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Chefs at Queen’s University, Ontario, are now learning how to make plant-based meals, as part of their student reading week.

Wanda White is leading this program. She is the Executive Chef of Forward Food, a Humane Society United States program that helps introduce vegan meals into large institutions, including colleges and universities. Queen’s Univerity is the first in Ontario to undergo such a program that trains students in plant-based culinary skills.

White has previously introduced America’s first fully vegan dining hall, while she worked at the University of North Texas as a head chef. Within the last three years alone, White has conducted plant-based culinary training programs for chefs in over 100 universities and colleges in the United States. She says incorporating more plant-based foods into one’s diet doesn’t have to mean eliminating animal products – promoting a concept known as flexitarianism.

“When I realized all it meant was leaving the animal product out, to understand what vegans eat, it wasn’t a struggle,”  White said in the Whig“We’re not here to take away your meat or your fish. We’re here to offer you an option. We don’t want anybody to think we are trying to deprive anyone of anything.” 

Queen’s University’s executive chef, Colin Johnson said “[w]e’ve been doing it for a long time, but we want to get better at what we are doing. It’s not difficult, it’s just training your mind to realize you can produce delicious, healthy food without meats, cheeses, milks. It’s a good eye-opener for the chefs here.”

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Johnson adds that due to an increased awareness and concern for the environment and personal health, there’s been an influx of students asking the University to offer a greater selection of plant-based meals. “[w]e are seeing more of an increase in students that are not necessarily vegan but want to eat more plant-based protein more often, once or twice a week,” says Johnson. Additionally, many international students are requesting meal options that contain less meat and more plants.

Julie MacInnes of Humane Society International/Canada added the chefs are “making foods that the omnivore want to eat, that the regular person wants to eat, not just targeting vegetarians and vegans.”


Image Credit: PittChronicle | Postmedia Network