Faced with the pandemic predicament of too much food with not enough customers, Selkirk College students in the Professional Cook Training Program are providing a tasty holiday season gift to their post-secondary peers.
Vital to success for learners in the cook program — based out of the kitchen training facility on Nelson’s Tenth Street Campus — is preparing food for high-volume consumption. In non-COVID years, that means students are cooking for the Mary Hall cafeteria, special banquet events and the Scholar’s Dining Room. Pivoting to adhere to limited in-person activity on campus, the program has found an outlet by providing free meals to students.
“In order to equip our learners with the full training experience, it is not possible to fully curtail the volume of finished meals coming out of the kitchen,” says Martin Keyserlingk, chair of the School of Hospitality and Tourism. “Having the opportunity to get this prepared food to students who are diligently focused on end of semester assignments and exams feels good. These are quality meals with healthy ingredients, it comes at the perfect time.”
The prepared meals include an assortment of soups, roast beef dinners, braised boneless shortrib and many other specific menu items that provide students in the cook program with the training they need as they proceed along their journey to become Red Seal chefs. So far, more than 100 meals have been provided to students in both the Castlegar and Nelson student housing facilities.
To raise much-needed money for the Selkirk College Student Food Bank, staff have also been able to purchase some meals by donation.
“I’m proud of the way students have been able to focus on their education with the adapted learning environment that has been created to ensure safe space for all of us,” says chef Simon Parr, a veteran Professional Cook Training Program instructor. “The more immediate satisfaction that students get from serving freshly prepared menu items to customers has been diminished because of the pandemic, but they know that those who receive these meals are still able to appreciate the careful attention that went into making it.”
Selkirk College offers three levels of Industry Training Authority (ITA) Red Seal education and training at its Tenth Street Campus. You can learn more at: https://selkirk.ca/program/cook