Indigenous students in the culinary management program at Confederation College have inspired a new event—A Celebration Showcasing Indigenous Cuisine, featuring celebrity chef Rich Francis. The fundraising event will take place on Friday, April 1 at 6:00 pm at the Thunder Bay campus.

With half of the second-year class this year being Indigenous, instructor and chef Ken Veneruz thought it was important to respond to the students’ interest in Indigenous cuisine and when he witnessed their enthusiastic reaction to hosting a small gathering to test their skills, decided to expand the idea to welcome the whole community.

“I wanted to make sure our students had the opportunity to explore this unique type of cuisine that holds a great significance for our region,” said Veneruz. “The students have had a lot of input in planning the menu for this event. They are excited to share the new skills they’re learning with the community, and to bring attention to Indigenous cuisine.”

Chef Rich Francis (photo courtesy of Red Works Studio)

Chef Rich Francis (photo courtesy of Red Works Studio)

Celebrity chef Rich Francis will offer his expertise to further their learning and to help prepare the food for the event. Chef Francis was a finalist on Top Chef Canada and owns and operates his own restaurant, called District Red by Rich Francis, in Six Nations, Ontario. He is known for cooking with ingredients that are Indigenous to Canada, just as his ancestors did, then adding a modern twist.

“We are honoured that chef Francis has chosen to join us for this event,” said Veneruz. “He will offer a unique perspective for students and provide inspiration for them as they prepare for their careers as chefs.”

Guests can expect to enjoy a variety of Indigenous cuisine at several gourmet food stations arranged throughout the Ryan Hall Cafeteria at Confederation. In addition to showcasing the talents of chef Francis and the second-year culinary management students, the event will also welcome three guest chefs from local restaurants to contribute their talents. A cash bar will be offered which will exclusively feature Ontario wines and local beer, with Sleeping Giant Brewery on site.

Tickets are $75/person, with proceeds going to support student awards and the culinary management program. Full details and tickets are available at or call (807) 475-6460.