Top Chef winner, Taste Canada champs putting DC’s Whitby chefs’ program on the big stage

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Published November 24, 2022 at 10:36 am

Tre Sanderson cooking triggerfish at Top Chef Canada finals

It’s been quite a month for Durham College’s Culinary Management program.

With the tenth season of Top Chef Canada hitting the air this week came the announcement that Trevane ‘Tre’ Sanderson, a 2015 graduate, was this year’s winner.

Sanderson, 25, won a number of quickfire and elimination challenges on the sunny beaches of the Cayman Islands, wowing the judges and showing off his Jamaican-inspired culinary skills with his jerk shrimp and frilled triggerfish – a fish he had never cooked before – before getting the nod over Vancouver’s Deseree ‘Des’ Lo of Vancouver in the final showdown.

The final ‘battle’ involved cooking a five-course meal for the judges and Sanderson came out on top, with his red snapper escovitch with caramelized shallots and roasted red pepper puree the difference maker.

Sanderson, the competition’s first Black winner, told Food Network Canada that he hoped his victory could inspire other chefs of colour to make their mark. “This means a lot and I’m so excited for what’s to come next, for the next generation.”

 

Tre Sanderson

The Toronto resident, who has worked at many of Toronto’s top restaurants and is currently the chef de partie at Vela, is planning some pop-ups around the city with local chefs. His dream dish, he told Food Network Canada, would be a Jamaican patty, but done Wellington-style with a filet cooked in a brioche, turmeric spiced pastry, “with a nice Jamaican sweet potato puree. Yeah, that’s the thing!”

Durham College also made the news earlier this month when second-year Culinary Management students Adreanna Russell and Sahil Ahuja took home the top honors at the 2022 Taste Canada Awards Gala. The pair beat out teams from seven other schools to win the Cooks the Books student cooking competition.

“I can’t even tell you how big that moment was for us,” said Ahuja.

As the winners, Russell and Ahuja split a $3,000 educational bursary, along with more than $2,000 worth of prizes.

“Once we realized we won, we were in shock,” said Russell. “It was such an honor for us, and a great opportunity.”

The students were tasked with designing a dish featuring a cut of Canadian beef. Under the skilled eye of faculty member Peter Lee, they chose corned beef tongue with mustard jus, pickled cabbage and glazed carrots.

“We chose beef tongue because we wanted to try something different, use an underutilized cut and show everyone it can be delicious,” explained Lee. “If you look at a raw beef tongue, even a cooked tongue, it doesn’t look very appetizing. But it’s absolutely delicious.”

In addition to showcasing their culinary talents, the event was also a great networking opportunity. The chefs made the most of it by connecting with students and instructors from other college’s, including the second-place team from Top Toques Institute, as well as professionals from the Canadian food industry.

Both students credit the experimental learning they have received at Durham College for pushing them to new heights as they prepare for their careers.

“I’ve enjoyed every second here at Durham. All the chefs are industry professionals who have given me the best experience,” said Russell. “They’ve connected me with people outside the college for job opportunities; those have been the best jobs I’ve had in my life and career.”

Ahuja considers himself lucky to be at the school, having come all the way from India to study here in the hopes of one day opening a restaurant.

It’s been quite a month for Durham College’s Culinary Management program.

With the tenth season of Top Chef Canada hitting the air this week came the announcement that Trevane ‘Tre’ Sanderson, a 2015 graduate, was this year’s winner.

Sanderson, 25, won a number of quickfire and elimination challenges on the sunny beaches of the Cayman Islands, wowing the judges and showing off his Jamaican-inspired culinary skills with his jerk shrimp and frilled triggerfish – a fish he had never cooked before – before getting the nod over Vancouver’s Deseree ‘Des’ Lo of Vancouver in the final showdown.

The final ‘battle’ involved cooking a five-course meal for the judges and Sanderson came out on top, with his red snapper escovitch with caramelized shallots and roasted red pepper puree the difference maker.

Sanderson, the competition’s first Black winner, told Food Network Canada that he hoped his victory could inspire other chefs of colour to make their mark. “This means a lot and I’m so excited for what’s to come next, for the next generation.”

The Toronto resident, who has worked at many of Toronto’s top restaurants and is currently the chef de partie at Vela, is planning some pop-ups around the city with local chefs. His dream dish, he told Food Network Canada, would be a Jamaican patty, but done Wellington-style with a filet cooked in a brioche, turmeric spiced pastry, “with a nice Jamaican sweet potato puree. Yeah, that’s the thing!”

Durham College also made the news earlier this month when second-year Culinary Management students Adreanna Russell and Sahil Ahuja took home the top honors at the 2022 Taste Canada Awards Gala. The pair beat out teams from seven other schools to win the Cooks the Books student cooking competition.

“I can’t even tell you how big that moment was for us,” said Ahuja.

As the winners, Russell and Ahuja split a $3,000 educational bursary, along with more than $2,000 worth of prizes.

“Once we realized we won, we were in shock,” said Russell. “It was such an honor for us, and a great opportunity.”

The students were tasked with designing a dish featuring a cut of Canadian beef. Under the skilled eye of faculty member Peter Lee, they chose corned beef tongue with mustard jus, pickled cabbage and glazed carrots.

“We chose beef tongue because we wanted to try something different, use an underutilized cut and show everyone it can be delicious,” explained Lee. “If you look at a raw beef tongue, even a cooked tongue, it doesn’t look very appetizing. But it’s absolutely delicious.”

In addition to showcasing their culinary talents, the event was also a great networking opportunity. The chefs made the most of it by connecting with students and instructors from other college’s, including the second-place team from Top Toques Institute, as well as professionals from the Canadian food industry.

Both students credit the experimental learning they have received at Durham College for pushing them to new heights as they prepare for their careers.

“I’ve enjoyed every second here at Durham. All the chefs are industry professionals who have given me the best experience,” said Russell. “They’ve connected me with people outside the college for job opportunities; those have been the best jobs I’ve had in my life and career.”

Ahuja considers himself lucky to be at the school, having come all the way from India to study here in the hopes of one day opening a restaurant.

Durham College Culinary students Sahil Ahuja and Adreanna Russell

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