Meet The Chef: Deidre Davis
Although she has always had a love of food and cooking, Deidre Davis did not think about becoming a chef when she went to college. In fact, she was planning on majoring in anthropology and viewed cooking and baking as a hobby. All of that changed in 2014, when during a visit home, she found herself signing up to a Cooks Helper program at the community centre.
After taking a “one-year break” from school, which had turned into six, Deidre was ready to try something new. She applied to the Professional Cook Level 1 course at Coast Mountain College in Terrace and from there, her passion for cooking grew. Fast forward five years, and she’s now one of the participants from across B.C. who will be putting their skills to the test during the Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition on November 2.
This competition will be her first, and she’s looking forward to getting out of her comfort zone. “I want to learn how far I can push myself, whether it be speed, consistency of product being put out, or trying out different techniques and methods of cooking,” said Deidre. To prepare for the competition, she knows she needs to figure out how best to highlight the required food items in her dishes and continually practice making delicious food in the allotted time.
“I always enjoyed cooking right from being a toddler cooking my plastic steak (sgeak) and eggs for family members to when I started learning to cook real food as a teen. My first dish was chili that my mom showed me how to make,” Deidre explained. “I always thought of myself as an artist. I love to draw, and cooking is just another form of me being able to create and allow people to enjoy.”
Working at the Vetter Falls Lodge in the Nass Valley, located by the Nisga’a Lava Beds, Deidre interacts with visitors from all over the world. “I get to learn how they prepare things in their own ways, and I get to share a lot about my own culture and how we prepare our traditional foods,” she said.
Deidre is working on getting her Red Seal and plans to open her own restaurant and bakery in her home community of Laxgalts’ap (Greenville) – home of the Nisga’a Museum. With more and more tourists coming to Laxgalts’ap and surrounding areas, restaurants are in high demand. Not stopping there, Deidre envisions expanding her restaurant/bakery into a food truck, so that she can take her love of cooking and baking to other communities. She’s also planning on registering her business as an employer sponsor with Industry Training Authority, so that she can give back and help apprentices in her community get the training hours needed to achieve their Red Seal.
“It’s so rewarding being able to cook for people and knowing the people I love are proud of what I am doing,” said Deidre. “Being able to make a career from something I love is a great feeling.”
The Culinary Apprentice of the Year is sponsored by Chefs’ Table Society of BC, Vancouver Community College, and Industry Training Authority, along with BC Chefs Association, North Vancouver Island Chefs Association, Okanagan Chefs Association, and Victoria Chefs Association. Additional partners include Russell Hendrix, Intercity Packers, Gindara Sablefish, Cacao Barry, Cactus Club Cafe, Cascadia Tableware, Icon Fine Wines & Spirits, Chef & Co, and House of Knives.
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