Tina Tang, a graduate of North Island College’s professional cook program and now regarded as one of Canada’s top young chefs, gives chefs in training at the Port Alberni campus a primer on working in the trade. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

Chef returns to North Island College to inspire young cooks

Tina Tang shares her culinary journey since graduating

MIKE YOUDS

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Cooks in training got a little taste of the culinary arts from a Red Seal chef and member of Culinary Team B.C.

Tina Tang, recently ranked as one of Canada’s next star chefs, visited North Island College in Port Alberni earlier this month, giving students a primer on professional life and sharing one of her dessert recipes.

As a member of Culinary Team B.C., the pastry and culinary chef was among six B.C. junior chefs selected to compete next year at the IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, Germany.

Tang grew up in Courtenay and enrolled in the same program, Pro Cook 1 and 2, that is now taught in Port Alberni.

“It’s very humbling actually,” she said. “I definitely wouldn’t be here unless I’d had great mentorship. I’m really honoured to be back.”

She attended the program at the Campbell River campus and six years ago relocated to the Okanagan, taking a position that allowed her to develop her creative skills through mentorship.

“I love the Okanagan. I work at Predator Ridge and I’ve been in the Okanagan for six years now. Because of the company that they are, they are so supportive of what I do.”

Before speaking to the class, Tang prepared her signature dish, Okanagan Peach Cheesecake with Okanagan Spirits Bourbon. She likes to feature the stone fruits so abundant in the Interior, part of her emphasis on using healthy and local ingredients.

“I’m kind of hoping I’m a little bit more relatable,” she said of her return to a classroom, adding that she would one day like to turn to teaching. While the profession is known for its high-pressure and hard work, she stressed the importance of maintaining a work/life balance.

Tang said it was her first-generation Chinese-Canadian parents who piqued her interest in cooking. She recalled how they dispatched live chickens on the kitchen floor and later learned to appreciate the value of fresh foods.

Chef instructor Al Irving said visiting alumna can inspire aspiring chefs.

“We have students starting their Level 1 now who are dual credit students, just like Chef Tang was,” Irving said. “To be able to see where the culinary arts have taken her is very inspiring and show them just how far they can go.”

Tang was recently awarded the Canadian Culinary Federation Western Conference 2018 Chef of the Year as well as the Okanagan Chefs Association Chef of the Year. She is also a nominee for the National Chef of the Year to be awarded at a Canadian Culinary Federation conference in PEI in June.

 

Chef Tina Tang’s signature dish, Okanagan Peach Cheesecake with Okanagan Spirits Bourbon. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Just Posted

Talks continue over new aquatic centre for Alberni Valley

Joint ACRD, City of Port Alberni committee asks for staff report on next steps

BCHL: Bulldogs’ win streak snapped by Powell River Kings

Josh Zary had the lone goal for Port Alberni

Alberni vet heading to Africa with Veterinarians Without Borders

Dr. Roberta Templeton and her vet husband will help dairy farmers in Uganda

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Sail Past lights up Alberni Inlet

Annual Sail Past took place at Harbour Quay

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Most Read