Students of the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology (NVIT) Professional Cook 1 program wrapped up their courses at the school’s Eagle’s Perch campus this week, concluding 28 weeks of fast paced learning and hands on experience.
NVIT offers both a PC1 and PC2 program, with PC1 running for 28 weeks starting in September, and the latter running for seven weeks beginning in April. As part of the program, students are registered as apprentices, gaining technical training while also accruing apprentice hours. Last week, students at NVIT’s PC1 program wrapped up their school year with final exams.
“We are doing our practical assessments, students are cooking five dishes in a timely fashion,” Chef Kim Wallace, NVIT’s culinary arts instructor, told the Herald in the hustle bustle of the kitchen.
“The day started at 8 a.m., there was a briefing for about five minutes, and then there was the initial 15 minutes for the setting up of tools and equipment. Then, they had a two hour window of prep work and cooking, and then they each have a designated time slot.”
Following their months of training and apprenticeship, students must complete a five course meal to standards set out by Skilled Trades BC. Students are assessed by Wallace on a number of factors out of 35 points, with a 25 point minimum required to pass. The young chefs in training served their creations to visiting parents and family members who came to support the students and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
The day’s menu included Boston cream chowder, poached eggs, chicken caesar salad wraps, salmon filets with tomato vinaigrette and rice pilaf, along with a blueberry muffin dessert. After being assessed and graded, students’ dishes were sent to visitors for consumption. Wallace said the growth of his students in the kitchen over the past 28 weeks has been exponential.
“At this stage, 28 weeks later, it’s really a self-sufficient kitchen,” noted Wallace. “It’s really their kitchen at this point. It’s been amazing.”
After finishing their PC1 program successfully, students can go on to PC2 after accruing more industry work experience hours. The PC2 program is a more fast paced and intensive experience, just seven weeks in duration despite it covering a number of topics. This year, Wallace has eight students starting their PC2. NVIT has offered a culinary arts program since opening its Centre of Excellence in Sustainability in 2018.
Wallace added that the students in this year’s PC1 program were keen learners, absorbing so much information that the instructor had to adapt the curriculum.
“This group, particularly, they were very keen from the beginning” added Wallace. “As I got to know them, and we got to know each other, I was giving them more and more all the time, and we did a lot, even outside of the curriculum. They were a great group for that for sure.”
For more information on NVIT’s culinary arts program, visit www.nvit.ca.