Rosana Cheng

Rosana has a B.Sc (Major in Food Science) from the University of British Columbia. Her job experience has always been related to foods: Much of her recent work has been with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency -from being a Research Assistant, a Food Analyst, working in food manufacturing plants, to being a Food Specialist.

This scholarship, provided by the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver, is helping Rosana take her first steps into the culinary field as she gains cooking knowledge, skills and techniques. She would like to continue learning and gaining experience in the culinary field. We hear that her work is outstanding!

Rosana’s goal is to promote good family relationships through cooking. In the future, Rosana would like to teach cooking for families and for children from needy families. Teaching basic cooking skills allows children to gain an extra job skill, and also helps a family function more smoothly.
Here’s a young woman whose ideals are lofty and impressive – and are so directed toward “helping others”. We wish her much success as she pursues her goals – using food as a tool for communication and building caring relationships between families and friends.

Barbara Hall

Originally from Cambridge, Ontario, Barbara moved to Whistler, British Columbia where working as a server, she was introduced to the world of wine. The patient teachings of Sommelier Chris Van Nus at Araxi Restaurant and Bar strengthened Barbara’s appreciation for the art of winemaking. One night in a very busy kitchen, she realized that wine and the culinary arts were not so different, and there must a program for training winemakers.
Now Barbara is a third year student at the University of British Columbia – Okanagan Campus, pursuing a degree in Biochemistry in the new Faculty of Oenology and Viticulture. She believes that our Canadian wine industry rests on a passion for wine making, along with great respect for the dedication of those who worked so hard to establish the wine industry in the Okanagan. She also recognizes that an understanding of the science involved, is an increasingly important part of creating fine wines.

Barbara will be one of the first graduates of the UBC-Okanagan , Oenology and Viticulture program. Thus, it’s somehow fitting that her studies will this year will be partly funded through the generosity of one of the Okanagan Valley’s highly recognized wineries and our B.C. Les Dames Chapter’s first Corporate Sponsor-The Mission Hill Family Estate Scholarship.

Our thanks also go, to Mission Hill Winery for contributing such an important scholarship to such a keen and dedicated scholar.

Natalie Jensen

Natalie credits two influences for developing her passion for food… her culinary training, and mentoring by successful women in the culinary field, who possessed both determination, and strength of character. She particularly enjoyed being pastry chef at King Pacific Lodge in the great rain forest, where she was able to pick wild blueberries, huckleberries and salal berries to accompany her desserts.
However, once she read about the University of Gastronomic Sciences Italy, she decided she simply “had to be there”! So she has been studying in the ancient Roman city of Pollenzo, for the last two years. While her courses focus on both technology and science, the program also bridges with the cultural understandings that surround preparing food. Students, therefore gain in a wide-ranging perspective of both old traditions and new discoveries. Thus, Natalie hopes she can become a leader in a revised definition of what “gastronomy will be”.
Les Dames d’Escoffier is delighted to contribute to the tuition fees this year for this unique Gastronomic Sciences Program. We anticipate our Les Dames Scholarship will help push forward a new form of culinary training and new frontiers of knowledge in the culinary world.

Nicole Lebrun

Originally from Ottawa, Nicole moved to Vancouver five years ago when she worked with the Federal Government. She is currently Head of the Modern Languages Department at Mulgrave School, an independent school located in West Vancouver.
Nicole has always had a passion for the culinary arts and has taken several interest courses. Two years ago, however, she started a “Cooking for Kids” club at her school, where the group meets weekly to experiment with new recipes and cooking techniques. Students are also encouraged to bring in recipes from their family heritage to share with the class. Dining etiquette and fire safety are also included and the entire community gets involved. The club has been oversubscribed in the two years since it began, As much as Nicole enjoys sharing her passion for cooking with her students, she has felt the need to acquire more skills in food preparation.
Thus, Nicole’s Les Dames Scholarship will allow her to enroll in the eight-day “Serious Food Program” at the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver this fall. We commend her for beginning such an innovative extracurricular school program, and for her willingness to share her time creativity and energy in promoting the love of good food with students at her school.

Sara Redpath

The diverse paths that young women take as their passion for food develops, are always inspiring! Sara Redpath, a scholarship winner who attends Malaspina University College is an example of this journey.

Sara originally majored in Political Science, and Faith, Peace and Justice, in an interdisciplinary program at Boston College.
She’s worked with the poor in El Salvador trying to understand, what & how those who “have” can share with those who “have not”. She came away from this experience realizing that pursuing her interest in food could also be an outlet for contributing to society and the world.
Thus, she and her husband moved to Vancouver Island, and she enrolled in culinary school, at Malaspina. She is a great volunteer, with a long list of food related events in which she has participated. Our Les Dames scholarship will help Sara continue her training. We anticipate that as Sara’s career unfolds, she will combine her for passion food with her strong interest in social justice in some very impressive ways.

Heather De Savoye

Heather is a student specializing in Wine Marketing and Management at INSEEC Bordeaux (Institut des Hautes Etudes Economiques et Commerciales). She has completed her required course work for a Masters of Business Administration. Presently, she is writing her thesis and will be returning to Bordeaux to present and defend her work in September 2006. Heather’s Les Dames’ Scholarship will assist with the fees for this unique program.
Heather currently holds the Diploma with the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and in addition, is an accredited WSET Wine Educator who is able to teach all levels of the WSET curriculum. She plans to enroll in the Master of Wine Institute beginning her coursework in London next January 2007.

