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From TV to the Centennial kitchen

Culinary classes range from baking to international culinary management.

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Julie Miguel knows her way around a kitchen. A former MasterChef Canada contestant, she is also a food writer, recipe developer and photographer. But when it comes to the baking class she started at Centennial College, Miguel is a bit nervous.

“We’re cooking in pairs and I was kicked off of MasterChef Canada during a partner challenge. But, I’ve never had a formal culinary education so it is exciting to learn why things are done the way they are and get re-inspired after 15 years of cooking and baking,” says Miguel, who has teamed up with Centennial to document her experience in a baking and pastry arts skills course at the school’s baking – pastry management program.

The collaboration is part of an effort to introduce the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culture’s new leadership team and revamped programs ahead of the fall 2016 opening of Centennial’s new Culinary Arts Centre.

“The labs I’m learning in are amazing, with appliances at every work station and brightly lit kitchens, but the new building, which is still under construction, looks even more impressive,” says Miguel of the 350,000 square-foot facility that will feature a student residence, full service restaurant, quick service café, event centre, three culinary labs, two baking labs and more.

Behind the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culture revamp is Joe Baker, who worked extensively in the restaurant business at establishments such as Toronto’s Oliver & Bonacini restaurants. He is supported by industry professionals such as Rob Smith, a chef with 25 years of experience and the school’s first-ever chair of culinary programs and operations, and Rob Rainford, who has taken on the role of culinary ambassador and chef faculty at the Culinary Arts Centre. Rainford is best known for his popular Food Network show, License to Grill.

“I am really excited about having access to the amazing teachers and faculty. They’re people I have crossed paths with along my food journey who I find inspiring,” says Miguel.

In addition to the pastry arts management program, Centennial offers three culinary programs in the areas of baking for commercial bakeries, international culinary management and chef training.