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Success Stories

Janet Kerr

VIU Culinary Arts Student Shows Off Her Eggcentric Side

Cooking video earns VIU student a trip to Ontario for a national conference

For Vancouver Island University (VIU) student Janet Kerr, putting all her eggs in a basket has paid off. For a video she made about cooking her family’s preferred weekend-morning breakfast, she has won a chef’s jacket, $250 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Canadian Culinary Federation’s national conference, happening next month in Windsor, Ontario.

It all started when the 53-year-old Culinary Management diploma student received an email from the North Vancouver Island Chefs Association, a division of the Canadian Culinary Federation, requesting videos of members creating their favourite egg dishes. The videos were for EggcentricTV, a new website created by the Egg Farmers of Canada to promote egg recipes and stories from around the world. Everyone who made a video received a free chef’s jacket. Kerr really wanted one, so she got to work.

“I just kind of whipped it off in the morning when my kids were still sleeping,” she says. “We did the video and then they got up and we ate breakfast!” Kerr made eggs in a basket – a simple recipe consisting of eggs baked in a muffin pan with bacon. “It’s my husband’s family’s traditional breakfast,” she explains. “It’s so dead simple and easy, and the bacon makes everything delicious.”

While Kerr thought the good news ended at her new chef’s jacket, she lucked out again, first winning $250 in a random draw, which she split with her son for editing the video for her. Then she was informed that she had won, in another random draw, an all-expenses-paid trip to the Canadian Culinary Federation’s 2016 convention, which takes place May 15-19 in Windsor, Ontario.

“I was like, ‘Oh, OK, this is pretty exciting,’” says Kerr. “I’ll be wearing my VIU name tag proudly!” The conference includes a gala dinner catered by Team Canada’s culinary team, tours, a reception at a winery and tons of seminars to help the budding chef move forward in her career. “It’s a good chance to network with other people,” she adds.

When she returns, Kerr starts an internship at the COCO Café in Cedar, which also provides employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. Wherever she ultimately ends up, Kerr says VIU’s Culinary Arts program has prepared her well.

“I had no experience in a restaurant at all, but after the first year, I was well-prepared to work in commercial kitchens,” says Kerr. “It’s a production program. There’s real pressure, it’s demanding and eye-opening, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Going to school in the trades has opened my eyes to the fact that these jobs are not easy.”

Debbie Shore, chair of the Culinary Arts programs, says Kerr is a positive, glowing, fun and smart student who has mentored a lot of her peers.

“It’s nice to see her rewarded for taking a risk and putting herself out there. She’s a great all-around person who takes lifelong learning seriously and inspires the people around her, including her instructors,” she says. “We encourage our students to just go for it, and when they do, everyone gets excited.”

The next intake for VIU’s culinary programs starts in August. Visit the VIU Culinary Programs website for more details. Watch Janet create eggs in baskets.