Heather worked for a leading wine import and distribution company in Vancouver called Calibrium International, as a sales representative for three years. Currently, she works as a wine consultant for a start-up winery in the Okanagan Valley.
Utilizing her MBA in Wine Marketing, her specialist wine knowledge and her international experience, Heather’s goal is to focus her expertise on building profitable wine brands, and becoming a respected industry leader. We all wish Heather much success as her career unfolds.

Elora Merri Schwartz

Merri Schwartz credits her childhood with awakening her interest in baking. Raised by back-to the land hippies, she didn’t buy her first bag of refined, granulated sugar until the age of 18, but learned, in a kitchen filled with carob, honey, and whole wheat flour, that everything could, and should, be homemade. She is still influenced by heirloom techniques and old-fashioned recipes.

Inspired by a trip to Paris at the age of 20, Merri completed a degree in Visual Art at the University of Toronto and traveled extensively in South America before returning to Vancouver to fulfill her dream of becoming a pastry chef.

Currently pastry chef at C Restaurant, Merri’s side-projects include a weekend apprenticeship at Cocoa West Chocolatier, on Bowen Island, and developing her sustainability-focused organization, Growing Chefs! : Chefs for Children’s Urban Agriculture.

With her Les Dames scholarship, Merri will travel to the Valrhona Institute, in France, to complete a professional development program in plated desserts and chocolate. The Valrhona program focuses on refining technique, while introducing innovative applications – a balance Merri hopes to instill in her future endeavors. We anticipate we will be hearing more about Merri Schwartz as her career unfolds.

Ricci-Leigh Smith

Ricci-Leigh has clearly indicated her passion for working with food. She attributes her love of culinary arts as coming directly from her home, as at an early age she would observe her mother’s ability to create wonders in the kitchen. Through these experiences, she was taught the fundamentals of cooking.

Ricci has gained experience in the culinary world by working for a catering company in Arizona, but has also found the business side of the industry intriguing. In 2005 she began her studies in the Culinary Arts Program at Vancouver Community College. Currently, she sits at the top of her class and enjoys every unit of the course. Our Les Dames scholarship will help Ricci to continue her training at VCC this coming year.
While Ricci is working towards obtaining her Red Seal, she is extremely excited to see what the future may hold.

Alison Sutherland-Mann

Alison is a mature student from Fort Nelson, B.C., who is currently attending Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek, at the Level II of her Culinary Training Program. She is also our first scholarship winner from Northern British Columbia.

Alison’s instructors commend her for dedication and enthusiasm during her program and for achieving excellent grades. Though she is participating a full-time culinary program, running from 7:00am-2:30pm, she also working to finance her studies until 10:00 pm at night – ”with the same level of excellence she brings to her studies”.

We were impressed as we read Alison’s application, with the contributions she as made to her community over a period of 20 years, ranging from Director of The Chamber of Commerce – Special Event for 8 years, to Coordinating the Williams Lake Children’s Festival for 12 years, to Directing the International Food Festival.

Alison is clearly an outstanding team player, as well as a skilled leader. We commend Alison for the effort and energy, she is putting forth to advance her career in new ways!

Katherine Van Der Gracht

Katherine attributes her love of the culinary arts to her year spent in France when she moved to Paris, after graduating with a BFA in acting from the University of Victoria. Her long term goals are to combine her passions for food, and for wine, by opening her own catering company.

On returning to Canada, Katherine has been eager to discover more about local produce, flavors and wines, so she has spent considerable time in the hospitality industry. Her enthusiasm for cooking, and her dedication to furthering her knowledge of wines, remains. And her experience as a fine-dining server, has led her to frequently test and develop new recipes of her own through her weekly Sunday Night Dinners. The pairing of wine with food, specifically of the French and Italian persuasion, has become one of her most favored pastimes.

However, Katherine also believes strongly in giving back to the community so currently she is a fundraiser and marketer for CHIMO Crisis Services in Richmond – a non-profit organization. Her marketing experience should serve her well, as she expands her interest in the fields of hospitality and fine beverages.

Les Dames is fortunate to be able to award a Mission Hill Family Estate Wine Scholarship, to Katherine. She will using her Scholarship to fund her introductory program with the International Sommelier Guild. We all wish her well and thank the Mission Hill Winery for their generosity.

Pamela Xuereb

Pamela was introduced to the kitchen as a child, when her mother baked and decorated specialty and wedding cakes. Working in her mothers restaurant gave her an all-round view of how a restaurant works, from server to cook.
She has now gained valuable experience at The Art Institute of Vancouver, Dubrulle Culinary Arts. She wishes to use her scholarship to continue her education in the fall at Vancouver Community College where she will extend her knowledge of the theory and practice of this craft. As a scholarship recipient, she will use the money to help fund her education this coming year. Following that, she would like to complete an apprenticeship and earn her Red Seal. She hopes to travel and continue her education in Europe, compete on the Canadian Pastry Team, and eventually open her own business.