For the second year in a row, a Red River College grad has taken the top prize at an annual competition showcasing the local culinary scene’s best and brightest.
Chef Mike Robins (Culinary Arts, 2010), of Osborne Village eatery Sous Sol, claimed the prime podium spot at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition in Winnipeg. He now advances to the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna.
Robins edged out the competition with a perfectly seared scallop dish that judges described as “so simple [and] so delicious” — though they went on to concede the rest of the elements on his plate were anything but basic.
“Headlining in terms of umami-saturated flavour was a superb sauce — a beurre blanc made from a dashi broth and enriched with miso, [Robins’] homemade Dijon-style mustard, lemon, wine, and the liquor from the raw scallops,” reads a rave posted to the event’s blog site.
“Button-sized slices of zucchini, pickled in apple cider and cider vinegar flavoured with turmeric and mustard, stood upon dots of puréed carrot. A half teaspoonful of pickled mustard seed was carefully judged — not too tangy — while fresh dill fronds and a cool herb oil made with sorrel, dill and chives brought a little chlorophyll to the party.
“Potato also featured, but in a most unexpected way. They had been put through a Chinese turning slicer, emerging like string, which [Robins] dyed black with cuttlefish ink, wrapped around a cannoli tube and then deep-fried into crispy spirals.”
Each year in cities across the country, Gold Medal Plates regional events find chefs battling each other and the clock — with just 90 minutes to prepare and serve their culinary creations to a crowd of 600.
Dishes are then judged by a panel of food critics and culinary experts. This year’s judges included RRC’s Jeff Gill (Director, Food Services), former College staffer and MasterChef Canada contestant Mike Green, and last year’s regional winner, Culinary Arts alum Jeremy Friesen, of Pizzeria Gusto.
The events also double as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports the technical, scientific, medical and coaching needs of Canada’s athletes.
The national competition takes place Feb. 2 and 3, 2018.
Photo credits: Peg City Grub/Mike Green
Last weekend, in front of a crowd representing all sectors of the provincial economy, Red River College was honoured with a Long-term Achievement Award by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.
Presented as part of the 34th annual Manitoba Business Awards gala, the designation recognizes the College’s unwavering dedication to education and to community — a tradition, point of pride, and driving force that has led RRC to become Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning, and a global leader in research and innovation.
“It may seem unconventional to regard Red River College as a business, but we haven’t achieved this level of success by following convention,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.
“Part of what makes the College such an outstanding place to study, teach and work is our ability to continually push the boundaries and shape Manitoba’s economy every day.”
The Long-term Achievement Award recognizes outstanding achievements made by the Manitoba business community. Nominees are evaluated on sustained growth, contributions to Manitoba employment, and community involvement, demonstrating a commitment of at least 50 years in operation.
From its beginnings in the 1930s as the Industrial Education Centre, to the opening of the Notre Dame Campus in 1963, to the ongoing expansion projects currently underway today, the College has long been celebrated as an institution that’s committed to meeting the needs of Manitoba growing economy.
“We are very proud of our growing partnership model and working relationships with industry — many of whom are also members of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce,” says Vogt.
“We are proud of the entrepreneurs, products, services and innovations that we continue to bring to the market in Manitoba and on a global level, and we look forward to continued successes as we look toward the future.”
Shown above (from left): Judy Murphy, Board Chair, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce; Dr. Christine Watson, Vice-President, Academic, RRC; Tim Silversides, Board Chair, CPA Manitoba; Rebecca Chartrand, Executive Director, Indigenous Strategy, RRC.
A pair of future nurses will soon take their training to the next level by having their skills and knowledge tested on an international stage.
Next week, a team of Red River College students will travel to Shanghai, China, to compete in the seventh International Nursing Skills Competition, hosted by the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences. There, they’ll face off against teams from more than 40 colleges and universities from around the world, in a series of intense nursing scenarios.
Elyse Griffith, a second-year student, and Rachel Rubin, who’s in her third year, will represent Red River College — and Manitoba — in the competition. This year marks the first time a Manitoba school has competed, and only the second year teams from Canada have taken part.
“I’m looking forward to engaging with students from other countries and learning about their experiences,” says Rubin. “There will be different procedures for the same scenario, and I think you can always learn from the way other people find solutions. It will be interesting to share knowledge and find common ground.”
Rubin and Griffith have been meeting weekly with Nursing instructors Myrna Davis and Sandy Alguire — and with Chris Hofer, a second-year student selected as the team’s alternate — to prepare for the competition.
“Most of the learning happens in the scenarios,” says Griffith. “A lot of the skills we’re learning are things I haven’t done in clinical [training)] yet. It’s really helpful, knowing what we might be walking into.” Read More →
You’ve heard the phrase ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’? Well, for one day next month, the more cooks, the better.
