Alumni Feature: Donna Borooah (Class of 2016), Recipe Developer & Tester

August 1, 2018


I first wanted to get into food when I would pore over my mum’s many, many issues of Gourmet magazine. Other major influences were the Two Fat Ladies, and the one and only Ina. All of these women have a contagious and confident approach to food, and I couldn’t resist. While studying at Western, I worked as much as I could at All the Best Fine Foods, a specialty food shop back in Toronto. After university, I started working at Dish with many alumni of SCS. I had a lot of excitement and questions and they told me that I would love cooking school – they were 100% right. Since graduating from SCS, I’ve been working in cooking classes and mostly in the recipe development/testing field. I love how many timers, calculators, and ratios I get to work with all the time. At one point, I almost started a master’s degree in food studies at UofT Scarborough. If only I had a time turner…

What is your favourite restaurant?

Ding Tai Fung for soup dumplings and other goodies


What is your favourite cookbook?

Too many, but currently Alison Roman’s Dining In or any handful of any Barefoot Contessa books


What is your guilty pleasure food?

I’m a chip fiend, for sure.


What food did you think was over-rated until you tried it?

Hainanese chicken rice. In my defence, it doesn’t sound that luscious on paper but I was wrong!


Favourite knife or kitchen tool?

Hands-down, my mini spatula from Muji that they call a Jam Spoon. It fits two bills: tiny, and efficient. I always have at least three.

What restaurant dish seemed the most intimidating but is actually really easy to make?

Stocks and sauces can be intimidating, but they’re actually simple. Yes, they need care and attention but they are not necessarily complicated and they can definitely make the meal.


Favourite ingredient you can’t get enough of right now?

This really addictive sesame oil with lots of chilli and crispy garlic.


What is a new technique/flavour you are experimenting with currently?

Flavour balance with sodium limitations – and no, definitely not just acid to make up for it.


Are there any recipes from SCS you still use?

Lemon curd, pastry cream, sour cream ice cream, and chicken liver mousse for sure. Lots more fundamental bases that can become flexible too.


What is your best SCS memory?

Working on my own lab with Chef Steele and my group. It was so special to give food from my life for the best people with immense pride.


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