Building a research program and creating a new food product have a lot in common. Success depends on combining the right ingredients using the right tools. Then you need to formulate instructions others can follow to achieve consistent results (with enough room for creativity, wherever possible). And, finally, you need a few willing participants to test those results.
We were fortunate to have most of those components in place early on, thanks to resources, expertise and support from the RRC Polytech applied research and academic community. Prior investments in our research infrastructure also made a huge difference. The NSERC Innovation Enhancement grant really pushed us to another level.
The projects and recipes highlighted in this section served as the building blocks of our culinary research program. They allowed us to highlight our expertise and uncover ways to improve. They also provided an apt method for training students and new employees on our process for project completion, prototype creation, and reporting research results to industry.
These capacity-building projects helped us generate awareness with internal and external partners about our capabilities as research and culinary chefs. We featured our work in countless success stories, social media and website content, and outreach events.
The sheer variety of the work we were doing and the range of projects and ingredients we engaged with expanded our skills, boosted our confidence, and gave us opportunities to tweak our systems and infrastructure.
Each example presented in this chapter highlights the strategic approaches we took to delivering positive impacts for the Western Canadian food and agriculture community:
- Building partnerships
- Creating awareness through public relations activities
- Shaping curriculum by bringing research into the classroom and students into our labs, and by highlighting careers and entrepreneurship opportunities in food product development at information sessions
- Combining RRC Polytech’s Culinary and Food Manufacturing programs into one integrated, applied research powerhouse
- Reaching out to community through presentations, RRC Polytech’s Applied Research Day, and more