Inaugural Top Chef Award Dinner raises $45,000 for prestigious culinary internships

April 23, 2014
From left: RRC student Nicole Boudreau, Chef Takashi Murakami, and RRC student Alex Wong.

From left: Culinary Arts student Nicole Boudreau, Chef Takashi Murakami, and Culinary Arts student Alex Wong.

Fun, food and philanthropy were on the menu at last week’s inaugural Top Chef Award Dinner, where Red River College honoured a Canadian culinary icon, while helping provide educational opportunities for the next crop of industry stars.

Held April 17 at The Fort Garry Hotel, the event gave RRC a chance to celebrate the lifetime achievements of Chef Takashi Murakami, executive chef at St. Charles Golf and Country Club, and an internationally recognized cuisinier.

Widely hailed as one of the most talented chefs in Canada, Japanese-born Chef Murakami has spent the last 40 years elevating food preparation to an art form at St. Charles.

During that time, he’s also picked up an impressive array of industry awards and honours, among them a series of gold medals (and a World Championship) as a member and coach of Culinary Team Canada, a Chef of the Year designation by the Manitoba Chefs Association, membership in the Canadian Culinary Federation’s Honour Society, and a 2005 appointment as a Member of the Order of Canada.

“He has taken the art of food preparation to astounding new levels and along the way has mentored and developed thousands of graduates from RRC’s Culinary Arts program,” said RRC President Stephanie Forsyth. “It’s very hard to find a chef who hasn’t in some way benefited from Chef Takashi’s experience.” Read More →

Green day: RRC recognized for eco-friendly initiatives

April 22, 2014

green2014-englishFor the fourth year in a row, Red River College has been recognized as one of Canada’s Greenest Employers, an award that acknowledges our environmentally friendly policies and programs that effectively engage staff in sustainability efforts.

“Red River College is leading the way in campus sustainability,” says RRC President Stephanie Forsyth. “This year, RRC is the only post-secondary institution in Manitoba to receive this honour. Sustainability is one of our four strategic priorities; all of our work follows the triple bottom line – people, planet, profits. As a public institution, we believe that we have a responsibility to model and impart sustainability to our students and staff.”

RRC has worked hard to show it’s worthy of such an honour, and the numbers speak for themselves. Last year, the College diverted more than 50% of materials leaving campus from the landfill (35% more than the average Winnipeg household). Thanks to the largest on-site institutional compost program in the city, RRC not only diverts hundreds of pounds of food waste from the campus every day, but also saves more than $1,000 annually in topsoil costs by using the finished compost on campus grounds.

The College is one of only four Winnipeg employers to offer a 60% subsidized EcoPass to its employees. This incentive results in bus ridership rates that exceed 50% for our downtown-based employees – a percentage well beyond the city’s transit ridership rate of 14%.  Read More →

RRC awarded federal funds for robotics, sustainable buildings, and electric vehicle research tools

April 17, 2014

electric busRed River College was awarded new funding today from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), to continue applied research in the fields of electric vehicle (EV) testing, large building envelope research, and robotics innovation.

A total of $327,842 was awarded as part of NSERC’s College and Community Innovation Program Applied Research Tools and Instruments grants.

“This funding allows us to purchase and install specific research tools and equipment that will have an immediate impact on our applied research capacity across several industrial sectors,” said Stephanie Forsyth, President and CEO of RRC.

The tools and equipment being purchased and/or built include an EV rapid charging station and battery testers, a building envelope test chamber to test wall sections and materials, and new end-of-arm and imaging tools for existing robotics.

“These are assets that will directly support our industry partners’ research and training needs as well as enhancing student and instructor applied learning at the College,” said Ray Hoemsen, Director of Applied Research & Commercialization at RRC. “They support our strategy to drive Manitoba’s economy in an innovative and sustainable way.” Read More →

High school students think big at Chamber of Commerce’s BOLD Conference

April 15, 2014

High school students

Up to 100 high school students from throughout the city will gather this week at Red River College to discuss brave new ways of making a better tomorrow for young Manitobans.

