Chef Andrew George Jr. with SIFE member Kevin Young in the Kla-how-eya Aboriginal Centre kitchen.
A Surrey-based First Nations culinary school has a new recipe for success, thanks to a creative group of Simon Fraser University students.
The students are part of SFU SIFE (Students In Free Enterprise) Consulting. And their efforts have paid off for the Kla-how-eya Aboriginal Centre and its culinary arts and catering services program, whose administrators worked with the SIFE team to help solidify a new strategic plan.
The aboriginal centre has recently undergone several changes, hired two high-calibre chefs and five other staff, and attracted new funding from the Metis Nation of B.C. Its strategic plan will be implemented in several B.C. regions to assist the start-up of new culinary programs.
"The students have given us the potential to grow," says culinary arts manager, Chef Andrew George Jr. He started the school, which offers a 16-week pre-apprentice course on basic culinary techniques, two years ago from the confines of a small kitchen.
"They helped to give our plan a sense of professionalism and we’re building on that in many ways, including our enrolment."
Students showcased their work for the culinary school at a recent SIFE business-case competition in Calgary.
A national business crowd at the event also learned of a SIFE-developed money management program called M2. To date, the program has involved 25 street youth from Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and Surrey’s Whalley area in sessions on developing feasible money-management plans and learning new techniques for résumé writing and job hunting.
"As SFU students, we’re striving to have a real impact in the community," says SIFE president Ashish Gurung. "We are passionate about practising social entrepreneurship and driven to take our knowledge and put it to good use."
SIFE SFU has about 60 members from various fields, including business and interactive arts and technology.
By Marianne Meadahl