Hospitality students at the University of Guelph — and foodies anywhere in the world — will benefit from a new food lab and culinary studio to be built this fall on campus. The Anita Stewart Alumni Food Laboratory, named for U of G’s food laureate and founder of Food Day Canada, will be among the first of its kind in Canada. The project is being funded through a $1.33-million gift provided by Michel Eric Fournelle, a 1992 U of G graduate and long-time real-estate developer and philanthropist.
The new lab will be outfitted with state-of-the-art appliances and food-preparation equipment provided by Whirlpool Corp. for some 250 students enrolled each year in a second-year course called “Understanding Foods.” In addition, viewers worldwide will gain virtual access to food-preparation demonstrations through YouTube videos to be recorded and broadcast through a new high-end audiovisual (AV) system to be installed in the lab.
Statia Elliot, associate dean (external relations) for the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics and an HFTM faculty member, says researchers from across U of G will be invited to use the new AV facilities to share food expertise with audiences around the globe.
The lab’s AV system will also draw off-campus chefs and other experts for broadcast demonstrations, says Anita Stewart. “We’ll be able to bring many of Canada’s locally inspired chefs, including winners from the U of G Good Food Innovation Awards, to campus to showcase their talents as well as the talents of our researchers. The broadcast capabilities are going to be phenomenal.”
Work will begin this week on dismantling the long-standing food lab, which occupies a classroom-sized space in the Macdonald Institute. Organizers expect the new facility will be ready by the end of the fall semester.
“For a university, it’s unique to have a hands-on teaching facility, especially with recording and broadcasting capabilities,” says Elliot.
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