Meet the Chef: Emily Poisson

Emily Poisson is developing a menu for the Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition that incorporates her own flavours.

After years of working front of house, Emily Poisson realized that she wanted to be behind the scenes in the culinary industry, making the dishes that feed her creativity and her clients’ love of good food.

Emily is 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.

Her love for cooking means she’s never bored, either at work or at home in the kitchen.

“With all the creativity that food brings, it’s great to be able to cook something different every day, even in my home life,” said Emily, who recently achieved her Red Seal certification through Camosun College. “I’ll never get bored; there’s always something to learn, either a new cuisine or technique. I recently got into Szechuan cuisine and never had homemade Chinese food before, and I loved making noodles and buns.”

Based on Vancouver Island, Emily’s professional life centres around catering through the House of Boateng in Langford. She loves the variety and imagination that comes along with a focus on catering.

“If you work in a restaurant kitchen, you’re cooking similar things every day,” Emily explained. “In catering, the menus change often depending on the clients’ tastes. You may be making a family-style dinner, canapes, plated dinners. There’s lots and lots of variety every day.” 

It’s not only the variety of foods that attracted Emily to the culinary industry but also the range of opportunities in career paths. She sees it as both a blessing and a challenge—so many possibilities mean it’s more difficult deciding where her role will ultimately be in the kitchen. 

“There’s so many options when it comes to cooking and food—catering, restaurants, pastry, butchery, alternative living. Right now, I’m just trying to find where I fit,” said Emily. “I’ve worked in a couple of different restaurants and done pastry, butchery, and I’m really happy with the catering aspect right now, but I can also help in the restaurant if I need that variety.”

She’s very excited to meet the other competitors and get the chance to talk about their professional growth and goals. As Emily prepares for the event, she’s also looking forward to developing a menu that reflects who she is, since she’ll be able to incorporate her own flavours and ingredients.

Over the next few years, she hopes to continue working with Chef Castro Boatang and eventually own a business, like a small B&B or inn with a restaurant, where she’d host family-style dinners, cooking classes, and wine and food tastings. 

“I really enjoy the interactive events with guests. I like people.”

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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