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Anna Mae Crespo is the Pantry Technician at W. Galen Weston’s Centre For Food at Durham College. In this role, Anna Mae looks after the retail store, the Pantry, which specializes in student prepared entrées, baked goods and pantry staples. She creates an array of yummy treats daily for faculty and students alike. She helps to provide some aspects of supporting local businesses and focuses on Field to Fork and sustainable food practices.

Anna Mae is no stranger to the Hospitality and Culinary industry, having spent 14 yeas as a freelance caterer, pastry chef and sous chef, where she has been responsible for executing a variety of different and diverse menu items. In these roles she has learned the value of sustainability and with working with small local businesses in her community.  She was the Ontario Youth Apprentice in her year while at Humber College for Culinary Arts, and holds a diploma for Baking and Pastry Arts from George Brown College.

Passionate about the Centre For Food and its endless possibilities, Anna Mae provides input on maintaining high standards of food quality focusing on Field to Fork and using as much produce from Durham College’s own field. Such produce includes cabbage, sweet potatoes, assorted berries, broccoli and cauliflower, all which have been incorporated into different menu items. Something she looks forward to using is the honey from CFF’s very own honeybees.

Currently, the Pantry has partnered with a local business, Olive That, where select items are sold. Anna Mae personally ensures the business is well stocked at all times and that people in the community are aware of what Durham College and the CFF have to offer. She creates a weekly newsletter advertising what’s new and fresh.

In the past the Pantry has participated in the nearby Ajax Downs Farmer’s Market, where Anna Mae has developed several relationships with the neighboring vendors, such as the Whitby Soap Company and Durham Honey.

An ongoing event that the Pantry continues to support is the Rotary Club of Whitby’s Gourmet Food Truck Frenzy. Here Anna Mae creates community awareness by offering many tasty treats, and promoting the Centre For Food.

Another important aspect of Anna Mae’s role as Pantry Technician is maintaining sustainable food practices. She is working closely with a Toronto company, GreenShift, to supply not only the Pantry but the CFF as a whole, with green certified, biodegradable products. She also strives to have zero waste in her daily production, as well as using any over produced items from the fields and ingredients not being used by the culinary programs.

Highlights of Anna Mae’s career includes assisting BBQ chef, Ted Reader, in Las Vegas at the World Food Championship, catering events such as the Waterkeeper’s Gala and Gord Downey’s 25th wedding anniversary, and working with celebrity chef Vikram Vij during his Plan Canada Gifts of Hope campaign.

She is excited to be a part of this year’s Terroir Symposium, and looks forward to learning any and everything from the people she will meet.

Anna Mae can be reached at annamae.crespo@durhamcollege.ca