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November 17, 2016
Toronto Public Health announces winners of student culinary challenge
Today, Toronto Public Health (TPH) hosted a cooking challenge with students from culinary programs at Humber and Centennial Colleges. The challenge was part of TPH's Savvy Diner initiative aimed at increasing nutrition knowledge among prospective chefs, with the goal that they will incorporate healthy options in their menus. The winners of the culinary challenge are Humber College culinary students Emma Marple and Amber Bell.

"Eating well is an important way to stay or become healthy, and decrease our risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer," said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto's Acting Medical Officer of Health. "This challenge encouraged students to keep nutrition in mind when creating new recipes and build skills in this important area. Congratulations to the winners."

Local celebrity judges Rose Reisman, a leading health expert, author and media personality; Ted Reader, a celebrity chef and author of several cookbooks; and John Cirillo, an award-winning, world-class chef and culinary academy operator, were on hand to assess the students' dishes. The dishes were judged based on nutrition criteria, taste, temperature, team work, cooking technique, safe food handling and ease of replication in a restaurant setting. The winning recipes will be available online at

“Humber College School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism was pleased to host the inaugural Savvy Diner Student Culinary Challenge," said Rudi Fischbacher, associate dean of the School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism. "Providing our future chefs with the skills and knowledge to go out into the industry and create healthier menu options is a top priority for us. We welcome our guests from Toronto Public Health and Centennial College.”

"At Centennial we have redesigned our programs to teach the core skills students need to be hot commodities in the job market," said Joe Baker, dean of the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts. "These days it is essential that cooks and culinary enthusiasts find the perfect blend of healthy and delicious when designing menus. We all want to enjoy our meals, but we also want to live long and active lives. This is a terrific opportunity for our students to gain confidence in themselves and their skills so they are job ready at graduation."

Studies have shown that more people are dining out and larger food portions typical in restaurants can lead to diners underestimating the calorie and sodium content of their meals. Placing key nutrition information on the menu or menu boards improves the diner's awareness of and access to this information and increases their ability to make healthy dining choices.

In 2013, Toronto Public Health launched Savvy Diner to encourage restaurants to have clear, readily available nutrition information on menus and to help consumers understand how to make healthier menu selections. More information is available at

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

Media Contact
Keisha Mair
Toronto Public Health



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