'A brand new look for us': revitalized Culinary Institute set to re-open

Culinary Institute set to re-open after $7.5 million renovation and expansion.

Redesign to include new restaurant, marché-style servery and cold cuisine kitchen

More than 8,500 square feet of redesigned kitchen space has been added as part of the renovation and expansion to the Culinary Institute of Canada. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

A six-month, $7.5 million revitalization at Holland College's Tourism and Culinary Centre, home to the Culinary Institute of Canada, is now complete.

It's a complete redesign which includes a state-of-the art butchery, a cold cuisine production kitchen, 
and more than $1.8 million in new and emerging technologies and equipment. 

"The building was basically taken down and the new facility put up and really nothing is where it was before," explained Austin Clement, the school's program manager.

Students have been busy getting familiar with the new equipment before opening day next week. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"It's a new interface for students. Much more front and centre with customers, building interpersonal skills that they wouldn't have hidden behind a wall, being face-to-face, a huge technology integration, the latest and greatest technologies, but not throwing away the fire and steel that's always been our DNA."

'It's awesome for us'

The dining room, first floor banquet, and marché areas have been also redesigned to represent modern food service operations. 

Patrons will be able to watch as their meal is being prepared in the open-concept kitchens. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

Like other top culinary schools, there will be glass walls for customers to see production in the kitchen.

The redesign includes a state-of-the-art butchery and cold cuisine production kitchen. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"It puts the pressure on us which makes us work that much harder," said Helena Stepanian, a second-year student at the school. "Letting them see it, it kind of lets them see what it actually looks like to work in a kitchen, it's awesome for us. We all enjoy it, we're all here because we love it."

'All about being challenged'

"It's all about being challenged knowing that you're being watched," added Clement. "The students will learn to be more tidy, be more efficient, be more professional, develop interpersonal skills around managing stress, time management, all the things that eventually become important when you become a chef."

A variety of meal options will be available to guests downstairs at one of three different resturants. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

A new grab and go will be located in the lobby of the main floor. 

"What diners or guests will see is really a brand new look for us," said Clement. "A much more modern, much more contemporary approach to food service, which is effective with what's happening in industry. 

Almost 2,500 square feet have been added to the former Lucy Maud Dining Room. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"We promised people that they would not recognize the place and that is very true," added Clement. "The feel of the building, the access to the students, the flavour of the food even is going to be very, very different and I'm looking forward to seeing how the customers react. I've seen how the students react, they're just blown away, I hope the folks that come visit us will feel the same way."

The new dining room will open to staff and students next Wednesday and the public Nov. 17. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The dining room and marché servery will be open to staff and students next Wednesday and will begin serving the public beginning Friday, Nov. 17.