March 7, 2013 - 6:31am

Cactus Club Cafe’s renowned Executive Chef Rob Feenie wowed Vancouver Island University’s Culinary students on Thursday, March 7, when he visited the university’s Nanaimo campus to officially announce the “Cactus Club Cafe Culinary Award presented by Executive Chef Rob Feenie”.

Cactus Club Cafe is partnering with VIU to establish a $1,000 annual educational award for VIU’s Culinary students for the next three years. VIU's Foundation has committed to matching the funds, which means another $1,000 per year for the students.

During the afternoon event, Chef Feenie also shared his in-depth knowledge of the culinary world with the students, giving a cooking demonstration on how to prepare Braised Lamb Ravioli. The students were then presented with a complimentary signed copy of his new cookbook.

To further support VIU’s Culinary students, Cactus Club Cafe Nanaimo auctioned off the restaurant’s famous 15 year old resident moose head at a private evening reception, raising an additional $3,000 for the culinary students.

“It’s an honour for me to be here on behalf of Cactus Club Cafe to help announce this partnership with Vancouver Island University’s Culinary Program,” said Chef Feenie. “As one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People and a large employer of Red Seal certified chefs, we’re passionate about supporting the next generation of culinary leaders.”

Chef Debbie Shore, Chair of VIU’s Culinary Department, said the new award is great for the students. “The cost of pursuing a post-secondary education continues to rise and it’s partnerships like this that will help ensure every student can continue their studies,” said Chef Shore. “This event was also fun for our Culinary students, who were thrilled to have an internationally recognized Chef in their midst and the opportunity to meet him and learn from his demo.”

VIU’s Culinary program is recognized across Canada for producing well-trained, creative and passionate cooks, many whom continue on to become respected chefs. The university’s Culinary instructors are routinely contacted by industry partners looking for skilled cooks to fill vacant positions. Many VIU graduates go on to distinguished careers in five -star hotels, fine dining restaurants, private clubs and test kitchens. Others find success opening their own restaurants. For more information about the program contact Chef Shore at debbie.shore@viu.ca or 250.740.6137.

Tags: In the Community

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