Amber Varner – NWCA

Amber is a SFU graduate who has always loved food more than anything else. Three years ago she started working at Les Amis du Fromage in Vancouver because she wanted to learn more about food and wine, which solidified her desire to have a career in the food industry. Following her passion for baking and pastry, Amber is excited for the opportunity to attend NWCA and to learn more about what she loves.

Kris Salazar – NWCA

Kris is 25 yrs old and just recently moved to B.C. Her hobbies are reading, travelling and trying out new cuisines and restaurants. Her passion for food started when her grandmother let her help out in the kitchen as a little girl. In 2009 Kris got a chance to attend a four month cooking and baking skills course in Manilla, Philippines, and she knew she wanted to pursue a culinary career. Kris is looking forward to continuing to learn at NWCA.

Evelynn Takoff – Mission Hill 

Growing up and being exposed to the beauty of the Okanagan Valley has shaped Evelynn’s desire for knowledge. Surrounded by orchards and vineyard, her aspirations to become a well rounded and knowledgeable chef grew. Being able to understand how the grapes are grown and processed, as well as the development of an educated palette, would be a great addition to her growth. In the future, she hopes to teach others and perhaps own and operate her own restaurant. She would like to thank Mission Hill Family Estate Winery for helping her with this opportunity.

Jody Melchert – Mission Hill

Although still in her twenties, Jody already has twelve years of hospitality industry experience behind her. With an extensive resume in serving and bartending in Australia, England and Canada, Jody has recently turned her focus to wine study and restaurant management. She began her formal wine studies while also capitalizing on a working education at Liberty Wine Merchants. Now as Wine Director and General Manager of Au Petit Chavignol, Jody has begun study towards an ISG Level III Sommelier Diploma, generously supported by Mission Hill. Her long term goals include Master of Wine and a career in winemaking.

Gloria Chang – PICA –WSET 

Gloria is a Vancouver writer and broadcaster. Her childhood was filled with the aromas of her mother’s Korean cooking, no all good smells to the uninitiated. But her true passion for wine started with a love story, by the setting sun overlooking the banks of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City. Today, Gloria is planning to combine her passion for the culinary arts, with her established communication skills – to bring the importance of shared meals with family and friends as part of a life that’s healthy, sustainable and pleasurable. Thanks to PICA Gloria will soon start her Intermediate Studies in wine and spirits and perhaps in the future… a restaurant, a lounge, an educator.

Cara Lorimer – PICA

Cara is 17 years old and is a girl on a mission. At a young age, Cara found herself very interested in how the pastry chef’s were able to create such elaborate cakes and cupcakes, wishing that one day she could do the same. She started baking cakes for friends birthdays and making cookies for her class. On the side of this budding passion, Cara was playing sports at a competitive level, such as soccer, volleyball and track. During the summer of 2010, Cara chose a deferent path: Vegan baking. After high school graduation, Cara is thrilled to be attending PICA and looks forward to following her dreams… and to finally learn how those pastry chefs are able to make such elaborate cakes.

Sarah Morten – PICA

Culinary school has been a dream of Sarah’s from a very young age. In high school she was able to truly explore her culinary passion by entering cooking competitions including ‘Skills Canada’ where she was awarded bronze in the Provincials. She has had the opportunity to work at Dundarave Fish House, New Westminster Boat House and currently at Wings Tap and Grill in Coquitlam. She enjoys ‘playing around’ in the kitchen and currently the administrative side of the restaurant. She is looking forward to attending PICA and ‘officially’ beginning her culinary career.

Wendy Barrett

Wendy is the creator and developer of a culinary program called ‘a passion for pears’. On an annual basis, Wendy teaches this program in 50 different culinary schools across Canada. When she is not touring, Wendy teaches foodie seminars in the Lower Mainland. Wendy is a self taught cook but wants to keep growing and expanding her knowledge. With assistance from Les Dames, Wendy will be taking an International cooking class at the Art Institute and looks forward to learning new skills.

Jenna Angle

Jenna grew up in Salmon Arm and comes from a family that loves to cook. From her high school Culinary Ace-it Instructor to Thompson Rivers University Jenna found inspiration. After graduation she had the opportunity to work in Whistler at the Fairmont Chateau and now with Chef Casavant at Monteo Resort in Kelowna. She continues to grow, learn and succeed. With her scholarship from Les Dames she will finish her level three apprenticeship and continue to strive for excellence.

Adriana I Bonzano

Adriana pursued a technical wine degree at the University of Bordeaux, where she also enjoyed learning the basics of food and wine pairing. Always a keen student, she is currently continuing her wine education at the Sommelier Diploma level under Dame DJ Kearney, and wishes to thank Les Dames for their generous support. She loves to participate in wine and food events, and eventually hopes to work in a winery or wine cellar.

Mildred German – Pedersen Rentals

Born and raised in the Philippines, Mildred learned from childhood the value of food from her family and her people. She believes food is very vital to communities and is a means of survival. When she immigrated to Canada, Mildred remained passionate and inspired by food. She volunteered for Farm Folk City Folk, graduated from the culinary arts program at VCC and currently is working for UBC Food Services while attending VCC Culinary Management Diploma program. Inspired by the hard working women in the food industry Mildred is grateful to Les Dames for her scholarship and plans to continue to study nutrition and sustainability.

Fumiko Moreton

Fumiko is a top graduate of PICA, an apprentice from Fairmont Airport and currently the pastry chef at Terminal City Club. She is more than passionate about pastry; she has won numerous competitions on her own as well as medals as part of culinary team B.C. She is currently a coach for the Junior Culinary Team Canada who very recently came home with Gold. Fumiko will be going to Chicago to learn how to make her own molds which will not only benefit her but Team Canada and the junior team.

Ashley Barrette

Ever since Ashley can remember, food has been a driving force in her life. She comes from a large French/Irish Canadian family that would make up any reason just to gather and feast. She was easily bitten by the baking bug when she was hired as a pastry assistant. Four years ago at the age of 21, Ashley was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. She had to give up the one thing she’s been certain of for a long time, the job that satisfied and pushed her. But hopefully the Callebaut Chocolate Academy will be the perfect stepping stone for her to give her a taste of what is out there; to diversify her skills and potentially open new doors in the wonderfully varied world that is the food industry and the world of chocolate.