Algonquin College launches unique Indigenous cook pre-apprenticeship program

Algonquin College

A unique one-year program started this week for 20 pre-apprentices from across Canada.

Over the next year, participants will learn the typical skills expected from a cook pre-apprenticeship, such as food theory, knife skills, classical kitchen language, and practical food preparation – the unique part of the program is how these skills are applied. Participants will receive opportunities to prepare traditional Indigenous meals, with opportunities to cook game meat including beaver and moose.

The Indigenous Cook pre-apprenticeship program is designed to prepare learners with the base of knowledge needed to pursue a Cook apprenticeship or other studies. The program starts with 15 weeks of skills upgrading, followed by 12 weeks of in-school Level 1 apprenticeship training, and finally an eight-week work placement in the Ottawa food services industry.

This pre-apprenticeship offering was developed through a unique partnership led by Wes Wilkinson, Academic Manager for Algonquin College’s School of Hospitality and Tourism. Supporting him to bring it to life with Indigenous content are consultants like Chef Marie-Cecile Nottaway of Wawatay Catering, and instructors like Julie Baily.

“I am pleased to see there is interest in this unique program,” said Wilkinson. “The feedback and response from the Indigenous community – across the country – has been overwhelmingly positive, as a means of reconnecting with their traditions while receiving valuable skills they can bring back to their communities or to the culinary industry. Algonquin College thanks our Indigenous community partners for their support and acknowledges their participation in the development of this program.”

Read more here.