June 10, 2013

Hey chef! Once more 'round the track...

In the first week of June, Chef Dean cooked up something out of the ordinary for most chef-instructors – a pursuit that has little to do with culinary skills. In the weeks leading up to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, he pulled together a team of culinary students and family members to support the annual fundraiser.

Selling cookies and tacos-in-a-bag
 for  the cause. 
On the evening of June 7th, Chef and the rest of the relay team dodged raindrops and walked all night at Guelph Lake Conservation Area with the woman that motivates and mentors them each day.  Their moniker- Elaina’s Secret Agents – holds the key to their inspiration. 
Chef Dean (right) and Chef Elaina (centre) at the
kickoff to the Relay for Life.

Click on the link to learn more about Relay for Life, and stay tuned for more photos in the next couple of days.

May 15, 2013

Food safety becomes second nature

Meat, poultry and seafood are always stored on
the bottom shelf of fridges and freezers,
 so they cannot drip into other foods. 

Chef Dean’s voice drifts from the classroom as he and the students discuss various ways to prepare poultry. Food safety is woven into every detail, from storing and handling the raw product to cooking technique and temperature, along with storage and use of leftovers.  

Rarely does a day pass on campus that we don’t hear the well-entrenched terms “cross-contamination” and “food danger zone.” Avoiding these should become as automatic as breathing. In the classroom and the kitchen, students learn the conditions in which pathogens thrive, the temperature at which most of them are destroyed and the speed at which they can reproduce. 

Every student is issued an instant-read
thermometer (blue-in sleeve pocket) to
check the internal temperature of
meats when they are cooking.
Our kitchen equipment helps with food safety – fridges & freezers keep foods below 40F, dishwashers have external thermometers to ensure water is over 140 F, and instant-read food thermometers are part of every tool kit. 
A clean kitchen is essential to prevent
the spread of food-borne pathogens.

Though these lessons are not everyone’s favorite, they are vital to the reputation and longevity of every 
food establishment, and the health and safety of their customers.They are also essential to our students’ future, as each of them must pass the Region of Waterloo Public Health Safety Food Handlers Certificate before they graduate.

To learn more about how we promote safe food handling, visit our Facebook page. 

April 08, 2013

Meditation in the kitchen......

Most cooks are energized by the adrenalin rush of dinner service, the orchestrated hustle in a crowded kitchen. But the quiet hours at Liaison can also be an inspiration, before the creative process begins anew.

Dim light reflects off idle stoves, utensils wait in ordered assembly, and coolers hum a background melody unnoticed in the chaos of the day.

The counters sparkle, the floors are scrubbed. Tools are stacked in casual congregation as sauté pans on gleaming shelves form a military rumba line. Spring scales are poised for action while sauce
pans rest, nestled together on open racks.

The stillness is like meditation; a space to clear the mind, and slide into the day centred, focused, and ready to learn.

March 27, 2013

A positive attitude and strong spirit awarded at graduation and beyond...

 Kirandeep received Liaison Kitchener's
highest honour: the annual Award of Excellence.
Certificate of Recognition

Chef Dean Michielsen has a sweet spot for all of his students, even after they have flown the coop. At last week’s graduation he sent his fledglings off into the culinary world with a mix of pride for their accomplishments, and sadness for their departure.

The room was filled with graduating part-timers from 2012 along with their families and friends, as Chef recalled the highlights of their time here at Liaison. “The dedication and enthusiasm of part-time students makes it exciting to teach you,” he says of the people that most often juggle full-time jobs, family responsibilities and evening classes. It also made his task of choosing just four students for achievement awards a very difficult one.    “Every one of you has the passion.” 

Chef Elaina Ravo, Director of Liaison Kitchener had her own words of wisdom & experience for those she addresses as "our very precious students”.
Certificate of Recognition
“Being a professional chef is a gift and an honour. The only limitation in your path is you,” she advises. “To achieve your dream, you need a positive attitude and a strong spirit. You may have to get out and knock on doors, sometimes until your knuckles bleed. Some doors will be shut in your face, but you have to pick yourself up, brush off the dust, and keep knocking.” 

She closed with these timeless words, credited to many philosophical minds over the decades:
“Watch your thoughts, they become your words;

watch your words, they become your actions;

watch your actions, they become your habits;

watch your habits, they become your character;

watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

Lonnie - Certificate of Recognition

For more photos of our March 20 graduation, visit our Facebook page.