Saturday, March 24, 2012

George Brown College Chef School: The Marriage of Food & Wine

This past Friday March 23 was The Chef School's Marriage of Food & Wine event at George Brown College where second-year culinary management students showcase their knowledge and expertise in preparing delicious food to pair with some of Ontario's finest wines from the likes of Henry of Pelham Family Estate, Magnotta, and Lailey. It was a perfect event for the chef students to showcase their own culinary masterpieces to friends and family at this event which has been running since 2001.

And I got to see the students' creativity first hand because I volunteered for this special event with the Dean's Recognition Program.

I would like to share some of the pictures I took along with my friend who accompanied me in volunteering. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Speaking of the Dean

As I concluded my previous post regarding the John Walker Scholarship, I had the opportunity to volunteer for the event surrounding his retirement party with other industry experts and faculty members of the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts. I had the responsibility of greeting guests and offering them the choice of red, white, and sparkling wine for this special occasion.

Prior to the event, I had no prior knowledge about this mysterious man, Mr Walker, only that he was the Dean, and a highly respected individual in the Hospitality and Culinary Arts industry in the city of Toronto and Canada as a whole. Being there at the reception event and hearing his peers make speeches about the wonderful things he has not only done for the school and the city, but for the entire industry as well. He appeared to be such an influential person and had inspired many others with his innovations and even someone I would look up to in terms of being successful and accomplishments.

Innovation. That brings me back to my Ryerson days completing my Entrepreneurship and Innovation Studies Minor to go along with my Marketing Management Major. I have always had a dream, a goal to run my own business, and I still intend to do so in the future. But back to the Dean and innovation, one of it being the Dean`s Recognition Program, which I am a proud member of. The program gives us an exciting opportunity to gain additional industry experience, help out fellow students, and contribute to the continued growth of George Brown College. I have had the opportunity to volunteer at the student orientation for the January intake of new students; and other industry events at the school and look forward to many more, including the upcoming event, The Marriage of Food and Wine... exciting!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Transition From University Graduate to Today

I never had any idea on what to do with this new blog I had created after graduation other than it being used as part of my personal website: However, that failed to materialize due to the unforeseen difficulties with the hosting site and now I am thinking of using this to showcase myself to you. That means a weekly post about me or my current status, or my previous experiences and projects that I would love to share with you as well.
I don't know how it all began but I have always had the travel bug in me. I wonder if it's from all the family road trips as a kid my parents would take me and my sister around the North-Eastern parts of the States. I was well accustomed and trained for sitting in a car for long periods of time without much fuss. Even if most of our adventures were just across the border, I felt lucky to visit new places and try different things out while there; whereas some of my friends never really got the chance to leave our country.

As I got older, and air travel was becoming more common for myself for travel, the excitement of flying never really does get old. Being 35,000ft in the sky, soaring to your destination in a blink of an eye, it's magical. No matter how many times I have flown, the most exciting part is when I'm sitting in my seat, the plane lined up with the runway, and the engines begin to full thrust for takeoff. The roar, the sheer power from the engines, as the plane raced towards the end of the runway as the wheels slowly rise above the ground. That moment, when you're in the air. It never gets old.

After finishing university, I had the opportunity to travel with my cousin to Asia; particularly Hong Kong and Seoul, S. Korea. It was his first time travelling abroad, but that didn't phase me as I thought of myself as a well-season tourist of HK (visiting 2 times in the previous 3 years). Through our exciting and fun adventures as well as encountering a dismal food poisoning (the both of us), traveling in a foreign country can't really be replaced or taught without experiencing it first hand.

Coming back to Toronto from vacation, I was having job interviews with illustrious companies such as CB Richard Ellis, Deloitte, P&G to name a few; but in the end, nothing really clicked whether on their end, or on my end. Yes, I could have been hired and been working full time within a week behind a desk and computer, but there was something in me calling out. The passion to travel and to see the world.
I searched whatever options I could think of:
  1. Teach English in Korea
  2. Work Abroad
  3. Hospitality/Tourism College
  4. Go Travel More
  5. Get a Job
The teaching English in Korea was enticing, I had even planned my previous trip to include Korea so I could see around and experience the Korean culture. However the language barrier and the complications of applying on my own or through a recruiting agency was extremely difficult. 
The working abroad idea came to my head when I was 18 or 19 at the time when I first heard of SWAP Canada and their work abroad programs, I was extremely excited about. 

The Hospitality/Tourism field had interested me during my time at Ryerson, even at times questioning myself whether or not I made the right decision in doing my business program; and even took the introductory Hospitality Tourism course as an elective. I had friends doing the program from different schools and they all had great things to say about the industry, their program, and their jobs.
The travel more idea? Being a recent grad with a ton of student debts and already coming back from a trip to Asia, very unlikely. Disappointing but true.

All this leads to now. After completing my first semester at George Brown College studying in their Hospitality, Tourism, Leisure Diploma Program, I have already learned a ton from my instructors and peers, and involved myself with school events and clubs. Just recently, I was selected as the recipient of the John Walker Scholarship for academic excellence and involvement in the community and school. John Walker being the Dean for the Centre of Hospitality and Culinary Arts, I feel extremely honoured to win this prestigious award.