It’s not only what our graduates have to say, but what they’ve achieved

We constantly reach out to our graduates, many now OUR industry colleagues, to find ways to improve the Northwest experience.  We can connect you, while you are researching different schools, with present students and graduates to help you with your decision.

Below is but a sample of what Our graduates and our industry colleagues have to say:

I have nothing but great things to say about Northwest and its grads! I first met its founders when they opened the school in 2004. My restaurant, Aurora Bistro, was a few blocks away. They had me in to do cooking demos, which led to students doing internships, which led to many hires! One of the early grads is now my sous chef. I will continue to hire grads from Northwest. They have always been great cooks who have been prepared for the realities and rigors of the industry.

Chef Jeff Van Geest Executive Chef, Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek

I have been in the industry for 23 plus years and have run high level kitchens in some of the best hotels in the city.

Talented, skilled and passionate cooks just don’t walk through the door every day, so I have been able to work with Chef Warren and the team at Northwest developing eager students into passionate and talented cooks. At Northwest, the instructor team doesn’t paint an unreal picture of this industry, they make the learning and classroom sessions very much like the work place. They don’t glorify the industry, they keep it real, and make sure the students understand what they have signed up for. At Market, Northwest has provided me with many students, 3 of which are still the hotel.

I look forward to continuing my relationship this school, as it strives on creating the best foundation of our future great chefs.

Chef Wayne Harris Executive Chef, Market Restaurant, Shangrila Hotel

My time as a student at Northwest was an incredible experience. The program length was perfect for me, as I had already completed post secondary education before I enrolled. The instructors are excellent and the curriculum is designed to give students a solid knowledge base, as well as the practical experience needed to successfully launch their careers in the industry.

As the owner of Savoury Chef Foods, I have hired many graduates from Northwest . They enter the workplace with excellent practical skills and a realistic approach to the industry. I’m always pleased with their work ethic, and their eagerness to grow and build upon the skills they’ve developed during their schooling.

Chef Taryn Wa Graduate of the 1 Year Program, Owner/Chef of Savoury Chef Catering

As a chef who has practiced in Vancouver for over 27 years, and currently Executive Chef of Culinary Capers Catering since 1997, I am in a position to happily endorse Northwest Culinary Academy. I have taught both professional and amateur cooking classes, judged culinary competitions, mentored cooks and participated in many industry initiatives, so I understand the needs of this demanding industry.

I was fortunate to gain my culinary skills at the highly acclaimed Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School and recognize many similar attributes with Northwest. Their culinary programs have consistently produced a high calibre of graduates who are well trained, disciplined and passionate.

Culinary Capers Catering values our partnership with the Northwest and are committed to hiring their talented graduates.

Chef Margaret Chisholm Executive Chef of Culinary Capers Catering

I am currently the chef at Le Mary Celeste in Paris. This year, Le Fooding, the biggest food publication in France, named us the best bar/restaurant in Paris.

Before taking on my current job I spent six months in various kitchens in Paris, and also spent a year and a half in Copenhagen where I staged, and ultimately ended up becoming chef de partie at two different michelin star restaurants: Kiin Kiin and Kokkeriet. From my first job after graduating from Northwest was at Maenam restaurant where I learned to season things and think of dishes in a much more complex way than a Western-trained chef. Just before leaving for Paris, I spent time working in Toronto at Enoteca Sociale with Grant van Gameren. It was a brief stay, but in terms of thinking about how to get the best possible product to the customers, it was probably the most influential place I have ever worked. Attention to detail and a real loathing and disdain for things done sloppily and without care is what I got from that experience.

But, of course, this journey into the professional world of cooking all started at Northwest. It was there I learned the technical fundamentals that set me on the right path in my career. For me, though, the most important, lasting things I took from school were the messages instilled in me through the curriculum and the Chef instructors: 1) be humble 2) You should always think of yourself as a cook before you think of yourself as a chef, and 3) success comes to those who sacrifice and work hard.

Chef Haan Palcu-Chang Culinary

I’m from London, England. I cannot speak of Northwest and all of its staff highly enough. I had researched many schools in several countries and chose Northwest because, simply put, it spoke to me. There are very few credible schools where the owners are also your Instructors. They genuinely care about getting to know you and go out of their way to ensure your development as a cook. Northwest turned me into a more proficient Cook than I could have reasonably expected, made me “kitchen ready” and perhaps more importantly also helped me become a more rounded individual than when I first walked through the front door

Robin Scott 1 Year Program

I am from Chicago, USA. I could not have found a better school than Northwest to further my culinary interests. The instructors were caring and the programs were intensive and challenging. Northwest changed the way I see food and opened up so many more opportunities to the culinary and pastry world. Classes are small and intimate, the instructors are always there to listen and to provide advice. The school feels like a close-knit family that extends even after graduation.

Kwokmun Lee 1 Year Program

I was born in Toronto and am now living, writing and cooking in Fredericton, New Brunswick. I graduated from NWCAV in April 2013 and spent most of the following summer and fall staging at an inn and cooking school in the south of France. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism and history from Carleton University.

My experience at the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver was incredible. It was difficult and exhausting, but was also revelatory and inspiring and set me on my current path writing for national newspapers and magazines about food, cooks and cooking. The program is structured brilliantly, and the cohorts are packed with interesting and motivated students. And now I can make dinner for my husband after work in less than half an hour: that alone was worth the price of admission.