On Tue., Nov. 7, the College’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts will host its first Homecoming Dinner for graduates of the Culinary Arts, Professional Baking and Patisserie, and Hospitality and Tourism Management programs.
The event will celebrate the achievements of the school’s alumni, while raising money for the Student Travel Opportunity Fund, which helps Baking and Culinary Arts students compete in national and international competitions, and provides Hospitality and Tourism Management students with opportunities to enhance their skills through travel.
Recently, the Fund allowed two Baking students to attend a four-week-long course in Germany, and six Culinary Arts students to participate in the Cook the Books competition in Toronto.
“Participating in competitions motivates students to strengthen their technical skills, learn new techniques and practice at elevated skill levels,” says Karen McDonald, Chair of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at RRC.
“Our programs are strengthened when students can participate in high-level competitions, and bring back new skills they’re eager to share in the culinary labs. Similarly, students in Hospitality and Tourism programs benefit from educational travel by experiencing local cultures.”
Read More →
A rush of electricity will race through Red River College’s Notre Dame Campus this winter.
For nearly two years, a team of students from the College’s Electrical Engineering Technology and Mechanical Engineering Technology programs have been meeting every Wednesday to design and build a battery-electric race car.
This April, the vehicle will make its raceway debut at the Shell Eco-Marathon in Sonoma, California, where it’ll compete against more than 100 student-made cars from high schools, colleges and universities across North and South America.
The RRC team’s goal? To build the car that can go the furthest distance while using the least amount of energy.
This morning, students offered a sneak peek of their work to RRC President Paul Vogt, while officially announcing the car’s name: SpaRRCky.
“This is one of the best examples of applied learning,” says Vogt. “When you combine industry-led training with highly motivated students and faculty expertise, you can achieve great things. I am very proud that our College is a place where we can turn vision into reality, and I can’t wait to see how our racer performs in California.”
Students can enter the competition in one of two vehicle categories: Prototype, which challenges teams to enter futuristic-looking vehicles with maximized efficiency, or UrbanConcept, which focuses on practical road designs.
For both categories, teams can use any of seven official energy sources, including conventional fuels such as gasoline and diesel, or alternative fuels such as hydrogen, ethanol, gas-to-liquid (GTL), compressed natural gas (CNG), and battery electric technologies. Read More →
Red River College will play host to an exhibition from Artbeat Studio this week, providing staff and students with opportunities to see and understand the realities of mental illness.
Running Tue., Oct. 3 at the Notre Dame Campus, and Thu., Oct. 5, at the Roblin Centre downtown, the exhibit is one of several events planned to mark Mental Illness Awareness Week, the aim of which is to raise awareness of — and reduce the stigma surrounding — mental health-related issues.
“As a post-secondary institution focused on the health and well-being of staff and students, the College believes Mental Illness Awareness Week is an important initiative to be engaged in,” says Breanna Sawatzky, Mental Health Coordinator at RRC.
“Our priority is to create opportunities for the entire College community to learn more about mental health through education, and to foster a safe, responsive and supportive environment in which to talk about mental illness and how it impacts those we study and work with.”
Other events taking place this week include a presentation on strategies for coping with anxiety (delivered by the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba), and another on schizophrenia and psychosis, delivered by the Manitoba Schizophrenia Society.
This year’s programming expands on previous efforts to raise awareness of the many community supports available to staff and students, among them Artbeat Studio, a peer-directed, recovery-oriented program providing studio space and mentorship to artists living with mental illnesses. Read More →
One potato, two potato, three potato, four — that and a few hundred pounds more were dug up from Red River College’s community garden today and donated to Winnipeg Harvest in support of the corporate Grow-A-Row challenge.
Staff and students at the College have spent all summer tending to the spuds (and carrots and onions), which will now go to feed families in need.
“Once again, Red River College is proud to support Winnipeg Harvest, and this year we are pleased to donate nearly 3,000 pounds of vegetables from our garden to Winnipeg families,” says RRC President Paul Vogt.
“I want to thank the staff and students who volunteer their time to tend to the garden, and our grounds and Sustainability teams who champion this community initiative within the College. I’d also like to congratulate the Winnipeg Airports Authority and the corporate partners [including Pegasus Publications] who have taken part in this important project to ensure that no one in our community goes hungry.”
Dating back several years, RRC’s involvement with Grow-A-Row is currently championed by Gord McLeod, pavement and grounds supervisor, and Sara MacArthur, director of Sustainability. The College’s garden — a 30’ x 60’ plot of land — has become a community initiative encouraging involvement from both staff and students, who tend and harvest it on a volunteer basis.
The food grown in the garden supports not only the greater community, but also the College’s food bank, organized by the RRC Students’ Association.
