Breakout Sessions

Don’t Butcher Your Grains

Hosts: Chef Patrick Secord, CCC, and Linda Gillis, RD, PhD

Patrick Secord and Linda Gillis

This dynamic Chef/Dietitian duo will energize you in this culinary demo. Learn about different culinary techniques, such as home butchery, and navigate the nutrition and cooking of ancient grains. Discover how to ‘carve’ some savings in your food bill and gain valuable information on how to make “the healthy choices, the easy choices”.


Chef Patrick Secord, CCC

Patrick Secord

Chef Patrick Secord is a Certified Chef de Cuisine who started his culinary career as a student at George Brown College and returned full circle as a professor. Having worked for a number of years in hotels and fine dining establishments here in Toronto and internationally, Patrick has come closer to home in more than the literal sense. His path has taken him to regard the correlation between better quality of living through access to better nutrition and food literacy skills. It is not enough to know the how’s of cooking, but also the why’s that help make sound food decisions. Patrick has become a passionate advocate for reskilling the next generations of cooks with a positive relationship with food and as a means to improve the human condition. Truly, as Hippocrates has been purported to have said. “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

Patrick presently facilitates in the H119 Culinary Management Nutrition program, and Program Coordinates in the H116 Integrated Program.


Dr. Linda Gillis

Linda Gillis

Linda Gillis, RD, PhD, came to George Brown College in May 2016 after spending 20 years at McMaster Children’s Hospital as a clinical Registered Dietitian and Researcher in the field of Childhood Obesity. She was an Assistant Professor at McMaster University, and her research interests included how nutrition and exercise interacted to treat obesity and its complications.

She is known for her expertise in research and education and acts as a consultant and educator at various universities and hospitals. She has won awards for her speaking abilities and uses humour and creative learning techniques to interest participants and learners of all ages.

As a nutrition professor here at the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts, she educates students, not only on the health benefits of eating wholesome foods, but on how sweet delicacies can be incorporated into a healthy diet when we are truly mindful of that indulgence.


Power Your Life With Plants

Hosts: Hana James and Amanda Li, RD

The National Bestseller book The Greenhouse Juice Book contains plant-based whole food recipes to help you feel energized, refreshed and ready to greet each day. Hana and Amanda will delve into the nutritional properties of plants and offer easy instructions for homemade plant-based drinks. A great gateway into the world of brightly coloured liquids.

Hana James

Hana James

Hana James is a co-founder of Greenhouse Juice Co. and its Director of Community. She lives in Toronto.

After earning her Bachelor of Science at McGill University in 2009, Hana was preparing to apply for medical school when she decided to take some time off to work in the food service industry. Though her previous work experience had largely been in hospitals, doctor’s offices and research labs, it was in a small, health food café where Hana discovered her true passion. She quickly realized how much she loved interacting with people, and educating them about how to use food as medicine. In October 2011, Hana founded Café Shu, a juice bar and healthy café. She owned and managed two locations – one in Rosedale and one on King Street West – for over two years, single-handedly taking care of everything from food production to human resources and advertising. In the spring of 2013, Hana closed Café Shu and joined some of her oldest friends in founding Greenhouse Juice Co., a cold-pressed juice company in Rosedale, which she has been operating since its opening on January 8, 2014.


Amanda Li

Amanda Li, RD, M. Ap. Nutr

Amanda Li is a registered dietitian, professor at George Brown College and a fitness enthusiast! She holds a Masters in Nutrition from the University of Guelph, and a Culinary Arts Diploma from the Culinary Arts School of Ontario. Upon graduating from chef school, she knew she wanted to bring together her dietetic experience and working in a professional kitchen setting to create a nutrition coaching practice that is foodcentric, and grounded in teaching individuals a basic life skill – nourishing their body, mind, and soul.

Amanda’s Approach to Healthy Eating:

  • I believe in keeping nutrition simple.
  • I believe that food can by thy medicine.
  • I believe that food is neither good or bad.
  • I believe that all foods can fit.
  • I believe in self-care.
  • I believe in self-love.
  • I believe in YOU!

Going Nuts for Cheese

Hosts: Afrim Pristine and Sharon Booy

Explore the decadent world of traditional cheeses and the rising popularity of nut cheeses. How do they compare from taste to nutrition? In this session, you will be the judge as we sample a variety of both traditional and nut cheeses.

Afrim Pristine

Afrim Pristine

Afrim Pristine is Canada’s premier cheese expert and owner of the Cheese Boutique, with over 23 years of experience in the art of cheese making. From studying with some of the world’s greatest cheesemakers like Luigi Guffanti, Stefano Sarti, Carl Schilt, Jean-Paul Morin as well as hands on training from his father and world’s most renowned dairy farms, Afrim’s passion and commitment stems from his father and family business of 48 years, Cheese Boutique.

As one of the world’s youngest “Maitre Fromager”, an honour bestowed in February 19, 2013, by the France based Guilde Internationale des Fromageres, an exclusive association representing more than 5,000 dairy professionals worldwide, Afrim is the only Canadian to receive this title, awarded to those who demonstrate exceptional cheese knowledge and recognized within their community.

Prior to that achievement, Afrim was also the youngest Canadian recipient to the “Chevalier,” a distinction from the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Taste Fromage de France (March 2007), following an upgraded status to “Officier du Fromage” in April 2010. He was also awarded with Top 30 Under 30 in the Food Industry by Ontario Hostelry Institute.

Afrim is actively involved with charities and foundations he’s passionate about including CAMH, Sick Kids Hospital, Women in Capital Markets, Toronto & Etobicoke Humane Society, St. Joseph’s Hospital and more. He’s also instrumental in continuing to build relationships and collaborations with some of Canada’s top chefs and restaurants including Momofuku, Langdon Hall, Canoe, La Palma, Scaramouche and Piano Piano to name a few and chefs such as Michael Bonacini, Mark McEwan, Daniel Boulud, David Chang and Lynn Crawford.

Afrim’s media appearances include The Marilyn Denis Show, City TV’s Breakfast Television, CTV’s Your Morning, Food Network, and expert consulting for Top Chef Canada, MasterChef, Chopped Canada and more. Most recently, he was honoured as top 50 Most Influential People in Canadian Food by the Globe and Mail, July 2016, and named top 10 Most Influential People in the Food Industry by LCBO Food & Drink Magazine.

When he’s not busy making cheese in nine different countries, Afrim enjoys spending time with his dog Henry and catching a few Chicago Cubs games. Afrim is currently working on completing his cookbook focused on all things cheese, available October 2018.

Chef Sharon Booy

Sharon Booy

Sharon Booy is currently a part time professor at George Brown College the owner/operator of Sharon Dishes: a company dedicated to helping people get back to eating real, whole and nutritious foods and the Wellness Chef at Central Toronto Community Health Centre (CTCHC) focusing on accessible, delicious and nutritious food for the prevention and management of chronic disease. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and is a graduate of the Culinary Management Nutrition program at George Brown College. She is currently a Masters Candidate with the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, with a focus on food literacy, education and health, exploring the potential for interupting the negative effects of social determinants on chronic disease.

Sharon has worked around food on the family fruit farm and in a variety of kitchens from a young age. On graduating from George Brown years later, she honed her culinary skills in the kitchen of one of the top restaurants in Toronto. Sharon has a wide range of experience in the arena of nutritional cuisine having worked as a researcher and recipe developer on projects related to chronic disease, food security and literacy, nutrition for cancer survivors and gluten-free diets among others.