Employee Profiles
and Recipes

Mavis McRae


“Completing our kitchen on the eleventh floor in 2019 was a huge highlight and a relief. It was the largest construction project I had even been involved with, and it was stressful. Having a beautiful, functional home for the team to work together with clients and students makes me smile.”

Mavis McRae

Mavis is the founding Director of RRC Polytech’s Culinary Research program, which started in 2014. 

With a 25-year career in food product development and project management, her connections to Western Canadian food and agriculture stakeholders have proven critical in creating successful collaborations between Prairie Research Kitchen and its clients.

Armed with a BSc in Food Science and an MBA from the University of Manitoba, and drawing on her experience working for organizations such as Food Development Centre and the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), she helps new PRK clients navigate the commercialization process and links them up to other valuable technical and business resources in the community.

The recipe she shares here is one of the first big projects the culinary research team undertook in the early days of the program. “It was my first time working with a chef. I had no idea what I was going to get when I asked him to be creative with pulse flours. I wasn’t expecting a perogy, but that was exactly the creativity I was hoping for.”

FUN FACT: Growing food and avoiding food waste keep Mavis busy in the kitchen, especially when the garden has a good year. When not immersed in food, she can be found immersed in water, scuba diving in tropical locations.

Cheese and Garlic Perogies
Using Navy Bean Flour

Source: Manitoba Pulse and Soy Growers Project



1egg, large
5 ml salt
100 mlwater
250 ml sour cream
750 ml all-purpose flour
230 ml navy bean flour (or, for a unique colour, use black bean flour)


5potatoes, russet, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
100 g eachsmoked gouda, jalapeño jack, and cheddar mild cheese, grated fine
1 bulbgarlic, large, cloves peeled and brushed with vegetable oil and roasted until golden brown
100 gbutter
250 mlwhipping cream
6egg whites, whisked

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add wet ingredients to dry. Add a bit more water if necessary.
  2. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes.
  3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 1/2 an hour to rest.


  1. Place the russet potatoes in a rice cooker/steamer or in a pot of lightly salted cold water. Steam the potatoes until tender enough to mash or bring the pot of water to a boil and cook the potatoes to mash tender.
  2. In a separate pot, add the butter, cream and mashed roasted garlic and heat to a simmer.
  3. Mash the potatoes (or run them through a food mill for best results) with the 3 grated cheeses. Add the heated cream mixture and season with salt/pepper to taste. Mix until just combined and chill uncovered in the fridge.
  4. Using a bench scraper (or knife) cut a 1/4 piece of the dough off and roll to approximately 1/16 inch thick. Cut rings out using a 2-inch pastry ring cutter. Lay the “floury” side facing up. Brush generously with the whisked egg whites. Place approximately 1/2 tbsp of filling into the circle, fold over, and press to seal. Crimp with a fork if you desire. Repeat until all the filling and dough is used.
  5. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil and cook the perogies in batches until they float to the surface. Remove and serve immediately or cool down in water, draining well. If you want to freeze them, toss with generous amounts of vegetable oil to prevent sticking. If you want to eat them right away, pan fry them in margarine or butter.

Serve with sour cream or kick it up a bit by adding equal parts salsa to the sour cream.

Did You Know? Perogy, pierogi, pirogge, varenyky – call it what you will, we associate them most often with Slavic cuisine. In fact, the perogy most likely originated in China, reaching Europe during the Middle Ages and gaining popularity thanks to Marco Polo’s expeditions along the Silk Road. They come in endless varieties and fillings, including potatoes, onions, cheese, cabbage, sauerkraut, meat, mushrooms, and spinach. They were first brought to North America by Eastern European immigrants. Thanks to Canada’s (and Manitoba’s) large Polish and Ukrainian populations, they have become a familiar favourite available in most grocery stores. As our recipe demonstrates, perogies are anything but boring.