Greenbelt Culinary Challenge: Young Chefs Compete

The Greenbelt’s autumn bounty of fresh meats, creamy diary, and hardy root vegetables and fall fruits where chopped, peeled and whisked to be served up by the next generation of culinary chefs vying for the attention of a panel of mentors.Environmental organization EcoSource, and the culinary arts program at Turner Fenton Secondary School, invited aspiring young chefs from culinary arts schools across Toronto to celebrate and cook withsustainable local foods. Six teams from three school districts participated, including Brampton’s Turner Fenton, Fletcher’s Meadow Secondary School, St. Joan of Arc Secondary School in Mississauga and Danforth Tech in Toronto.

The ‘raw’ Greenbelt-grown ingredients on-hand included chicken, pork, cheeses, garlic, fresh herbs, a basketful of vegetables (onions, parsnips, leeks, mushroom), apples, even soft flour a specialty many do not realize grows right here too. Judged by a panel of accomplished chefs on the preparation, taste and presentation of the dishes the competition was also a lesson in sustainability and need to value our local farms and farmers.

"It is so inspiring to see young chef's excited about the many ways their industry can contribute to the health of our local environment and economy. The EcoSource Youth and Local Food Program is proud to work with PDSB

hospitality programs, connecting students to the local Greenbelt farms that grow  our food and providing practical experiences for budding chefs on the benefits and logistics of sourcing local food for the kitchen, “ says Soni Craik, Acting Director of EcoSource

This culinary challenge is an opportunity for students to further connect with what our farms can produce in the autumn season, and how wonderful it taste and feels to eat local. These teens are headed for the front line of our food industry and its important that they understand where our food comes from and the environmental, social and economic impact individuals choices have on the food system."

In attendance were proud parents, Jim Smith Superintendent of Peel School Board District, David Green a Peel School Board Trustee, Halton Food for Thought, and many teachers and hungry students.

The Greenbelt Culinary Competition is part of a local food partnership between EcoSource and the Peel District School Board (PDSB). EcoSource’s comprehensive program covers all aspects of local food in schools, from educating students within the classroom to experiencing the farms first-hand with field trips to negotiations to bring local sustainable Greenbelt food into Peel schools.  The project is funded by a grant from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.

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