A group of people, most of whom are wearing chef uniforms, pose for a photo.

Humber students, faculty and alumni showed off their skills while giving the audience at the National Home Show a taste of the sumptuous delights they can create in the kitchen.

Organizers of the show, which ran March 8 to March 10 and March 13 to March 17 at the Enercare Centre in Toronto, invited Humber to participate in onstage cooking and culinary skills demonstrations.

Students from the Culinary Skills, Culinary Management and Baking and Pastry Arts Management programs showcased knife skills, sustainable food tips, flavour enhancement techniques, cooking methods and more. Demo sessions featuring alumni and faculty had the guest chefs preparing full recipes with samples they shared with the audience.

A person wearing a chef uniform puts food on a plate.

Humber Culinary Professor Shonah Chalmers was joined by second year Culinary Management student Gursimran Sodhi for a 30-minute session one of the days cooking creative breakfast ideas, including turkey egg cups, apple-filled French toast and spinach shakshuka, live for the audience.  

Sodhi felt honoured to be asked to participate and added it was a tremendous opportunity to share her love of food with others. Getting up in front of a crowd to cook was new for her and, despite a few initial nerves, she savoured the experience.

Two people prepare food to be cooked. One is wearing an apron with a Humber logo on it.

The seats quickly filled up with people as the two started their demonstration and audience members came up afterwards to ask questions and get a closer look at what was made.

Students host skills demos

Chalmers selected 10 students to lead the skills demonstrations where they took what they learned at Humber and showcased it for the Home Show crowd. It also was a chance for the students to work on their communications skills.

Chalmers said that being able to communicate effectively isn’t always easy for chefs who are used to working back of house. However, the experience allowed them to chat with the crowd as it’s something they will do in their careers whether it’s speaking with guests or suppliers.

Zabrina Glen-Menardi and True Whitmore, who are both second-year Culinary Management students, led a skills demonstration on the best ways to cook vegetables including tips on how to properly blanch and steam them. There were other skills demonstrations including pasta rolling, cake decorating, how to make pan jus sauces and many more.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I’m really grateful to be here,” said Glen-Menardi. “This has been really fun – I feel like when I was a kid and pretending that I was cooking on a television show. The National Home Show is such a big event and it’s been a great experience.”

Whitmore said she didn’t even have to think about it when Chalmers offered her a spot as she said yes immediately.

Roasted duck breast with citrus salad

Adam Lafleur is a Humber alumnus and chef de cuisine at Toronto restaurant Constantine who was named as one of Kostuch Media’s 2023 Top 30-Under-30 award winners. He led an hour-long demonstration on how to break down a duck and followed it up by cooking roasted duck breast that was served with a fennel and orange citrus salad.

A person wearing a chef uniform cuts an orange.

Lafleur said the rich and gamey fowl can be a little intimidating for home chefs and he was hoping to demystify it for the audience. Lafleur had done demonstrations before and works in an open kitchen, so it was an easy transition for him. As he was cooking for a home audience, he used simple language and avoided culinary terms so that they understood everything he was saying.

“When Chef Shonah asked if I would take part, it was an automatic yes for me,” said Lafleur, who sits on the Culinary Management Program Advisory Committee. “Humber was a big part of my career so I’m glad I’ve been able to stay connected with it.”

A person uses a utensil to cut pasta.

Other alumni and faculty to lead cooking demos include Tito Navarro, Franco Thierry, Alex Lombardi-Hartig, Sarah Hoebeke, Suman Ali Sayed, Dacyion Reid, Daniel Calabrese and Johnson Wu.