Student-run cafe takes local food seriously with a Herb Garden

On-site herb garden provides ingredients, experience for culinary students 

Image of a herb garden being grown in large trays stacked in a room

The CHCA’s herb garden | Photo: Clement Goh / The Dialog

The centre for hospitality and culinary arts (CHCA) are no strangers to the ever-growing trends of local produce in the modern kitchen. As the colder weather shuts down most outdoor herb garden, the GBC Cafe continues growing their own selection of herbs and vegetables for use in their menu items.

Originally established as a small project for display purposes in the culinary labs, the herb garden has been reimagined by managing GBC Cafe chefs Kyle Deming and Trevor Ritchie. The herb garden, located at 300 Adelaide St. E., is now poised to become a renewable source of ingredients for customers to enjoy at the GBC Cafe.

“We started the garden at the beginning of September,” said Deming. “In the beginning of the school year, we brought the dirt in and pulled out what was here previously to replant.”

He added, “everything that gets grown here is used in the (GBC) Cafe; it’s a good experience for the students to come down here to watch a garden grow and see the different rates of growth, care, and thinning.”

A large selection of herbs such as sugar-snap peas, colourful bunches of nasturtium, pea shoots and cilantro crests are just some among the varieties of produce that can be found in your $6 lunch.

Ritchie thinks that the garden will change students’ learning experience by helping them develop a broader understanding of food. “It’s a living thing. To understand the process from seed-to-vegetable and then making it onto a plate, you really gain a new appreciation and respect for food.”

“That’s something we really wanted to instill in the students,” he added.

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Student-run cafe takes local food seriously with a Herb Garden