'My line of work is also a life skill. People need to eat. They should enjoy what they eat'
Q: What is your education and background?
A: I have been working in the hospitality industry for over 27 years, having graduated from Vancouver Community College in 2001. I started my apprenticeship in Vitre, France, in the Brittany region, then continued in Vancouver, B.C., at the Westin Bayshore Hotel. I have competed in many competitions winning multiple awards including the Grand Gold Award at the Salon du Chocolat in 2005. I then moved on to work at Chocolate Arts to learn more about chocolate. Returning back to France, I attended a short pastry class at the Paul Bocuse Institut in Lyon. I moved to the Okanagan in 2007, gained a Provincial Instructors Diploma, and started working as the Pastry Arts Instructor at Okanagan College.
Q: What is your area of interest?
A: Chocolate, plated desserts, frozen desserts.
Q: When did you know you had found your discipline?
A: My mother and grandfather taught me about cooking and restaurants and a very early age. I have worked in restaurants since I was 14.
Q: Why did you choose to work at Okanagan College?
A: Having worked for some of the best restaurants and hotels in the valley, I became the Pastry Arts instructor at Okanagan College in 2014. I was asked to apply for the position by Chef Bernard Casavant. I always enjoyed the teaching and training aspect of working in kitchens.
Q: What do you like most about the work you do?
A: I really enjoy watching the students progress throughout the year in foundation. Having students come back for the different levels of apprenticeship and watching them progress in their careers.
Q: Favourite teaching experience?
A: Having my foundation students come back to complete their Level 3 to achieve their Red Seal certification.
Q: Who gave you the best advice you ever received?
A: My grandfather and mother. They gave me my work ethic. Chef Grimmeaux, he refined my work ethic by showing me a more refined, higher quality of cuisine. It was a very small, high-end, fast-paced restaurant and this made my work more organized and efficient.
Q: What advice do you have for new students?
A: Always be learning. Never stop.
Q: Why do you think people should study Pastry Arts?
A: My line of work is also a life skill. People need to eat. They should enjoy what they eat. I have had students not progress to become bakers or pastry chefs, but they still get to learn a life skill.
Q: If you could go back in time, is there anything you would do differently?
Q: Where are you the happiest?
A: Other than with my daughter, in the kitchen or bakery.
How sweet it is! Learn how local products like premium wines, beers and spirits can pair with a finished dessert or baked good, or become an ingredient in your confections. Pastry Arts students prepare baked goods with all the best the Okanagan has to offer, from fruits, vegetables, herbs and organically grown grains that are milled in-house.