News and Events

Cooking up a bright future for Culinary Research and Innovation

July 27, 2018 • Written by
  • Funding announced for new culinary research centre at PGI

Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director, Research Partnerships and Innovation, Red River College (RRC), Ian Seymour, Board Director, CFI, Paul Vogt, President and CEO, Red River College, Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, Sue Leclair, President and CEO of The Pretzel Place and RRC alumni, Doug Eyolfson, Member of Parliament for CharleswoodÑSt. JamesÑAssiniboiaÑHeadingly, and Rick Tofani, Director, Applied Research and Innovation Services, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology are photographed after an announcement of a total federal investment of $10,678,322 in research infrastructure funding for recipients awarded in the latest round of the Canada Foundation for InnovationÕs (CFI) College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) competition at Red River College in Winnipeg, Wednesday, January 18, 2012. The funding will support 11 projects at 11 different colleges/polytechnics across Canada. Canadian Press Images/John Woods

On Wednesday, Science and Sport Minister Kirsty Duncan stopped by Jane’s restaurant to announce a total federal investment of over $10 million in research infrastructure funding for recipients awarded in the latest round of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) competition.

Red River College was one of eleven successful colleges and polytechnics across Canada, and now thanks to the CFI’s investment of more than $1 million, construction is underway to build the College’s first-ever multi-functional culinary research centre.

“Red River College’s Culinary Research & Innovation (CR&I) continues to grow, and expand its work with students and industry partners to develop healthy and delicious new products from Prairie ingredients,” said Ray Hoemsen, Executive Director of Research Partnerships & Innovation.

“The support we are receiving from CFI will enable us to establish our Culinary Research and Food Innovation Kitchen on the 11th floor of the Paterson GlobalFoods Insitute; coincidentally the same floor where the Union Bank and then the Royal Bank of Canada had kitchen and dining facilities.”

This state-of-the-art research lab will enable researchers, faculty and students to collaborate with the food and agriculture industry on projects that will enhance food safety research, and address changing consumer needs and challenges such as food waste.

Once complete, the new research centre will feature:

  • A fully equipped commercial kitchen and second modular-style kitchen for project-specific equipment
  • An analytical and culturing lab
  • A client collaboration and focus group space
  • A specialized food photography room

The new space and equipment will primarily be used for research with industry partners, but will also be available to instructors and students seeking to enhance their education and professional development.

“Red River College is a leader in culinary research and innovation,” said RRC President Paul Vogt. “To date we’ve worked on more than 40 different projects with local food and agricultural producers in Manitoba to help them innovate and bring new products to market.

“This support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation means that we can expand our research capabilities to meet this growing demand, and create a dedicated state-of-the-art facility for researchers, instructors and students to work collaboratively — shoulder-to-shoulder with industry — to make the impossible possible when it comes to new food product creation and culinary innovation.”

Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, samples some food products after announcing a total federal investment of $10,678,322 in research infrastructure funding for recipients awarded in the latest round of the Canada Foundation for InnovationÕs (CFI) College-Industry Innovation Fund (CIIF) competition at Red River College in Winnipeg, Wednesday, January 18, 2012. The funding will support 11 projects at 11 different colleges/polytechnics across Canada. Canadian Press Images/John Woods

The CFIs grant, delivered through its College-Industry Innovation Fund, is part of a $2.74-million renovation and equipment acquisition plan for the space at PGI.

Here are some of the highlights from various industry projects with Canadian companies and producers that CR&I has been involved with over the last year:

  • Creation of an award-winning all-hemp macaroon, as part of a product line for Piccola Cucina. Our team used locally sourced hemp instead of almonds; the new products are now ready for shelf-life testing.
  • Development of a miso paste using spent grain from local microbreweries. Working with the Manitoba Agri-Health Research Network, our team turned what would have been waste into a tasty value-added product.
  • Development of a new recipes and applications of a prebiotic aimed at improving digestive tract health, in partnership with nutritional supplement provider MSPrebiotic Inc. Under the supervision of a Research Chef, RRC students developed recipes that met requirements related to dose requirements and temperature limitations.
  • Creation of a new beer-flavoured pretzel seasoning in partnership with local snack mainstay The Pretzel Place. Our team worked with RRC alumni and The Pretzel Place owner Sue Leclair to develop this new twist on flavour, now available at both Winnipeg locations; Shaw Park and Investors Group Field.


