Instructor at NAIT – Executive Chef at CHIP Hospitality
Like a growing number of consumers, NAIT instructor Hong Chew ( Culinary Arts ’93), the Canadian Culinary Federation Edmonton’s Outstanding Member of the Year for 2011, wants to know not only where but how the food was grown, harvested, stored and shipped.
“I don’t specifically follow the 100-mile diet, although most of the things sold at farmers’ markets come from within 100 miles,” he says.
Noting that British Columbia berries, fruit and seafood greatly expand our menu in a short-summer province whose winter fare leans to root vegetables, he adds, “I believe food should transcend provincial borders, and I’m a big supporter of anything Canadian.
Ernest’s, the dining room where culinary arts and hospitality management students cut their teeth, now uses 30 per cent local fare and is aiming for 50 per cent, Chew says. “We’re doing it gradually in baby steps, trying to switch key products over.”
Incoming students are fueling the shift, Chew adds. His colleagues are interested as well, but many are focused on covering set curriculum rather than scouting out local producers.
Indeed, featuring the people behind the food is one of the keys to promoting local, Chew says.
Instructor, Culinary Arts
Born and raised in a small village on the shores of Lake Huron, Ontario, Chef Allan Roote’s formative culinary training took place at Toronto’s Humber College, where he learned the basics of classical cuisine. This led to a host of international professional opportunities before coming to NAIT.
» Stratford’s “The Church” restaurant » Upper New York State’s Brozini Restaurant, where he mastered the fine art of Mediterranean cooking » Edmonton’s famed Chateau Lacombe and Canadian Pacific Hotel Macdonald » Hotel Vancouver’s exclusive Roof Restaurant » English Bay’s Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House » Wellington, New Zealand’s Kimble Bents at the Park Royale » Victoria, BC’s McMorran’s Restaurant at Cordoba Bay » Edmonton’s Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, where he worked as Chef Mario Mathieu’s Executive Sous Chef. In this position, he was extensively involved in the hands-on instruction of aspiring apprentice cooks.
Along the way, Chef Roote added the following certifications to his resume:
» Cheesemaking Certificate program from the University of Vermont, USA » Cheesemaking Technology program from the University of Guelph, Canada
Allan’s reputation, extensive work experiences, and the respect and admiration of his culinary peers were valued assets when he was selected for an instructional position with NAIT’s Culinary Arts program. Since joining NAIT, he has been a positive influence on aspiring students.