Hosted by RRC and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, the 2014 High School BOLD Conference brings together forward-thinking teens to brainstorm and discuss ideas for change in our city — whether it’s new things to do and see, or suggestions for city planning, transportation, the environment and social justice.

“In order to solve worker shortages, we have to keep our students here rather than having them go elsewhere when they graduate. So we want to explore what would make them want to stay,” says Wendy Stephenson, Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Chamber.

“We’re giving students a voice, which is really important. They’re the ones who are going to have to live with our decisions, so it’s very important that we’re listening to our young people.”

Each high school has been invited to select two students as panelists, who’ll meet with their classmates, student council or project group to develop and flesh out a BOLD idea. At the conference, each pair of students will have five minutes in which to present their ideas, as well as opportunities for further discussion with their peers. Read More →

RRC students to represent Manitoba at Skills Canada National Competition

April 15, 2014

Logo_SkillsCompetences-Canada_Manitoba_RGBCongratulations to the 44 Red River College students who scored medals in last weekend’s Skills Manitoba Provincial Competition.

Hosted by Skills Manitoba (at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus), the Olympic-style competition took place on April 10, drawing over 500 high school and post-secondary students from across Manitoba for an impressive display of hands-on expertise, talent and determination.

The event also showcased the diversity of skilled trades and technology, not to mention the many promising futures that can be found in these occupations. Students competed in over 40 different categories; the gold medal winners from each will form Team Manitoba, and will go on to compete against their peers at the 20th annual Skills Canada National Competition, taking place in Toronto from June 4-7.

RRC has 19 students on Team Manitoba; a full list of our winners is below: Read More →

Hurry hard! CreCommers to host Olympic gold medal-winning alum

April 9, 2014

RRC’s Creative Communications program makes the most of its Olympic connections this week, welcoming graduate and gold medalist Jill Officer (2001) for a post-Sochi sit-down Thursday at the Roblin Centre.

The discussion will pair Officer — who joined skip Jennifer Jones and teammates Kaitlyn Lawes and Dawn McEwan in nabbing a gold for Team Canada in women’s curling at this year’s games — with fellow CreComm alum Kyle Jahns (2006), who covered the action in Sochi as a reporter for the Olympic News Service.

Officer and her teammates defeated Sweden 6-3 for the medal, becoming the first women’s squad to go through an Olympic campaign undefeated. The success marks the latest in a laundry list of accomplishments for Officer, who’s played with Jones off-and-on since she was 15, winning the Canadian Junior Championships once in 1994 and the Scotties Tournament of Hearts four times from 2005-2010.

Officer and Jahns visit the Roblin Centre at 11 a.m. this Thursday in room A104.

CreComm student to make ‘em laugh at 2014 Winnipeg Comedy Festival

April 8, 2014

Jordan Welwood Headshot 2014No joking around — this year’s Winnipeg Comedy Festival promises laughs with an RRC connection, courtesy of second-year Creative Communications student Jordan Welwood, who’s set to appear at a trio of shows.

Welwood will be the opening act at Rumor’s Comedy Club showcases by Derek Edwards (April 10) and Ron Sparks (April 12). He’ll also appear at the Festival’s wildly popular Winnipeg Show, alongside mainstays of the local scene (Ryan Ash, Ben Walker, Big Daddy Tazz), and visiting ex-pats like Bruce Clark and Tanyalee Davis.

A Winnipeg-born comedian and writer, Welwood has been a finalist in Winnipeg’s Funniest Person with a Day Job contest, and in SiriusXM’s Next Top Comic competition. (The latter showdown saw him opening for SNL alum Colin Quinn at Just for Laughs’ JFL42 Festival.)

He’s also a frequent guest host (and sometime headliner) at Rumor’s, a senior writer on local talk-show satire Week Thus Far, and a regular presence at such venues as The Rose n’ Bee Pub, The Cheer, and Jeffrey’s Restaurant and Lounge.

