The smell of delicious cooking has once again filled the air at the College of New Caledonia in Fort St. James.
The cooks are back for another year of professional chef training at CNC and all who work in the building benefit.
Full production started for the Professional Cook level 1 students Sept. 5 and for the next 28 weeks students, staff and school guests will have a cheap and tasty place to find daily breakfast and lunch.
“We’re not trying to be competitive to places in town, we’re just trying to give the students a real life situation,” said Journeyman Peter Krauseneck who has taught the course six years running. “[The food prices] are not a big cost but it’s a cost, so people may be obligated to make a complaint if the food wasn’t good. We want them to know in real life they will get complaints from time to time.”
The cooking course started Aug. 25 and for the past couple weeks students have been learning the basics of working in a restaurant-style kitchen. Skills already learned include kitchen safety, measurements and basic knife knowledge including how to hold and use professional grade knives to cut, stick and dice. A few learned include Julienne, Brunoise, small and medium dice, and Boutonnet.
Gabriella Joseph, 19, a student in the course, says a big part of the class is learning how to work with others.
“In your own kitchen you’re used to you and maybe someone else,” said Ms. Joseph, looking around at the chaotic atmosphere of people working simultaneously at different projects throughout the kitchen. “It’s a lot different here.”
Each part of the kitchen represents a different station with various jobs. Each week the students do a rotation to gain experience at each one. Once everyone has had a turn at each station the class will move onto more advanced dishes and students will start planning out their own ideas, said chef Krauseneck.
Loretta Bird, another student taking the course, says she looks forward to learning as much as she can about all aspects of the kitchen and can already tell the difference in her cooking.
“You learn about the difference in commercial and organic foods and once you taste it you notice a big difference,” said Ms. Bird.
To become a certified cook each student must complete 1000 hours. At the start of the course students signed on as apprentices and will obtain 600 hours after completing and passing the course. They will then need 400 hours of in-kitchen time outside of the school to become certified.
“A big problem in previous years was there was no one for them to work under. They need to work under a red seal chef to be credited the hours toward their certifications” said chef Krauseneck. “We’re lucky now with The View restaurant because Joel (top chef at The View) has his red seal and some of my students have already got part time jobs.”