Adding to the pulse of Culinary Research and Innovation: introducing Heather Hill

July 18, 2018 • Written by

Bringing more than 10 years of experience in the agri-food industry, Heather Hill has joined Red River College’s Culinary Research and Innovation team for a six-month term as a Research Manager.

Peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas – collectively termed pulses, are what Heather brings to the table in terms of expertise in food development research. She has worked in partnership with agri-food companies and organizations from Beijing, Switzerland, Morocco, Minneapolis, Steinbach and Portage la Prairie – from large multi-national corporations, to farmers looking to add more value to their crops, and everything in between.

With a Master’s of Science degree in food science, and a background in value-added ingredient development, Heather brings a bold new perspective to the team. She loves being presented with a challenge and providing practical solutions to overcome an issue. In her new role here in Culinary Research and Innovation, Heather will be providing a science-based approach to help with the applied research activities of the department.

Heather can be reached at

Q: Science and art seem to be on nearly opposite ends of the spectrum, how does science play a role in the culinary arts within Culinary Research and Innovation?

Food is such a complex composite material. With many interactions and reactions taking place during processing it requires both art and science to truly understand how a food system will respond to treatments, while still being a high-quality product. I think the science component really helps to explain the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of food while the art piece brings out creativity, style, ingenuity and especially the deliciousness of food.

Q: Food science is not an extremely known discipline here in Canada, what interested you about studying food?

I love the universality of food; that it is something we all relate to, and that we can use as a starting point to get to know so much more about one another and our cultures. Food physically brings people together, it makes me smile to think of this as I’m working in food development.

Q: Trends in food are constantly changing, what trends are currently catching your eyes, ears and taste buds?

Coming from the plant protein world, I am always watching trends that incorporate plant and sustainable protein sources in product development applications. There is so much going on in this area, especially in Western Canada, and it will continue to boom. I’m looking forward to seeing the role Canada will play in plant protein technology and food development.

I’m also very interested in seeing more recognition of traditional indigenous foods here in Manitoba. I think this has so much potential to improve food security of our Northern communities and build cultural bridges here, as well as to add greater diversity to our local food supply. Red River College is so well positioned to be a leader in this area, I think exciting things are in our future.

With an 18 month toddler at home I am also always scanning for new ideas to feed my little one that are both tasty and nutritious. She is a tough critic and is constantly changing her list of preferred foods. Right now I’m trying out chia puddings… and spending a lot of time cleaning our floors where the rejects are landing.

Q: What is your favourite thing to cook and eat and home?

In the summer we spend a lot of time barbequing so we don’t heat up our house too much. We love to cook ribs, actually we have an annual rib competition with our family every November so we need to spend the summer perfecting our next award winning recipe!

Q: What’s the most interesting dish you’ve made using pulses?

I love to learn about different cultures and their traditional pulse dishes. I’ll research the recipe and history and give it a try in my kitchen. When I was last in Morocco I heard about a traditional chickpea cake they make called karane or kalinti, which is basically a chickpea-flour egg quiche. Every time I make it, it reminds me of the busy, colourful, sights and sounds of the medina of Fez.

Q: What excites you about being a part of the Culinary Research and Innovation team?

I’m really looking forward to being a part of the multi-disciplinary team here, not only with the blending of food science and culinary arts in Culinary Research and Innovation but also having the opportunity to work with other departments within the College. I don’t know where else you can find expertise in culinary arts, engineering, communication, design, life sciences and social sciences all in one setting!

