Culinary grads dominate podium at local Gold Medal Plates competition

November 10, 2016

Gold Medal Plates, Winnipeg

Once again, Red River College grads dominated the podium at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition, with one now on his way to the Canadian Culinary Championships.

Jesse Friesen (Culinary Arts, 2009) took the gold medal at last night’s event, held at the RBC Convention Centre, while Melissa Makarenko (Culinary Arts, 2006) took silver. Friesen advances to the national competition, which takes place Feb. 3 and 4 in Kelowna.

A chef at Pizzeria Gusto, Friesen (shown above, at centre) won silver at last year’s event, while Makarenko (second from left), a chef at Resto Gare Bistro and Train Bar, won bronze last year.

Each year, the Gold Medal Plates event finds local chefs battling each other and the clock — with just 90 minutes to prepare and serve their creations to 500 assembled guests and judges.

The event also doubles as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which generates support to meet the technical, scientific, medical and coaching needs of Canada’s athletes.

Apprenticeship grad becomes Canada’s first deaf iron worker with Red Seal certificate

November 10, 2016

A Red River College apprenticeship grad has made history, becoming the first deaf iron worker in Canada to receive his Red Seal certification.

Jonathan Anderson, 26, earned his iron worker credentials from RRC in 2015, and last spring wrote and passed his Red Seal exam. Over the weekend, he gathered at the Union Centre in Winnipeg to celebrate the achievement with friends, family and mentors.

Diagnosed as deaf shortly after his first birthday, Anderson attended the Manitoba School for the Deaf and St. James Collegiate, where he played hockey and football with the help of an interpreter, finding unique ways to communicate with this teammates.

“He learned to adapt,” Anderson’s mother, Bertha, told CTV News. “He couldn’t hear, but he always had his way of communicating.”

Anderson’s Red Seal certificate allows him to practice his trade anywhere in Canada. Since he began his career at the age of 17, he’s already worked on a number of high-profile job sites — among them, the Keeyask Generating Station, the Winnipeg Convention Centre and True North Square.

But the project he’s proudest of is the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, of which he told CTV, “My parents will say, ‘My son helped build that building,’ … I have children, and they’ll say, ‘Daddy worked there.’”

Anderson hopes his accomplishment will inspire others with hearing impairments to continue pursuing their dreams.

“I want to show that deaf people can work with people who are not deaf,” he explains. “You can succeed and prove them wrong. If they say you can’t, show them that you can.”

Business students pitch research projects at national entrepreneurship and innovation forum

November 7, 2016

Colleges and Institutes Canada logo Three Red River College business students are in Toronto today to showcase and pitch projects at Colleges and Institutes Canada’s Applied Research, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Forum, taking place at Seneca College Nov. 7 and 8.

RRC’s Dinae Robinson, Fatima Feliciano and David Schlaikjar are among 24 students from 12 Canadian colleges attending the forum, in which participants showcase team projects and pitch socially innovative ideas to a panel of judges comprised of MPs and influential leaders in innovation.

All three of the RRC projects resulted from an ongoing applied research initiative allowing students to collaborate with local businesses in exploring the emerging field of social innovation. The goal of the partnerships is to enhance students’ creativity while better positioning them to become innovators in their own careers.

Working with National Leasing, Robinson’s team sought to improve access to education about Canada’s Indigenous communities by offering Indigenous Immersion tours to students, including a walking tour of The Forks and a seven-day cultural trip for youth to Swan Lake First Nation.

Feliciano’s team, also in partnership with National Leasing, researched socially innovative businesses around the globe, with the goal of sharing best practices in social entrepreneurship knowledge — and the students’ own globally inspired business ideas — to the local community and SMEs in Winnipeg.

Schlaikjar’s team worked with Boreal Wildcraft and Cypher Environmental, both of whom wished to further commercialize their products in international markets. With further support from the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program, students profiled specific countries the companies thought were well-suited for expansion. Read More →

RRC ranked top Prairie research college

November 3, 2016

Red River College is #1 on the Prairies in research, according to the latest Top 50 ranking of Canadian research colleges.

It’s not the first time RRC has been recognized as a leading college research institution, having ranked previously in Research Infosources’s top ten for three years running, and having earlier this year received the prestigious Synergy Award for Innovation from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Governor General of Canada.

“We definitely appreciate the acknowledgement of our efforts, but the true value of this recognition is realized when we further spread the word that Red River College serves as a critical partner in innovation for so many organizations,” says Paul Vogt, RRC’s president and CEO.

