Smith who, decked in jeans and a casual dress shirt, greeted everyone who lined up to shuck their own oysters and posed and smiled for dozens of pictures, his 6’7’’ frame towering above the heads surrounding him. Over a three-hour period, he also helped a never-ending line of guests shuck what appeared to be hundreds of oysters.

“He is very real,” said Linda Duval, who along with her husband Gene, had travelled to Muskoka from the Caledon area. “I’ve always loved watching him on television and it’s great to see he’s just as personable when the cameras aren’t on.”

Peter and Lisa Thomson of the Niagara Region, taking in the weekend for a second year, were equally impressed. “We are having a great time!” Lisa enthused. “Everything is running very smoothly this year. The line-ups aren’t as long and the food is absolutely outstanding.”

The Thomsons, veterans of “culinary tourism” – which the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance says is one of the fastest trends growing in Ontario – were also delighted to have received earlier in the day a complimentary, and already signed, copy of Smith’s latest book, “Fast Flavours – 110 Simple Speedy Recipes.”

In addition to the guests, Smith also managed to charm his student assistants, who like him, worked hard all night to ensure no one lacked for anything.

“Earlier, he sat down with us to answer our questions and tell us what to expect in our careers,” said Nikke Jeffries, an Advanced Level culinary student with Liaison College. “It was very inspirational.”

Maureen Hanley, who manages operations for Smith, said he never misses an opportunity to mentor the next generation of chefs. “He’s very passionate about food education and food literacy. These things are very important to him.”

At one point during the night, Smith climbed on stage to declare everyone who had shucked and eaten an oyster, without shedding any blood, an “honourary Prince Edward Islander,” and warned that the evening was just a warm up.

“This weekend is anything but just about putting food on the plate,” he told his rapt audience. “Tomorrow, in our morning session, I’ll tell you all about my food philosophy and share some crazy stories. At night, we’ll get behind the scenes, as we prepare our ‘Cook-the-Book’ dinner. I am thrilled to be here at Deerhurst, which is one of the top kitchens in the country, and I look forward to cooking with you!”

The “Muskoka Weekend with Chef Michael Smith” took place Oct. 26-28, 2012 at Deerhurst Resort. For more information visit

Looney Spoons Comes to Kitchener Campus

In preparation for the Taste Canada Culinary awards, the Kitchener competition team was preparing their recipe for the student culinary competition.  In the contest, each student team is paired with a culinary book author to create a recipe from their book up for the Taste Canada book awards.  The team in Kitchener, under the guidance of Chef Elaina Ravo, was partnered with LOONEY SPOONS whose book was judged for the Taste Canada awards


The Looneyspoons Collection: Janet & Greta’s Greatest Recipe Hits PLUS a Whole Lot More!

The students were looking over their recipe and Greta Podleski called in to see how things were going.  Since she was in the area, she just popped over to meet the students in person.  Nice!


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Liaison College Kitchener Student Harvest Buffet

The creative juices were flowing in Kitchener when Chef Dean challenged his students to prepare a harvest buffet for luncheon guests.  The fall colours and harvest theme were abundant throughout the display of wonderful and innovative food dishes.

                                                        The Bread Centre Piece Display

                The assortment of dishes was nothing short of amazing including a whole salmon

And the raw food lasagne
I started the meal with a delicious Italian Wedding Soup

The food was well presented and tasted delicious.  The students in front and back of house were all very eager and friendly.  One of the students had her mother and grandmother as luncheon guests and they were very impressed with the quality of food and the assortment to choose from.

Even though I didn't try any dessert (didn't leave enough room!) the other guests were raving about the crepes made to order and the other tempting sweets.

Chef Elaina and Chef Dean should be proud.