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North Island College Welcomes Internationally Trained French Chef

NIC Professional Cook students are learning culinary arts from an international chef whose 30 years of experience includes catering to Bill Clinton and coaching students to win national championships. Chef Xavier Bauby’s passion for food began early. His father was a professional pastry chef and his mother an exquisite cook. He spent his childhood hunting crabs and fishing along the coast of Brittany, France and remembers proudly presenting his catch to his mother to prepare the family’s dinner. “The distinct quality and freshness of those meals has stayed with me throughout my life,” he said. “I have been to many countries since then but I always choose my home by the sea.”

At 16, he began a culinary apprenticeship in a French bistro. Then, wanting to experience new flavours and cooking styles, he toured France, exploring regions with a reputation for fine dining. He spent many years in Bordeaux apprenticing under Chef Jean Marie Amat at Chateaux St. James before moving on to the luxurious Hermitage Barrière Hotel in La Baule and Hôtel Lutetia in Paris. “I had the privilege of working with some very talented older chefs. They acted as mentors to me and showed me that cooking could be alchemy,” he said. “All of the energy that I bring to my teaching comes directly from these chefs.”

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An avid traveler, Chef Bauby spent his early twenties exploring Morocco, the Canary Islands, the Cabo Verde Islands, the Ivory Coast, the Congo and Sierra Leone. In each region, he made it a priority to visit local food markets to learn their food culture and expand his repertoire. In 1991, he arrived in Canada, where he has grown his career as a chef and an instructor.

Chef Bauby’s experiences include representing Canadian chefs on an international level, first as caterer for President Bill Clinton at the Russian/US Summit held in Vancouver in 1992 and then as part of a team invited by the Canadian Embassy to promote Canadian cuisine in Shanghai, China. As instructor at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, he coached students to provincial gold and national bronze medals at Skills Canada 2016. He also managed and led a gold-winning team at the Canadian Culinary Federation, 2011-2013. Chef Bauby enjoys supporting NIC students as they gain hands-on experience in NIC’s Third Course Bistro, compete at regional and provincial competitions and take part in various high-profile North Vancouver Island Chefs Association events. He is working closely with culinary students to develop a mouth-watering menu for NIC’s popular wine festival on November 18. The menu, which could include savoury decadent French cheese puffs and salmon jalousie (a west coast take on a typically sweet French pastry), is designed to pair with the selection of wine being served.

“By sharing my knowledge and experience with students and apprentices I am able to follow the footsteps of my mentors,” he said. “With all due modesty, my dream as an instructor is for my students to surpass me.” NIC has a reputation for providing well-trained chefs and tourism students.

Each level of Professional Cook training includes in-school training, practical and theoretical examinations and workplace hours. For more information on NIC’s Professional Cook programs, or Chef Bauby, contact questions@nic.bc.ca or visit www.nic.bc.ca/trades.

Original article from North Island College