Okanagan College launches Indigenous-knowledge infused professional cook training

Okanagan College turns to Indigenous knowledge keepers, chefs and foragers to help incorporate traditional knowledge and practices into an intake of its professional cook training program this spring—and any interested future chefs can step into Okanagan College to learn more.

The program is 50 weeks in length and fires up on March 25. Students will train in the College’s teaching kitchens and labs at the Kelowna campus.

Andrew George, an Apprenticeship Advisor with the ITA and a Red Seal Chef, is working with the College to create a rewarding training experience for students. George is a Hereditary Wing Chief for the Bear Clan in the traditional system of the Wet’suwet’en people. He is dedicated to helping Aboriginal youth access the tools they need to start successful culinary careers.

The pilot program—a first for OC’s Culinary Arts Certificate program—is a partnership between the College, the Industry Training Authority (ITA) BC and Okanagan Training and Development Council.

“For both Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike, this is a great chance to hone their technical skills and expand their knowledge-base as they engage with Indigenous knowledge and techniques in the classroom. It’s going to be an opportunity for dialogue and cultural exchange on multiple levels,” says Anthony Isaac, Aboriginal Services Manager for OC.

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