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Posts Tagged ‘travel

The Culinary Institute of Canada welcomes guest Chef Warren Barr The Pointe Restaurant, Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, Vancouver Island

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Chef Warren and students

Chef Warren Barr and some of the students he worked with during his visit to the CIC

Although Tofino, B.C. and Charlottetown, P.E.I. are about as far apart as two communities can get and still be part of the same country, there are more similarities than differences between the two island towns, making the 75-room Wickaninnish Inn a natural fit for students and graduates of The Culinary Institute of Canada.

Chef Warren Barr, Executive Chef at The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn, spent five summers as executive chef at the Inn at Bay Fortune, in P.E.I., before making his way west. He says the experience helped him to define principles of culinary integrity to which he has adhered ever since.

“At The Inn at Bay Fortune, we had a ‘strictly Canadian’ policy, and worked almost exclusively with local and regional farmers and producers. It gives you an accountability for what’s on the plate. As a chef, you develop a respect for the ingredients when you know the individuals who produce them. You’re a lot less likely to be wasteful with ingredients when you understand how much time and effort someone put into growing them.”

During his summers on P.E.I., Chef Warren developed an interest in The Culinary Institute of Canada, and gained an appreciation for the way the chef instructors prepared students for the profession.

“The students and graduates come into the kitchen ready to roll up their sleeves and take on any task that they are given. They don’t have ‘great expectations’ about where they will fit in the kitchen hierarchy. They are prepared to work hard and learn as much as they can from the rest of the team,” he says.

Chef Warren was back in P.E.I. last weekend to discuss employment opportunities with students seeking summer internships and those preparing to graduate this spring. He brought the Wickaninnish Inn’s Human Resource Manager, Melody McLorie with him.

Melody says the CIC’s students have an exceptional level of talent, and the way the semesters work at the college means that they can stay in their internships until the end of the busy season, whereas students from other cooking schools return to the classroom at the end of August, leaving their employers short-staffed for the busy fall months.

The Wickaninnish Inn employs up to 160 staff and provides staff housing for as many as 88.

“Tofino has a population of about 1,800, so finding housing in the summer would be difficult. We’ve purchased several homes in the area, and set them up as staff residences,” Melody explains.

Each house has a staff member who oversees the daily functioning of the house, sort of a residence assistant, ensuring that everything runs as smoothly as possible in these communal living spaces.

Tofino is not for everyone, Melody adds. The town is five hours north west of Victoria, Vancouver Island, and about three hours from Nanaimo, so access to some amenities is limited. But, as Chef Warren points out, if you’re into bonfires on the beach, and hiking around the beautiful Pacific Northwest, it may be just the place for you.



Written by Sara Underwood

March 1, 2016 at 9:26 am

Eric Young’s Irish Adventure

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Hands-on learning is an important component of all Holland College programs. By combining their classroom learning with skills development, students are able to enter the workforce prepared for the challenges of the job, making them much more attractive to employers than job applicants who have little or no practical experience.

For Eric Young, spending the summer between his first and second year of the Golf Management program on the job was more than a matter of course, it was a chance to travel and, as it turned out, to meet celebrities!

Eric is working at Old Head Golf Links, in Kinsale, Ireland, ranked The Most Spectacular Golf Course by Links magazine.

“I have wanted to visit Europe ever since I can remember,” he said. “On the first day of class, Paul Murnaghan [manager of Golf programs at Holland College] showed us pictures of past students on their internships all over the world. Old Head was one of the locations.

“Golf is a sport that is played pretty much all over the world, and I love to travel. Since I want to get as much experience out of this program as possible, I figured that starting my career in golf at such a world class course would open up great opportunities after I graduate.”

Sometimes, it’s not traveling that’s daunting; it’s making all of the necessary arrangements. Eric said Holland College helped with that.

“If it weren’t for the efforts of Susan Shaw, our college’s internship officer, I don’t think any of this could have happened for me,” he said.

The director of golf at Old Head, Danny Brassil, arranged Eric’s accommodations for him prior to his arrival. He’s staying in the home of the golf course’s accountant.

As a staff member in the Golf Services department, Eric’s duties vary from day to day. He could be working as a starter, a marshal, on range set up, greeting and checking golfers in as they arrive, assisting the director of golf tournaments, or on a variety of other tasks.

“On my days off, I also caddie, which is a great experience and an opportunity to meet people. I am glad Danny Brassil has me moving around all the various departments of the course, as it gives me a chance to learn about all the work that goes into running a golf club from day to day.

“The skills I learned from the Golf Management Program helped me a lot working here at Old Head. Having this internship program between the first and second year gives me a great opportunity to build on the skills I learned this past year in school. Learning the different methods they use to operate golf courses in Europe is knowledge I’ll be able to apply wherever I work.

“The game of golf over here in Ireland is much more difficult. With wind basically every day, and rain and fog most days of the week, there’s not much forgiveness on the golf course! Our caddies tell our North American customers, ‘You’ll add 5 or 6 strokes to your handicap when you play the Old Head’.”

Speaking of North American visitors, Eric met a couple of them recently: former president Bill Clinton and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback “Big Ben” Roethlisberger.

“The day Bill Clinton played Old Head I was assigned to drive around in a cart in front of the Clinton group with the head of Mr. Clinton’s secret service and his head of staff. When Mr. Clinton finished 18 and was heading back to his vehicle, they gave me the opportunity to meet with the former president before he left. I owe all of this to Jim O’Brien our course’s general manager. If he hadn’t assigned me to accompany Mr. Clinton’s staff, I don’t think this could have been possible.

“As for ‘Big Ben’, I was on the opening shift the following morning, and saw the last name ‘Roethlisberger’ on the tee time sheet. I thought it would be something if it really was the Steelers quarterback. Then the rain started, and I forgot all about it. About an hour before the tee time I was standing off to the side at the desk in the pro-shop and in walks the 6’5”, 240-lb Roethlisberger. I don’t think it hit me about who I met until I got home from work, because I was still shell-shocked from meeting Bill Clinton the day before!

“I would easily give my experience here at Old Head 10 out of 10. Having such great co-workers and friends to work with everyday makes going to work a great experience.”

Eric’s still got several weeks left of his internship before he returns to Prince Edward Island to complete the second year of his course. There’s no doubt that by the time he gets back, he’ll have some great stories to tell his classmates.

Written by Sara Underwood

July 12, 2012 at 10:37 am

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.

For more information about Holland College’s golf programs, contact Paul Murnaghan, Golf Program Coordinator, by e-mail at Holland College grads and interns hone their skills at Big Sky or by calling (902) 894-6823, or visit hollandcollege.com. For more information about Big Sky, visit bigskygolf.com.

Written by Sara Underwood

June 28, 2012 at 11:06 am