Meet student chef Ben McFarlane

Aspiring baker offers chili for cheap recipe

When you think George Brown College, you think culinary, so there was no choice for Ben McFarlane when it came time to apply to college.

“I chose this program because I wanted to learn new things and expand from baking brownies and cookies. I wanted to try new things, especially if I am going to make my career out of this,” he said.

McFarlane, a baking and pastry arts management student, said he first realized his passion for cooking when he moved out of his parents’ house and needed to start cooking for himself.

“When I first started college I began baking something new for my friends every week or so. You could say this is when I first realized my passion,” he said. “I applied for the baking program shortly after and got accepted into culinary instead.”

McFarlane did a year in the culinary program before re-applying and getting accepted into the baking program.

McFarlane’s favourite part about the program is learning to make new things he’s never heard of.

“I prefer to bake over cook any day. I love the science behind it,” he said. “I always feel accomplished after I bake something new. I am always learning from my mistakes and keep striving to do it better or bigger next time.”

McFarlane started his career as a chef at a young age, helping his family every day after school in their pizzeria.

“I learned a lot about cooking and baking from my mother. I need to keep learning so that maybe I can cook better than her. That will probably never happen though,” he said.

After school, McFarlane said he intends to find work at a local bakery and where he can learn more on the job, before eventually opening his own bakery and catering service.

McFarlane said he chose to showcase chili because it’s easy and cheap to make and you can change the ingredients to suit your preference. The recipe created cost $20 and will last for a week. Perfect for students on a budget.

Chili created by Ben McFarlane. Photo by Kelsey Rambaran

Ben McFarlane’s chili recipe 

1 can of tomato sauce

1 can of tomato paste

1 can of beans – choose your favourite

1 onion

2 tomatoes

2 bell peppers

4 cloves of garlic

1 lb of lean ground beef

1 tbsp Cumin

1 tbsp of Parsley flakes

1 tbsp of Paprika

1-2 cups of water or as needed

Salt and pepper to taste


Sweat onions in a pot with garlic on medium high heat.

Add tomato paste and ground beef. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for one hour.


Meet student chef Ben McFarlane