Meet the Chef: Siobhan Detkavich

Siobhan Detkavich has come a long way from being a dishwasher in high school to being a competitor for the Culinary Apprentice of the Year Award.

Siobhan Detkavich was in high school when she first stepped foot into the culinary world as a dishwasher. Four years later, 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.

“In the four short years I’ve been cooking, everything has been a fantastic learning experience,” said Siobhan. “There’s been times where I’ve been ready to hang up my apron, but with everything that’s come forward, it’s shown me that hard work and dedication can really get you places.”

At 16, Siobhan took the Industry Training Authority (ITA) Youth Program through her high school and left in grade 11 to attend the Culinary Arts program at Okanagan College. 

“As the youngest in the program at the time, the chefs at the college really took the initiative to take me under their wing and expose me to the culinary world as much as they could, and really try and mold me as a young cook,” she recalls. “What really captivates me, and even still to this day, is watching the passion of others flow through their work. Seeing other chefs’ love and appreciation for the product that they're using, and how they utilize each ingredient, always reminds me of why I’m in this industry, and where I hope to see myself in the future.”

Siobhan currently works at the Terrace Restaurant at the Mission Hill Family Estate Winery in West Kelowna. Earlier this year, she was awarded scholarships that will see her work throughout different countries around the world. Next spring, she’ll be travelling to Iceland to stage in a Michelin restaurant and then heading over to the Alsace region to make wine with the family at the Famille Hugel Winery in Riquewihr. 

She’s looking forward to the upcoming competition and is hoping to push herself outside of her comfort zone and dig deeper into new experiences and techniques. “I think a competition like this is a great motivator for chefs in training,” she said. “To be one of the chosen competitors is an honourable feeling, and it pushes you to do more, and exceed your own limits. It really gets you to think outside of the box to try and demonstrate something different amongst your competitors.”

“As all competitions have shown me to date, it’s all about going that extra mile and discovering more about yourself and who you are as a cook and who you want to grow and become,” said Siobhan. “Regardless if you are a first-year apprentice or a well-renowned chef, it’s events like these that also give you the opportunity to network and expand your circle. Creating that chance to go out and learn as much as you can from one another.”

Siobhan sees herself travelling, continuing to refine her cooking skills and learn all that she can about authentic, traditional cuisine from around the world. Her goal is to then share her experiences and work to inspire young cooks the way that Chef Jenna Pillon continues to inspire her throughout her career.

“The great thing about the culinary industry is that there’s always something new to learn, and there will always be people to feed. It’s an industry that will never die, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

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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