Chef returns to alma mater for Fine Food, Fine Wine, Fine Art

Patrick Engel

Patrick Engel

If you need proof or Patrick Engel’s loyalty to Brock, you need to look no further than his leg.

The local chef at Good Earth Food and Wine Co. has a badger paw tattoo there accompanied by the letters B.U. For Engel, who graduated with a degree in Psychology in 1997, it felt like a natural tribute.

“I enjoyed my experience at Brock, and that’s something that will never go away,” he said. “As opposed to the name of a girlfriend, which could be fleeting, I’ll always be proud of the four years I spent at Brock.”

Engel will bring some of that Badger pride to this weekend’s Fine Food, Fine Wine, Fine Art. As a chef at the event, he will serve up a meal of braised pork belly on a butter bean salad, a dish he likes to call “pork and beans.”

It’s a fitting homecoming for the chef, who discovered his love of cooking while he was a student at Brock.

“I began my first year as a Kraft Dinner student, and by the fourth year, I was into all kinds of stuff,” he said.

He was living off campus in his third year with four fellow students when they came across a cooking show on TV. They wrote down the instructions to make the dish – shrimp and scallops in a saffron cream – and headed to the grocery store for the ingredients. The process of gathering ingredients to make a quality meal from scratch fascinated Engel.

His Psychology education has come in handy as a chef. In addition to those four years making him a more well-rounded person, “any time you’re in a food service environment, there’s psychology involved,” he said.

“Restaurants can be very intense and emotional environments,” he said. “They’re hot. They’re tiring. It can lead to stress and a very volatile atmosphere. That’s where psychology comes in handy.”

The tenth annual Fine Food, Fine Wine, Fine Art will feature Niagara’s finest chefs and award-winning wineries. Tickets are $75. The event will be Saturday, Sept. 17 from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Lowenberger Dining Hall.

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