Scholarship contest stirs up interest in Culinary Arts

December 3, 2006 - 4:00pm

Malaspina University-College is trying to entice more cooks into the kitchen.

Debbie Shore, coordinator of Malaspina’s world-renowned Culinary Arts program, and Pam Lewis, who works in student recruitment, have unveiled a scholarship contest to encourage mature students to explore careers in cooking.

They’ll award nine $500 scholarships to mature students (over the age of 19 as of February 2007) who apply for the program’s January 2 intake.

“We’re looking for people who have a keen interest in food, love cooking and enjoy working with their hands,” explained Shore. “Prospective students need to submit an essay – 500 words or less – telling us why you want a career in cooking, and why you deserve the scholarship.”

There’s a growing shortage of professionally trained cooks in kitchens across Canada and beyond, said Shore. With the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2010, industry demand is expected to grow exponentially. “That’s why it’s an ideal time for students to think about a career in culinary arts,” she said.

To help meet the growing demand for trained professionals, Malaspina has made changes to the Culinary Arts program. Students can complete their training in 10 months, instead of 12. A four-month cooperative education component has been added to the program to help students gain hands-on work experience.

“Any student who begins the program January 2 will also be sponsored as an apprentice,” added Shore. “That means they’ll gain hours towards their Red Seal certification.”

The Culinary Arts program is offered in Malaspina’s state-of-the-art teaching kitchen at the Nanaimo campus. Students hone their culinary talents by preparing daily meals for two busy cafeterias, and the Discovery Room fine dining restaurant.

Journeyman chefs can expect to earn over $20 per hour, with top chefs earning up to $80,000 a year, said Shore.  “Many of our Culinary Arts grads combine cooking with travel,” Shore added. “It’s a great way to see the world.”

Malaspina Culinary Arts grads are employed all over the world, at exclusive fishing resorts, the oil patch in Alberta, high-end restaurants such as Diva at the Met in Vancouver, the Fairmont Hotel chain in Victoria and Banff, in Europe and in the United Arab Emirates.

Mature students interested in entering the Culinary Arts entrance scholarship contest must send their essays to by Dec. 20. Include your name, address, phone number, email address and date of birth.

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