NIC graduate Tina Tang, recently named one of Canada’s next star chefs by the Globe and Mail, returned to NIC’s teaching kitchen to visit with students.
Tang, a Vanier grad, took NIC’s Pro Cook Levels 1 and 2 in Campbell River and went on to become a Red Seal Chef. She currently works as the Pastry Chef at Predator Ridge Golf Resort in Vernon and is also a member of Culinary Team BC, taking part in culinary competitions around the world.
She recently spent the day in NIC’s Port Alberni teaching kitchen, preparing her signature dish – Okanagan Peach Cheesecake and then spent time with a group of culinary students.
“I’m so grateful I got my start at NIC,” said Tang. “I started studying Level 1 while I was still in high school through the Dual Credit program, which gave me a great jump start on my culinary training.”
After finishing her Level 1 & 2 at NIC’s Campbell River campus, Tang moved to the Okanagan, where she worked under many great chefs to refine her skills.
“The NIC instructors encouraged me to explore my interests and find mentors in the industry,” Tang said. “There are so many great chefs you can learn under and who are willing to teach you.”
Along with NIC’s culinary programs, Tang says the North Island Chef’s Association was a big influence on her early years.
“The community support on the North Island is incredible,” said Tang. “Everyone wants you to succeed.”
NIC culinary instructor, Chef Al Irving, says having graduates like Tang visit the class makes a big difference for students. “We have students starting their Level 1 now who are Dual Credit students, just like Chef Tang was,” he said. “To be able to see where the culinary arts has taken her is very inspiring and shows them just how far they can go.”
Tang credits the inspirational mentorship she received for driving her to give back to future chefs.
“I know how valuable that mentorship was to me, and how important it is as you’re developing as a chef,” she said. “I’m so happy to be able to answer questions or help new chefs as they start their culinary careers.”
Tang would encourage anyone interested in food to give the culinary arts a try. “It’s a wonderfully rewarding career, and there’s a huge demand for trained chefs,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
Learn more about NIC’s culinary programs, and to apply, visit www.nic.bc.ca/culinary.