Malcolm Jolley talks to Professor Linda Gillis and Chef Patrick Secord about Ambition Nutrition 2018

Chef Patrick Secord and Professor Linda Gillis get ready for Ambition Nutrition at George Brown.

On May 16th George Brown’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts will play host to the annual Ambition Nutrition Symposium, a day long conference on nutrition and public policy held at the St. James campus. I recently spoke to two George Brown faculty members who are involved in and presenting at the symposium, Dietitian Linda Gillis, R.D., Ph.D. and Chef Patrick Secord, C.C.C. about what to expect during the day. Chef Secord explained that the theme of this year’s conference was ‘Bringing It Home’, which he say as a call for professionals and educators to consider how what they do affects the habits of the general public and “integrate food literacy” into what they do at every step.

Linda Gillis explained that although Ambition Nutrition attracts an array of people interested in food literacy, the number one group of attendees are registered dietitians like herself. She said, “We’re looking for understandable ways to explain nutrition science to our clients as well as a practical foundation from chefs on how to prepare good food.” She added that the symposium also attracts chefs, who are interested in learning about the latest nutrition science from the dietitians. A third group, Gillis said, that are attracted to the Ambition Nutrition Symposium are (other) health professionals whether in the public health field or nurses. And finally, of course, in attendance are students in the culinary field. Secord sees the purpose of Ambition Nutrition as “bridging the gap between science and the culinary arts, making each accessible.”

Gillis and Secord will be presenting a breakout session at Ambition Nutrition called ‘Don’t Butcher Your Grains’ which promises to be a mash-up of different home cooking strategies from home butchery to cooking with ancient grains. “The most important thing,” said Secord, “is to expand people’s repertoire.” Gillis agrees, adding that fatigue is a leading reason that families stop cooking at home. “There’s an average of only eight meals that Canadians make,” she explained, “people would like to make more things but they don’t know how.”

To find out more about the symposium visit