Click here to follow Welwood on Twitter, and here for more on the Winnipeg Comedy Festival.

First-year student honoured for contributions to the community

April 7, 2014
Photo credit: The Projector (Red river College)

Photo credit: The Projector (Red River College)

Rebecca Trudeau, a first-year student in RRC’s Community Development/Community Economic Development program, is among the individuals and organizations being honoured this week by Volunteer Manitoba.

Trudeau is one of three people receiving a Premier’s Volunteer Service Award (Youth category) at this year’s Volunteer Awards Dinner, taking place Wed., April 9 at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. The annual event celebrates individuals and families who invest valuable time and energy into their communities.

Trudeau has a long history of volunteering, having contributed countless hours to local charities and not-for-profits, among them St. Amant Centre, the North End Commnity Renewal Corporation, Breakfast Clubs of Canada, and many more.

In recent years, she’s overseen Winnipeg Harvest’s Tools for School campaign, and served as Food Bank Coordinator for the Red River College Students’ Association. She’s also a contributor to the Community News Commons, an online resource aimed at creating stronger, healthier neighbourhoods.

“We in the CD/CED program are extremely proud of Rebecca,” says instructor Lynn Ann Lauriault. “Her dedication to community and to equitable, sustainable, holistic development is apparent in her commitment to her studies and her teammates.”

Click here for more information on this year’s awards ceremony, including a full list of recipients.

Culinary Arts student has a flair for pears

April 3, 2014


Congratulations (and best of luck!) to first-year Culinary Arts student Janine Sumner-Traverse, who’s on her way to Vancouver to prove her pears have the most flair.

Sumner-Traverse, 25, is one of five regional finalists chosen to compete in the Pear Excellence Culinary Student Competition, an annual student recipe contest hosted by the Pear Bureau Northwest. The event requires students to showcase the flavour and versatility of pears, with points awarded for creativity, mechanics, appearance, inspiration, and the inclusion of at least one Canadian-grown ingredient.

The grand prize winner receives US $2,500, with an additional $500 going to their school for supplies or scholarships. Sumner-Traverse has already beat out competitors in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, taking top honours in the Prairie region with her mouthwatering recipe for pork tenderloin with pear and blueberry stuffing, and a red wine poached pear spinach salad with candied walnuts and pistachio-crusted goat cheese.

A former resident of Lake St. Martin First Nation, Sumner-Traverse is one of more than 1,400 people displaced by flooding in her home community. After taking up a new residence in a Winnipeg hotel, she opted to enrol in RRC’s Culinary Arts program — having already received some early training while cooking bannock, boiled pudding and fruit cake alongside her father as a young girl.

The finals take place April 8 in Vancouver. If she wins, Sumner-Traverse plans to use the prize money to help pay for her first apartment (as well as a much-deserved shopping spree). Click here for more information on the competition.

Upscale eatery serves up drive-thru convenience (April Fools!)

April 1, 2014

Jane'sRed River College’s upscale restaurant Jane’s is about to get a whole lot more traffic and maybe even create the occasional traffic jam. Starting June 1, 2014 renovations to the William Avenue facade of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, which houses the iconic restaurant, will include the addition of a drive-thru window.

Until now, Jane’s, a training ground in which RRC’s Hospitality and Culinary Arts students hone their skills, has focused on providing hands-on experience for five-star dining. But all that is about to change as the School adapts its curriculum and learning facilities to ensure it is providing students with a well-rounded education for the ever-changing hospitality landscape.

In addition to the drive-thru window, which will be open to the public this fall for pre-order pick-ups from Tuesday to Friday from 11am to 6pm, a significant portion of the dining area will also get a facelift. Starting in September, one quarter of the 80-seat restaurant will be sectioned off and converted to a casual sports lounge complete with an array of finger foods, a selection of micro-brews, and large-screen televisions for catching Jets games.

Read More →