“As we continue to make substantial investments in applied research and learning resources, we see increasing interest from industry partners for us to help them solve problems, innovate, and produce graduates with the advanced technology training needed for today’s globally-competitive environment.”

The College’s swath of research resources continued to expand this year when RRC received $5.9-million in federal funding – the largest influx of research dollars in the College’s history – from NSERC and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). This new investment allowed the College to boost innovation capacity in Manitoba’s vehicle technology and food development sectors.

“It’s exciting to see how far we’ve come in such a short period of time, and to witness the positive impact our work has had on so many projects throughout our province,” says Ray Hoemsen, executive director of Research Partnerships & Innovation at RRC.

Read More →

National Skilled Trades and Technology Week launches at RRC

November 2, 2016

National Skilled Trades and Technology lWeek launch, Red River College

Today, Red River College and Skills/Compétences Canada (SCC) launched the twelfth National Skilled Trades and Technology Week (NSTTW), to create awareness for students and educators of the range of career opportunities available in skilled trades and technologies across the country.

“Careers in the skilled trades and technologies are of vital importance for Canada’s future economic stability and its standing in the global marketplace,” said Shaun Thorson, SCC’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is important that Canadian youth are informed about the many interesting and lucrative opportunities that are available to them in these sectors. During National Skilled Trades and Technology Week, students from across Canada will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities that highlight these potential careers.”

The two organizations hosted the official NSTTW launch at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus, where the Hon. Ian Wishart, Minister of Education and Training, and HGTV’s Sherry Holmes (Holmes Make it Right) kicked things off with a table-building competition for those in attendance.

Following the official program, students from Winnipeg and area schools took part in other interactive Try-A-Trade® and Technology activities, including welding, industrial mechanics, millright, carpentry, workplace safety, autobody repair, information technology, hairstyling and esthetics.

SCC also took the opportunity to announce the 2017 Skills Canada National Competition will be hosted in Winnipeg from May 31 to June 3 at the RBC Convention Centre. Read More →

College goes whole hog on partnership with Manitoba Pork

October 12, 2016

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Always on the cutting edge of culinary innovation, Red River College students are learning how best to “put it in pork.”

Last week, the College’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute (PGI) played host to a product information showcase and meat-cutting demonstration by Manitoba Pork — the latest result of a longstanding partnership between the two organizations.

Susan Riese, manager of public relations and consumer marketing programs at Manitoba Pork, estimates the partnership is close to 20 years old, dating back to the first-ever Manitoba Pork Cook-off, a now annual event that allows RRC’s Culinary Arts students to show off their pork prowess in the kitchen.

“We want to encourage these young aspiring chefs to think of pork as the top choice protein [with] all the versatility and nutritional benefits that come with that,” says Riese. “Some day they’ll be in a position to influence or plan menus or maybe even have their own restaurants, so we’re just reminding them that it’s not always about beef and chicken — that pork has a place at the table.”

In addition to the cook-off, cutting demos and other workshops, Manitoba Pork has on-site recognition at PGI in the form of the Manitoba Pork Apprenticeship Lab.

Culinary arts instructor Cameron Tait (shown above, at right) works in the lab with tomorrow’s top chefs to change the public’s perception of pork.

“In North America, we tend to only look at primary cuts like tenderloin, pork loin and chops, [but] there are so many other really interesting cuts you can utilize on the pig,” Tait says while cooking up pork jowl, a portion that’s especially popular in Japan.

“On a chicken, you’ve got legs, thighs and breasts, but on a hog, you’ve got everything from snout to tail. You can do moist cooking, dry cooking, curing, smoking, air drying, making hams, making pancetta, making sausages — it’s endless, really. I think it’s more versatile than beef, chicken, veal, lamb, everything. And it’s more affordable, too.” Read More →

Photography student hailed as hero after raising funds for lifesaving surgery

October 11, 2016

Samantha Rae Lussier and Allexis Siebrecht

A Red River College student has been hailed a hero for helping to raise funds that allowed an 11-year-old girl to undergo a lifesaving surgery.

Professional Photography student Samantha Lussier (shown, right) was honoured at last month’s Our Manitoba Heroes gala for raising $30,000 to send Allexis Siebrecht (left) to Toronto for a liver transplant last year.

Allexis was born with bileary atresia, a rare condition affecting one out of every 19,000 Canadians. Lussier first became acquainted with the girl after coming across a Facebook post seeking someone with O-positive blood.

