Holland College Blog

News and views from around the college

Archive for June 2012

Holland College grads and interns hone their skills at Big Sky

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Imagine enrolling in a golf program in Prince Edward Island and three years later finding yourself standing on top of the world…or at least, standing on top of Mount Currie (alt. 8,000 ft.) teeing up to hit the longest drive of your life at Big Sky Golf and Country Club’s breathtakingly beautiful 19th Hole.

For almost a dozen students and graduates of Holland College’s Golf Club Management and Professional Golf Management programs, it’s no fantasy; it’s just the way they roll. They think it’s the ideal place to start their golfing careers and hone the skills and theory they learned at Holland College.

Woody Bishop, Golf Operations Manager and Golf Professional at Big Sky, graduated from Holland College in 2008. He says that his training prepared him well for the golf business.

“I would have to say that over 90 per cent of my daily duties would be related to the Golf curriculum at Holland College. Things such as inventory ordering, open to buy plan, merchandising, controlling inventory levels, financial statements, creating flow plans and budgets, sales projections, record keeping, staff training, customer service training, Jencess training, lesson plans, junior programs and the daily operations of the golf course are all part of my job description that would be definitely all related to courses I took at Holland College.”

Corry Butler, Woody Bishop’s classmate, agrees.

“The three years in the golf program really prepared me to be a well-rounded employee and a jack of all trades when it comes to day to day golf operations.”

Located in Pemberton, British Columbia, Big Sky is the kind of golf course that golf writers love to review. It’s been named One of Canada’s prestigious top twenty golf courses and Top 10 Places to Play in Canada by Golf Digest Magazine and one of the Top 100 Courses In Canada by Score Magazine. Last year alone, Big Sky received ranking in Rolex’s Top 1000 Golf Courses in the World and in the Top 36 Courses in Canada. For Patrick Boles, an intern who will be returning to Holland College to complete the second year of the Golf Club Management program, this is the kind of OJT students dream about.

“To be the best, you need to learn from the best,” he explains. “Holland College and Big Sky gave me that opportunity. Working at Big Sky is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

Only a few women enrol for the college’s golf programs, although Program Coordinator Paul Murnaghan hopes that more will in the future. For women considering a career in the golf business, Murnaghan points to Professional Golf Management 2010 graduate Jess Norris, as an example. Norris, who also works at Big Sky, is thrilled with the training she received.

“I never imagined being so successful in the golf business,” she says. “I have Holland College and Big Sky to thank for that. Holland College laid the foundation and gave me the tools to be successful while Big Sky taught me to implement them and is helping me build my career in the golf industry.”

One wonders why so many of Holland College’s golf programs end up at the same place, so far from Prince Edward Island. The answer’s simple, according to Chris Wallace, General Manager of Big Sky.

“Holland College students have helped set our standards above and beyond in the golf business in western Canada. The students arrive well prepared to handle all the challenges that the golf business presents,” he says.

Written by Sara Underwood

June 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

Culinary Institute of Canada grad competes on Hell’s Kitchen

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Fans of Chef Gordon Ramsey’s reality TV series Hell’s Kitchen tuned in on FOX for the first episode of Season 10 with great anticipation this week. I’d never seen it before, but wanted to watch this time because Roshni Mansukhani-Gurnani, a graduate of The Culinary Institute of Canada, is competing.

Although unfamiliar with the series, I thought I had a vague notion of what it was about: Chef Gordon Ramsey swears at a group of stressed and sweaty chefs, who in turn swear at each other while storm drum music pounds in the background.

Although devotees would probably scoff at my interpretation, I can’t say I saw much to contradict it when I tuned in on Monday night.

Why, I wondered, would a sweet young woman like Rosh want to put herself into that situation? She’s already an executive chef at a private country club in Houston, Texas. She’s even done a television competition before, appearing Food Network’s cooking competition series Chopped a couple of years ago.

“I wanted to challenge myself and my skills,” she explained in a recent telephone interview. And whereas Chopped was taped in a day, Hell’s Kitchen took six weeks to complete.

“The show is actually about 18 chefs competing for the head chef position at Steak, Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant in Las Vegas and $250,000 salary. Along with the competition comes drama yes, however, it is up to one’s self to go along with the harsh behaviour or stay true to what is important to any chef…being a loyal chef, good food and respecting our industry.”

The competitors were sequestered for the entire taping last July. During those six weeks, only their closest family knew where they were. What on earth do you tell your friends and employer?

“I told my close friends that I was traveling with work. I told my work I need six weeks of personal time,” Rosh explained.

So on top of the stress of competing against 17 other chefs and trying to dodge the wrath of Chef Gordon Ramsey, she had to spend 24/7 in the company of strangers for six weeks, incommunicado with the outside world.

“There was an emotional and mental aspect to the competition,” she said. “Living under one roof with the others 24 hours a day gave me insight into their strengths and weaknesses.”

Was that knowledge something she could use against them in the kitchen? That’s not the point in the first part of the competition, she explained.

“The first part is all team work. Knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses enabled us to find a way to work together.”

It seemed to me that the set up in Hell’s Kitchen, where things could grind to a halt at any given moment at the behest of Chef Ramsey, wouldn’t work in a real restaurant kitchen. Rosh agreed.

“I don’t run a kitchen like that, and I wouldn’t work in one like that,” she said emphatically. But when you’re there, in front of the cameras, it all seems very real.

“As a chef, I wasn’t going into character for the camera,” she said. “It wasn’t about being a rock star; it was about my love of cooking. If I wanted to be an actress, I’d go to Hollywood.”

She can’t reveal how she fared on the show because everything’s wrapped in secrecy, of course. In fact, the competitors, some of whom became friends over the course of the taping, were not allowed to contact each other until a couple of weeks ago, and although they are now permitted to discuss the experience in general, they can’t reveal information that would give away the final outcome.

Episode 3 airs on FOX at 9 p.m. tonight, followed the next episode tomorrow night. Tune in to see how things go for Rosh!

Written by Sara Underwood

June 11, 2012 at 8:55 am

Posted in Alumni

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