Leanne Bentley

After completing the baking and pastry course at VCC, Leanne apprenticed at the Sutton Place Hotel as an apprentice and competed in Skills Canada winning Gold in B.C. and Silver in Canada. On a trip to Paris, Leanne became mesmerised by the beautiful patisseries and chocolate shops and has decided to further her knowledge and training. She looks to refine and develop her skills in the world of chocolate by taking the Master of Chocolate program on Bowen Island.

Anya Spethmann

An academic advising fluke led Anya to take introduction to oenology and viticulture instead of organizational behaviour. Instantly smitten, she persuaded her employer to reduce her week to four days so she could spend the other three working in the tasting room of a Niagara winery. After moving to Vancouver, Anya worked in retail sales at Marquis Wine Cellars before combining her background in business communications with her love of things vinous at a wine agency and is currently marketing manager for International Cellars. Anya is enrolled in the WSET Diploma program and will use her scholarship to pursue the designation of French Wine Scholar at the French Wine Society’s annual conference at the Embassy in Washington, DC.

Tina Bacon

Tina is a mother of three who loves to share her passion for baking whether it be baking for a caterer or cafe, teaching a class or simply watching the pleasure on someone’s face as she shares with them something she’s made. Great ingredients, good techniques and lots of love go into everything she bakes. Tina has been baking since she was a little girl in her mother’s kitchen and is primarily self taught. After years of wishing for a job she loved rather than one that just paid the bills, she got her opportunity. Tina hopes to expand her knowledge for her customers and fine tune her skills through the Pastry Training Center of Vancouver with Chef Marco Ropke.

Ashlyn Walsh

Ashlyn has been working in the wine industry for the past 5 years in various roles; cellar hand, wine educator, fine wine sales and now trade marketing. Having spent summers in the Okanagan, the local wine industry was not foreign to Ashlyn but her experience with WSET courses have opened her eyes to the entire world of wine. Now Ashlyn will continue her WSET courses at the Diploma level with her Les Dames d’Escoffier scholarship. In the future Ashlyn hopes to eventually teach wine education courses and share her passion for wine with others.

Alice Chai

Alice has a strong background in science and a passion for food. She pursued a food science degree from UBC and has worked in research, product development and quality assurance. Now her love for making desserts has taken over. Currently working for the Original Cakerie, Alice will use her scholarship to attend the CIA and attend their pastry ‘Boot Camp’.

Chloe Pedersen

She is 23 years old and is currently living in Kelowna. She will be attending the Barry-Callebaut academy in Montreal and looks forward to advancing her skills. She hopes to work around the world in different places and different settings.

Eliana Bray

Eliansa is currently attending the Arts Institute of Vancouver and is enrolled in the WSET Diploma. She has worked in the wine and food industry for many years, both in the Okanagan and Vancouver. Because of a love for the wine industry, she continues to learn and hopes to become a Master of Wine. Thanks to Mission Hill and Les Dames d’Escoffier that dream is one step closer.

Tanya Jennens

Born and raised in Kelowna, Tanya loves to be surrounded by the orchards and the vineyards. Though Red Seal certified, Tanya turned to her true calling of pastry and finds herself most happiest when designing and decorating cakes. With her own hand made preserves from the fruit grown in her organic garden, Tanya knows she has a leg up on the competition but looks forward to continuing to learn at the CIA. After the Wedding Cake design course at the CIA, Tanya plans to make her part time Wedding Cake design company into a full time career and thanks the Les Dames d’Escoffier for this amazing opportunity.

Leah Learmonth

Leah grew up in the Okanagan and works at Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar in downtown Kelowna. She is very dedicated to being successful in the kitchen and thrives on learning new techniques. She is a second year culinary apprentice and will be using her scholarship to attend the Vancouver Pastry Training Center to purse a future in bread making.

Mari Copon

Mari has had a love for food and a passion for the culinary arts since before she can even remember. Being a young mother and wife gave her the opportunities to allow her creativity to flow through birthday cakes, family dinners and after school snacks. However, this lifestyle had also held her back from pursuing her dreams of attending culinary school. The Les Dames scholarship has brought her dreams to a reality and she will attend culinary school at VCC. She is excited to be able to share her own skills and talent with the rest of the world.

Alyssa Belter

Alyssa was a voracious reader growing up in St Albert, Alberta. She particularly enjoyed reading cookbooks. However, she was woefully inexperienced at the art of actual cooking. It wasn’t until grade 12 that she proudly learned how to scramble eggs. While attending the University of Victoria Alyssa realized she would need to learn to cook more than scrambled eggs to survive. This led to further exploration of new tastes and ingredients found at specialty food stores, farmers markets, restaurants and even the internet. But Alyssa is not only interested in cooking; cheese making, charcuterie, writing and farming also peak her interest. She will be attending Northwest Culinary with her scholarship and looks forward to discovering how she will continue to participate in our hopefully sustainable community.

Sheila Whittaker

Sheila grew up in the Okanagan Valley as the wine region grew up around her. She left Osoyoos to pursue a Bachelor in Journalism and from there traveled, lived and worked in Japan, Greece, Ireland and Scotland before returning to B.C. On her website and blog RubySuitcase.com, she writes about her passions: wine and culinary travel. In addition to Ruby Suitcase, she has contributed to Edible BC’s Amuse Bouche blog, the Georgia Straight and Vendor Magazine. She has been writing professionally for ten years and has also completed her WSET levels one through three. Like her appetite for great food and wine, her thirst for knowledge is also insatiable. She would like to thank Les Dames d’Ecoffier and Mission Hill Family Estate for the Scholarship so she can continue to study wine in the Master Sommelier introductory course.

Angelina Theilmann

Angelina grew up with time split between Vancouver and a small Gulf Island. Her background includes a Bachelor of Arts from McGill and three years spent in event planning, most recently with VANOC. Through it all she has always loved everything to do with nutritious, healthy and delicious food. Influential food highlights so far include picking enormous raspberries on the Gulf Islands, Mediterranean food, farmers markets and buckwheat. Good healthy food has always been central to Angie’s experiences and she would like to find ways for others to enjoy this same experience regardless of income, age, or ethnic background. She is currently enrolled in the UBC Farm’s “Sowing Seeds for the Future” practicum which will help her achieve this goal by providing a firsthand understanding of small scale organic food production, the foundation on which her vision of food-access is built.

Holly Kernohan

Holly has just graduated from Crawford Bay Elementary-Secondary School in the Kootneys. From an early start at the local Golf Resort, Holly was fascinated with the cooks and all that they did. So they decided to train her on deep fryer, salads and appetizers. This lead to a line cooks position the next season. With her scholarship from Les Dames and Northwest Culinary Academy she will be attending the one year Culinary and Pastry-Bread program in September. She is very interested in furthering her education and excited to learn more and more.