Conestoga news

May 9, 2024 1:08 PM

Culinary graduate hosts meeting of cooking club that provided scholarships

Bloom erupted into applause at the latest meeting of the local cooking club Les Marmitons led by Conestoga graduate, club scholarship winner and restauranteur Chef Fernando Toro.

Chef Fernando Toro at Les Marmitons.jpg
Les Marmitons International board member Benjamin Klooster presents Chef Fernando Toro with a recognition certificate.

The 2018 graduate opened Casa Toro 88 in Kitchener last year, serving up authentic Mexican street food.

At the April gathering, Toro led the club members through cooking a feast menu comprised of a complex mole poblano, chilles rellenos, pozola, and pastel de elote.

The Waterloo Region chapter of the men’s international club dedicated to fine food, wine and the culinary arts funds annual scholarships and bursaries for students in Conestoga’s culinary and hospitality programs, along with sponsoring students attending summer study programs at the Institut Paul Bocuse in France, now called Institut Lyfe.

The chapter hosts their gastronomical gatherings in the state-of-the-art culinary centre at the Waterloo campus, which is also home to the student-run restaurant Bloom.

They knew Toro was a Conestoga graduate, but it was a surprise to all when he mentioned receiving two Marmiton scholarships during his time as a student.

“When he dropped that fact into his comments at the end of the evening, the room erupted into a spontaneous standing ovation, a rare occurrence at our events over the nine seasons we have been in existence,” said Alex Bielak, founding co-president of the chapter as well as a member of the Cloverleaf Foundation, which also funds scholarships and bursaries for Conestoga culinary students.

“Scholarships and bursaries are important in supporting both top students as well as those in financial need. I was so pleased to learn that Chef Toro had been the recipient of scholarship support during his time at the college. He is a genuinely talented and passionate cook with a good head on his shoulders.”

Toro was honoured and grateful for being asked to lead the event, and applauded the hard work of each member who executed every dish with technique and passion.

“I was able to see how proud everyone was with their dish. There was complexity in every dish, but everyone accomplished their roles and they delivered a truly authentic Mexican feast. I’d love to return if the opportunity arises. Being able to cook with people who are as passionate as I am about food was one of the best experiences in my culinary journey.”

Conestoga’s School of Hospitality & Culinary Arts is a leader in culinary and hospitality programming that prepares students for successful careers in Canada’s tourism industry. Students learn from faculty members with extensive industry experience as they develop practical knowledge and theoretical skills.

Learn more about Les Marmitons - Waterloo Region on the chapter’s website.