Teresa Kozakewick grew up in Alberta. Raised by a father who had a passion for food, she had always been drawn to cooking. She enjoyed watching her dad cook on special occasions. Now her passion has become a career path.

After moving to the Yukon, she enrolled in the Yukon College Culinary Arts program for the 2013/2014 year. That September she participated in the Culinary Arts Festival and the Feast of Farms held on Rivendell Farm. Kozakewick was one of the group allowed to forage through the gardens for late season vegetables. Another group foraged for wild foods from around the college bringing in cranberries and rose hips. The festival is a great way for an aspiring chef to be introduced into the world of food.

On the Yukon College’s website, the eight-month Culinary Arts program “provides professional cook training, ranging from the preparation of stocks, sauces and soups to food service and kitchen management, in a practical, hands-on learning environment. Using commercial kitchen facilities, you will serve Yukon College’s cafeteria, the Kinnikinnick Kaff, as well as Hilltop Bistro, the fine dining training facility.”

By the end of the program they have a one-year certificate and have completed Apprentice Levels I and II. This is transferable to British Columbia college and university programs as well as the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT).

Kozakewick has been able to intern at Yukon College in the Culinary Arts Department and has recently returned from NAIT. Her current focus is to obtain her Red Seal certification. With this in hand she plans to travel, first here in Canada – with the intention of learning as much as possible from the diversity of our country – and later abroad.

Does she aspire to be a chef in her own restaurant? Given the opportunity she would like to have her own place, but nothing is certain at this point. Having a background that included a family garden, Kozakewick has been able to combine those skills with the ones she has learned in cooking. And she is very involved in the growing of herbs and other vegetables for the Yukon College Culinary Arts Department.

When asked how the Yukon College’s program rates against other programs, Kozakewick said that the college tries to keep up with modern trends and compares very well.

Not everyone who takes this course may want to be a chef eventually, but because it starts with the basics and goes from there, the course could be taken by someone who just wants to learn to cook for themselves. Besides, in the words of Kozakewick, cooking is “a good life skill to have.”