Welcome to Kelsey Fitzgerald, junior member of CCFCC Regina, originally CCFCC Winnipeg.
Please read below about her experience while on the Saputo Culinary Exchange in 2015.
Juniors – please visit ccfcc.ca for more information about this year’s exchange – taking place in the beautiful province of Quebec!
Hello, fellow readers! My name is Kelsey Fitzgerald and I am a junior member of the CCFCC Regina branch, a transfer from my original branch in Winnipeg. I was pleased to be asked by our Western Junior representative, Tina Tang, if I would write this piece detailing my experiences and what became of the junior culinary exchange 2015. I was incredibly excited to hear of her plans for a Junior Mise blog and jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this new endeavour by sharing my experiences on the once in a lifetime experience that was the culinary exchange.
The junior culinary exchange, sponsored by the CCFCC and Saputo brought four students from different provinces all together for a whirlwind two weeks in Regina and Saskatoon. These two weeks were filled with stages, restaurant tours, visits to local farms and breweries, fishing, and foraging for wild chanterelles. There was a large emphasis on local product and displaying the large contributions that Saskatchewan makes to the global food scene.
These two weeks took four strangers and brought them together under the supportive guidance of some of the best chef mentors a junior could ask for. Their hospitality and genuine display of interest and care in the four of us was incredible. The senior/junior chefs from the Regina branch and Saskatoon branch were incredible, I know how grateful we all were to have the opportunity to connect with other chefs outside of our home branches. These are professional friendships that will follow us through the rest of our careers.
Above all else, the biggest impact this exchange had on me was that it led me right to my next career endeavour. We spent two days staging at Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar in Regina. Two days was all it took, I was hooked. This restaurant exuded talent, passion, integrity, and an emphasis on locally sourced products. It was greatly inspiring and I knew, after just 2 short days, this was somewhere I needed to be. Under the guidance of Chef Jonathan Thauberger and Sous Chef James Hanna, we continue to strive for excellence along with a heavy emphasis on learning and pushing yourself. I consider myself extremely lucky to work with a group of people who are so passionate about food, it’s a dream come true. Something that gets said often is “It’s all about the plate!” These are 5 great words to live by.
In closing, all of this was made possible by the culinary exchange which wouldn’t have happened without the continued support of the CCFCC and Saputo. This program is inspiring and changing the lives of our young culinarians year after year. I am proud to say that I am a part of a national organization that brings chefs and cooks together to continually learn from and inspire each other.
Please visit our Facebook page Culinary Exchange 2015 for some great pictures and write ups that we posted throughout our adventures! To other juniors out there, don’t hesitate to apply for this once in a lifetime opportunity, you will not regret it!