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The Queen’s plant-based menu is growing

Hospitality Services hosts Food Forward Culinary Experience.

Chef Wanda White trains Queen's campus culinary staff how to make plant-based recipes
Queen's campus culinary staff learning how to prepare are range of plant-based recipes.

The creator of the first 100 per cent plant-based dining hall in North America is at Queen’s University this week training campus chefs how to create delicious, cost-effective and sustainable meat-, egg-, and dairy-free meals for students.

Wanda White, Executive Chef with the Humane Society of the United States and former Executive Operations Chef at the University of North Texas, is delivering a two-day, hands-on tutorial to Queen’s Hospitality Services/Sedexo culinary staff to help them meet the growing demand for plant-based diets.

“We’re very excited that Chef Wanda White and her Food Forward Culinary Experience is here on campus to share tips and techniques for preparing plant-based meals,” says Colin Johnson, Queen’s University Campus Executive Chef. “This is the second-ever workshop of its kind that she has held in Canada, so we’re proud to part of the leading edge effort to promote and provide healthy vegetarian and vegan dietary options.”

Queen’s joins the ranks of Dartmouth, Harvard, the University of British Columbia, and many other North American schools in hosting a Food Forward event – a joint effort between post-secondary institutions, the US and Canadian Humane Societies, and Chef White.

“Equipping our culinary staff with an arsenal of plant-based recipes adds depth and quality to the array of meal options we provide,” says Jessica Bertrand, Registered Dietitian and Wellness Manager at Queen’s. “There are a number of health benefits associated with including more plant based products into our diet. Research has shown a well-balanced plant-based diet can lower the rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, blood pressure and cholesterol. However, following a completely plant based diet is not easy to do overnight. Instead, try introducing one meatless meal a week to start.”

According to the Humane Society International/Canada, between two and six per cent of Canadians are vegetarian or vegan, but everyone can benefit from some plant-based eating.

Chef White worked together with Chef Johnson and the Queen’s culinary staff to practice preparing a wide array of new plant-based dishes over the course of the two-day event, including ideas for every meal, from breakfast to dinner – and even dessert.

“We’re here to make good food. That’s what it’s about,” says Chef Wanda White. “We leave the vegan word out because this is really about making fast, fun, and familiar plant-based foods that are good for you. That’s what the students want.”

Following the training, the recipes learned by the Queen’s culinary staff will aid the campus in providing more vegetarian and vegan options to students. There is a plan to increase vegan offerings by five per cent at Queen’s dining halls and retail locations in time for fall 2018.