Lussier’s blood type was a match, so — inspired by thoughts of her own younger siblings — she started the necessary tests to become an organ donor. But after flying to Toronto for further screening, she was informed her liver was unsuitable for donations.

Disappointed but undeterred, she instead began fundraising on Siebrecht’s behalf, selling handmade bracelets with the girl’s name and hosting a Bud, spud and steak event that generated $30,000.

Siebrecht, meanwhile, saw her health quickly deteriorating — but her prognosis improved after receiving word from Toronto that a suitable donor had been found.

After undergoing a successful surgery, Siebrecht met with Lussier for the first time in Winnipeg.

“It was definitely an emotional day,” Lussier told The Projector, RRC’s student newspaper. “This kid who could have been sick all her life was so energetic and happy. You’d never know she was sick. She is very inspirational.”

Siebrecht made a full recovery within days, and is now busy with dance classes and her school’s basketball and badminton teams. Lussier is set to graduate from RRC in 2017.

Photo credit: Joe Bryksa, Winnipeg Free Press

Culinary apprentice honoured at international competition in Manchester

October 3, 2016

Mackenzie FergusonA Red River College apprenticeship grad was recognized at a prestigious culinary competition in England last week.

Mackenzie Ferguson, who in 2011 completed RRC’s Apprenticeship Cook (Level II) course, won in the “best kitchen” category at the Concours International des Jeunes Chefs Rotisseurs in Manchester. Ferguson’s award was based on his overall skills, appearance, presentation and cleanliness.

The black box-style contest — in which chefs must create and prepare a three-course menu using a mystery basket of seasonal ingredients — is open to competitors under the age of 27. This year’s event drew entrants from 22 countries and featured 12 international chefs as judges.

Now a Red Seal chef, Ferguson serves as the dining room chef at St. Charles Country Club, where he works under the guidance of world-renowned Chef Takashi Murakami, the inaugural recipient of RRC’s Top Chef Award.

Ferguson has racked up an impressive number of culinary awards over the years, including a bronze in the 2008 Skills Manitoba competition, gold medals at Skills Manitoba and the Culinary Arts Salon Competition in 2009, and a bronze at the Skills Canada contest the same year.

He earned the right to compete at the Canadian National Jeunes Chefs Rotisseurs by winning the Manitoba competitions in 2014 and 2015, and took top honours at the national level last year.

Photo credit: chainecanada.org (La Chaine des Rotisseurs Bailliage du Canada)

De-stress and decompress: Thrive Week activities run Oct. 3–7

October 3, 2016

yoga class

We’re only a few days into October, but with assignments stacking up and exams just weeks away, you’re probably already feeling the stress of the new school year.

Thankfully, the Red River College Students’ Association has partnered with RRC’s Healthy College, Healthy Minds initiative to bring students and staff opportunities to de-stress, learn about their own well-being, and join the broader conversation about mental health.

Send Your Stress Away
(postcards and adult colouring books)

Mon., Oct. 3, 16
11am–1pm
P110, Roblin Centre
Various locations, Notre Dame Campus

Write about what’s been stressing you out — or draw or colour a picture — then send it away! Completed postcards will be displayed in hallways so others can identify with the stress factors faced by peers.

Painting Party
(evening event)

Mon., Oct. 3
3–6:30pm
Cave Lounge, Notre Dame Campus

Tue., Oct. 4
3–6:30pm
Cafeteria, Roblin Centre

Transform your feeling and creativity into art, under the direction of Amber Van Ma’iingan, from Painting on the Prairies. All-ages event; snacks and refreshments provided. Read More →

Show support for residential school survivors by wearing orange on Sept. 30

September 29, 2016

Orange Shirt Day participantsRed River College invites all students and staff to show their support for residential school survivors by wearing orange on Friday, Sept. 30.

Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters provides an opportunity for First Nation, Metis and Inuit communities — along with government and educational partners — to come together in the spirit of reconciliation and hope for generations to come. As organizers point out, it’s only through understanding and acknowledging the impact of residential schools that we can begin combatting the racism and stereotypes that have built up over generations.

Don’t have an orange shirt? Drop by RRC’s Campus Store to pick one up, and join in bringing awareness to this very worthy cause.

To learn more, visit the official Orange Shirt Day website, in particular, Phyllis’ Story, which explains the origin of the event.

For additional information and resources, visit the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s site.

Photo credit: orangeshirtday.org