New Research Guide will help foster successful business and post-secondary partnerships

June 29, 2018 • Written by

This week, the Business/Higher-Education Roundtable (BHER) released a research partnership guide, aimed to help more companies and firms navigate new partnership opportunities working with Canadian polytechnics, colleges and universities.

This guide is designed to help pave more pathways to successful partnerships and working relationships between firms and post-secondary institutions across Canada, and contains comprehensive and practical information for users on:

  • Advice on approaching institutions about an agreement;
  • Lists of common terms, including the various types of College partnerships;
  • Mock project lifecycles;
  • Case studies of successful partnerships; and   
  • Frequently asked questions and answers. 

Red River College’s Executive Director of Research Partnerships and Innovations, Ray Hoemsen, contributed to the development of the guide and provided further insight to the work that we are doing here at the College.

The guide also features a case study on the success of Red River College’s, ‘Multiple Partnership’ with the City of Winnipeg, the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Hydro, New Flyer Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Sustainable Development Technology Canada, to create a zero-emission battery-electric propulsion transit bus, which will significantly reduce greenhouse gas and smog-causing emissions.

The Business/Higher Education Roundtable represents businesses and schools from coast to coast – RRC President and CEO, Paul Vogt is a Member of the Roundtable group. The research partnership guides were developed with Polytechnics Canada and the U15 Group of Research Universities, and are an initiative of BHER’s research partnerships working group. George Brown College was a key leader in the development of this document.

Click here to download the Guide to Research Partnerships with Canada’s Colleges and Polytechnics.

RRC students win national award for innovative concepts to advance the e-vehicle industry

May 8, 2018 • Written by

RRC team, 2018 Electric Mobility Canada Kia Student CompetitionImagine a world where your vehicle drives itself, connects to the Internet, and charges just like your phone.

That’s how Joel Turner, a student in Red River College’s Electronic Engineering Technology program, describes the concept that won his group first place in the 2018 Electric Mobility Canada Kia Student Competition.

This is the first time an RRC team has won the competition, and the second time the College has entered.

“The benefits to our team’s solution are countless. The best of them are reduced air pollution, reduced vehicle maintenance cost, and better learning by having available data,” says Turner, who worked on the project with teammates from RRC’s Electronics Engineering Technology, Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology and Business Administration programs.

Since 2012, the competition has tasked student groups with finding and presenting solutions that will advance the electric vehicle industry. This year’s competition asked what technological breakthrough will be a game-changer for e-mobility within five years, and why this will have a major impact on e-mobility at large.

The RRC team’s solution combines 5G (fifth-generation wireless technology) and new battery technology to connect the three current megatrends in transportation e-mobility: autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles and connected/shared vehicles. The vision points to an almost Jetsons-like world where vehicles are connected to each other and their surroundings to create a safer, more energy efficient driving environment.

“When we started this project the students already had background knowledge, so we challenged them to look further and see what technology we can use to enable 5G,” says Chris Basilio, Research Coordinator for the Vehicle Technology & Energy Centre (VTEC) at RRC, who assisted the students with their proposal.

“They were able to look at existing 4G infrastructure and what could happen if it were updated to 5G.”

Read More →

Girl Guides Join Event on Increasing Participation of Women in Engineering

March 21, 2018 • Written by

One of the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing‘s (TACAM) newest team members, Heather Smart, helped inspire the next generation of engineers at an event this past November.

The Committee for Increasing Participation of Women in Engineering (CIPWIE) hosted Manitoba’s inaugural Engineering Badge Day for Girl Guides on November 12, 2017. The half-day event was enthusiastically attended by over 90 girls of the Girl Guide age group (age 9-11) and approximately 20 Guide leaders.

Heather helped with the event and wrote a summary of the event in The Keystone Professional 2018 Spring issue. View the full issue HERE.