Aboriginal culinary team to prepare feast

Devan C. Tasa, News Editor Ω

A culinary team that participated in the recent 2012 World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany will be coming to TRU to prepare traditional First Nations dishes with a modern twist.

Aboriginal Culinary Team Canada (ACTC) will be at the culinary arts cafeteria at 7 p.m. on Dec. 8 to serve a three-course meal, plus dessert.

Tickets to the dinner are $75 each and can be purchased at the cafeteria.

“We’re doing the dinner to support the team,” said Ed Walker, the chair of the culinary arts program. “The funds that we raise from this will go back to the team.”

ACTC was one of 46 regional teams in the culinary Olympics on Oct. 5 to 10. It was one of eight Canadian regional teams competing. Those Olympics are held every four years.

The regional teams had to create cold platter displays with finger foods, with the main ingredients being fish, shellfish, bird, game, or vegetables.

Leading the team is chef Ben Genaille, who’s currently the head of Vancouver Community College’s Aboriginal culinary program.

“We know the coach of the team through one of the faculty members, [who] met him at a meeting in Vancouver and just got to talking to him,” Walker said. “So we developed a relationship with him.”

Items on the menu include pheasant and wild mushroom terrine, which is a meat dish in the form of a loaf; a sage bannock crisp; a West Coast seafood consommé, which is a clear soup made from rich bouillon; sockeye salmon galantine, a poached dish made of stuffed deboned meat; and “Indian ice cream” or sxusem, a traditional dessert made of buffalo berries that has the texture of whipped cream.

The dinner will also benefit the culinary arts students, Walker said.

“It has a positive effect for sure,” he said. “Our students will be getting involved in [cooking] the dinner.”

It seems the culinary arts program is trying to look for ways in integrate more First Nations cooking in their teaching. On the TRU human resource page is a job posting for a sessional culinary arts lecturer that will develop teaching strategies about Aboriginal food preparation and preservation.