Annie Petrusa

Annie says she was always a keen eater and used to spend every day after school watching James Barber. She later expanded her culinary knowledge at Dame Barbara-Jo’s Books to Cooks. Annie has traveled in South America and Europe and it was in Turkey, sipping a cup of tea, that she decided total immersion was the way to go and applied to VCC online that afternoon. Annie is enrolled at VCC in the Culinary Arts program.

Shannon Stainsby

When she was young, Shannon’s mother passed on her love of baking, although it wasn’t until she spent a year in France following university that she decided to pursue a career in Pastry. Her employment at Les Amis du Fromage and baking at J.J. Bean Coffee has reinforced her culinary goals and she has found an abundance of shared knowledge, experience and support there. Shannon will enroll in the Baking and Pastry Arts program at VCC.

Elissa Joy Congo

Elissa has worn many hats in her 23 years, but is now enrolled at VCC wearing a tall white chef’s hat. Her passions are people, teaching and food. She will complete her Culinary Arts program at VCC in October and is looking forward to working towards her Red Seal.

Stacy Smith

Stacy originally believed her future lay in the field of social work, but while attending Langara College and working for a number of caterers, she was hooked on a culinary career. Stacy is employed at Major the Gourmet and will be enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at VCC in September.

Sung-Hee Ahn

Sung-Hee’s first experience at food preparation was cooking, and burning, a whole pot of rice at the age of nine! Luckily, her culinary skills improved and after a short career in Interior Design, she came to Canada and followed her ambition to become a chef. Sung-Hee now has her Diploma in Culinary Arts and is apprenticing at The Pear Tree working on her Red Seal.

Melodie Thomas

Inspired by learning the tricks of the trade from a number of home based business women, over the years, Melodie has participated in many cake decorating, baking, design and sugar art courses. This experimenting led to opening a successful wedding and occasion cake business at home. Currently a Product R & D Supervisor with The Original Cakerie, she looks forward to expanding her career in dessert creativity. Melodie’s scholarship will assist in funding her studies in Pastry Boot Camp at the CIA in Hyde Park, New York.

Arlene Kroeker

After more than 20 years pursuing a career in construction and design, Arlene decided to embark on a career in food writing. For the past 10 years she has been creatively informing and entertaining the readers of The Richmond Review. Today she has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in creative writing from UBC and is pursuing a Master’s degree. Arlene also volunteers with the innovative Terra Nova Schoolyard Society which connects young students with earth and food.

Lori Sahlen

Upon graduating from university, Lori’s sights were set on Law School, but traveling and an introduction to people and places around the world in the food and beverage industry changed that for her. After working in the Arctic as a cook for an exploration company, Lori returned to Vancouver and became involved with the film industry and catering. She has worked for many years at Culinary Capers and is now onsite Event Manager. Lori’s choice to pursue her Sommelier certification is an extension of the learning process in this industry. Lori’s scholarship will help to fund her studies with The Wine and Spirits Education Trust.

Katherine van der Gracht

Katherine is a Les Dames scholarship recipient for the second consecutive year, having been awarded the Mission Hill Family Estate Wine Scholarship last year, which funded her introductory course with the International Sommelier Guild. This Les Dames Scholarship will help her in the pursuit of her passion for the food, wine and hospitality industry by continuing her studies of Wine Fundamentals Level 2 with the International Sommelier Guild.

And our special awards from The Northwest Culinary Academy:

Slavita Johnson

Slavita has a Bachelor of Science degree from UBC and has worked in the field of Medical Genetics doing research and development for 5 years. Slavita has baked all her life and has attended baking and cake decorating courses. She is enrolled in the NWCA Professional Pastry and Baking program and her ambition is to become the owner of a cake design or small urban bakery.

Brooke Lodge

Brooke has been lucky enough to always have known what she was meant to do. She credits the women of her childhood with this inspiration. Brooke is currently employed at The Heritage Inn and Spa in Naramata, discovering the local produce and being mentored by Chef Thomas Render. Brooke will continue her studies at Northwest Culinary Academy by specializing in the Pastry and Baking program.

Treve Ring

Treve works as a freelance wine consultant and wine buyer in the Food and Beverage industry. She writes a wine column for Metro Vancouver, EAT magazine and BC Wine Trails amongst others. She conducts wine seminars as well as judging for local and Pacific Northwest competitions. Treve will use her scholarship from the Mission Hill Family Estate towards an advanced diploma with The Wine and Spirits Education Trust this fall.

Cassandra Anderton

Cassandra grew up in the Okanagan Valley and ventured into the wine industry after studying for Level 1 & 2 of her sommelier diploma. She is currently a contributing writer for BC Wine Trails, Vancouver Eating and Drinking Guide and Western Living to name a few. She will utilize her scholarship from The Mission Hill Family Estate to fund the Advanced Level with The Wine and Spirit Education Trust.

Amy Farnsworth

Amy was awarded $500 to continue her studies with The Wine and Spirit Education Trust.