The Grow-A-Row initiative, meanwhile, first blossomed back in 1986, when Winnipeg residents Ron and Eunice O’Donovan produced more potatoes in their backyard garden than they could consume. Their donations were so well received by Winnipeg Harvest that the couple encouraged friends and neighbours to also donate surplus produce.
Since then, Grow-A-Row has yielded more than 3.7 million of pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Mayor Brian Bowman and Red River College President Paul Vogt joined students from RRC’s Professional Baking and Patisserie program this morning to mark the five-year anniversary of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute with a friendly pretzel-making bake-off.
The two were assisted by Suzanne Gessler, proud RRC graduate and owner of The Pennyloaf Bakery, a small-batch artisanal shop on Corydon. Gessler coached Bowman and Vogt while sharing her experiences as a baker and business owner — one who set aside her career as a civil servant to attend RRC’s Exchange District culinary school.
Gessler is one of more than 600 graduates who’ve passed through the doors of PGI since it became the new home to RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts in 2012.
“Today we celebrate not only the tremendous impact the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute has had on education in our city, but also the positive impact of the College’s expansion into the Exchange District,” says Vogt.
“Restoring heritage buildings and bringing thousands of students and staff to the area has sparked new economic activity and helped revitalize this iconic community.”
Before its restoration, PGI was home to the Union Bank Tower, Winnipeg’s first and oldest skyscraper — and at one time, the tallest building in Canada. Today, the LEED Gold-certified building houses RRC’s culinary, hospitality and baking programs, as well as the College’s first-ever student residence, which is running at full capacity this year.
PGI is a key component of RRC’s Exchange District Campus, which also includes the nearby Roblin Centre on Princess Street. The campus will soon undergo a massive expansion with the construction of a 100,000-square foot Innovation Centre. Fundraising efforts supporting the new state-of-the-art facility are now underway.
“Red River College continues to be a strong anchor and foundation supporting the growth and revitalization of our downtown and the Exchange District,” says Bowman. “It’s great to celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute, a building that continues to help foster round-the-clock activity, and it’s great to see people increasingly recognizing the Exchange as a place to visit, live and spend money.” Read More →
What began as an English language training partnership 30 years ago has grown into an opportunity for students in Northern China’s industrial centre to harness advanced skills in three top industries.
This week, delegates from the Shenyang Institute of Engineering (SIE) are visiting Red River College to continue growing that relationship, and to tour the Exchange District Campus and the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute. The delegates were greeted at the Notre Dame Campus Monday morning by RRC President Paul Vogt.
The relationship between the two institutions began in 1987, when RRC and SIE exchanged staff and faculty to offer English language training in Northern China.
Since 2010, students in Shenyang have been able to enrol in joint degree programs for Electrical Engineering Technology, Power Engineering Technology, and Hospitality and Tourism Management. These students have the option of completing the three-year programs entirely in Shenyang — with curriculum provided by RRC — or they can complete their first two years of study in China and travel to Winnipeg for the final year.
The partnership has grown steadily since its early days, with more than 1,000 Chinese students now enrolled for the 2017/2018 academic year.
“It’s connections like this that put Red River College, and Winnipeg, on the map as a hub for the engineering and hospitality industries,” says Vogt. “The hands-on learning students receive is crucial to their success and we’re happy to be able share that with our partners in Shenyang.” Read More →
Red River College’s Stevenson Campus was again the proud facility sponsor for the 14th United Way Winnipeg Plane Pull — providing the hangar and volunteers for the annual fundraiser, which doubled as the launch of this year’s United Way Annual Giving Campaign.
Nearly 2,000 people joined together Friday to pull 80,000 pounds of plane, while raising money to provide essential supports directly to kids and families in Winnipeg. But the heavy lifting for this event begins long before the first teams get their hands on the rope.
“In order for an event of this magnitude to take off smoothly, it’s all hands on deck,” says RRC President Paul Vogt. “As the facility sponsors, our instructors and staff at the Stevenson Campus are involved in the planning nearly a year in advance — from scheduling classes and program training around the event date, to providing volunteers and working around the clock the day before to clear the hangar and have it set up and ready for participants.”
The 55,000-square foot training facility is home to RRC’s aviation and aerospace programs – making it the ideal location for the Plane Pull each year.
“We’re excited to be back on Stevenson Aviation’s tarmac, which is generously provided by Red River College, pulling together for a better Winnipeg,” says Colin Ryan, Senior Vice-President and Managing Director at BMO Nesbitt Burns, and United Way Winnipeg’s 2017 Campaign Chair.
“More and more, Winnipeggers are reaching out with kindness every single day, sharing our pride and shaping a Winnipeg we can all be proud to call home.” Read More →