Karen Pinchin Culinary

I attended culinary and pastry school in 2011 at Northwest where I discovered why this path was such a perfect choice for me, and just what I was able to offer the industry. It was here that my pastry identity came to life and that I developed a sense of purpose, thanks to the guidance and training from the best team of chef instructors in town. I stand behind the program 110%. As soon as I graduated, I was industry-ready for my first job as Pastry Chef and bread baker at award winning Italian restaurant La Quercia and La Ghianda in Kitsilano. After that I worked as Sous Chef at the beautiful Cadeaux Bakery in Gastown.

Andrew Han 1 Year Program

I am from Pune, India. My experience at Northwest has been phenomenal. There was a lot of drama, effort, drive, determination and passion that got me here. My learning at Northwest was not confined to efficient cooking skills but also managing oneself emotionally, physically and a better understanding of how to deal with people in a hot kitchen.

I would recommend this school to anyone and everyone who has a love for food and passion to serve people.

Gaya Desai 1 Year Diploma Program

I’m from Sandy Hook, Manitoba. The time I spent at Northwest was deliciously exciting and inspiring. I was challenged in ways I could have never anticipated, but these challenges forced me to grow both personally and professionally. It was truly a pleasure to learn from such talented chefs who show so much patience and compassion for their students. They taught me that being a good human being goes hand in hand with being a good cook. The chef instructors have created a family of alumni at Northwest – you’ll always be greeted with a big hug if you pop in for a visit.

For the past year I have been working as a Sous Chef for Cooking Journeys, a personal chef service here in Vancouver. I am also currently finishing my schooling to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with the intention of offering our clients nutritional consultation in addition to the personal chef service.

Courtney Swegel 1 Year Program

Northwest gave me the experience of a lifetime. I wanted to become a better cook but the school gave me so much more. The curriculum is intense; and the expectations of the students, by the instructors are high. Students are challenged to do their very best, every day. The chef instructors conducted themselves with the highest professionalism, preparing the students to do likewise as they enter the industry. They are passionate about teaching, and have clearly immersed themselves into the culinary world to provide the highest calibre of training to the students. They work hard to help the student become more confident.

Doris Gnandt Culinary Program

The instructors are phenomenal! They get you kitchen ready better than any other school. They don’t sugar-coat anything. They tell you right from the beginning how the industry is going to be…stressful environment, long hours, standing on your feet all day, hot kitchen, etc. Yet you still maintain your enthusiasm to dive in to this because they inspire you to be the best you can be every day. They taught me to be tough, but to still show heart in what I do. The chefs care about you immensely and will continue to care long after you’ve graduated.

Each day is jam packed with content. There is no down time at NWCAV. You get two days to make a cake, not three weeks. You wouldn’t get three weeks to make a cake in the industry! The classes are intimate and personal, allowing you to get one-on-one feedback more often. This school rivals, if not exceeds, the most expensive schools out there.

Carrie Kwok 1 Year Professional Program

I’m from Toronto, but I grew up in Calgary AB. I feel that my experience at Northwest set me up perfectly for the career change I was undergoing. The culinary program was a very thorough overview of the expectations and standards of cooking professionally at the fine-dining level, which is what I was looking for. Through the program I feel I gained a very solid skill set on which to build my culinary career.

All the instructors were obviously very dedicated to teaching, and sharing their enthusiasm for the culinary arts. I enjoyed the fast pace of the course, and the amount of time spent in the school kitchen, and the emphasis on at-home study and practice. I am very impressed with the amount I learned (both theory and practical) in such a short amount of time, and I highly recommend the culinary program for anyone who is looking for a way to establish a strong foundation in professional culinary arts.

I am currently working as an independent contract cook in the adventure tourism industry. My most recent job was lodge chef at a backcountry ski lodge north of Pemberton, where I was responsible for planning and providing all meals for groups of 15-20 clients. My current summer contract is for a backcountry hiking lodge, based out of Golden, BC. As an independent contract cook, I enjoy the flexibility of working seasonally in locations that I can choose for myself.

Charlotte Sit Culinary Program

I am originally from New York, but now run a farm in Idaho, USA. For me, the Northwest experience was a door held open to endless possibilities. Coming from a total lack of industry experience, the school exposed me to a huge variety of options for a person going into this field. When I did stints in restaurants toward the end of the term, I was surprised to find how comfortable and prepared I was to pitch in after just a few short months in school. Northwest also created a very strong community with which to build upon our schooling. It was clear from the beginning that alumni of the school have the opportunity and desire to build and retain strong bonds with the staff and students.

Northwest felt to me like a liberal arts version of culinary school. The student to teacher ratio is small, so individuals get the attention and instruction that they need or want. The chefs have taken amazing care in balancing the personalities and skill sets of the staff, so you gain a different bit of wisdom from each chef on each topic. The experience was challenging, rewarding, and fun all at once. I highly recommend the course.

Emily Levine Culinary Program

I’m from Charlottesville, Virginia, but now work in Salt Lake, Utah. My time at Northwest was probably the most intense, challenging, and most of all–FUN, 15 weeks of my life. I went into the program knowing I liked to cook, and left thrilled about the seemingly endless opportunities the future held. While I had some industry experience prior to attending school, learning the fundamentals in such a well-organized, intense environment from such passionate chef instructors helped me grow immensely. I was pushed to work hard and held to high standards, and as an end result, I feel like I have much more confidence when looking to apply for jobs in the field.

I would recommend NWCAV over other schools because of the small intimate class size and phenomenal network and roots it has developed. I found that the connections that Northwest have formed was amazing. I was able to stage at very small and large restaurants, and this gave me a bit more of a taste of the “real-world”, helping me figure out where my interests and future may lie. By attending Northwest, you not only leave with a top-notch education but a tight-knit network of like-minded people that support and help each other succeed in the field.

Grace McGowan Culinary Program

My time at NWCAV was a life changing experience. In culinary I learned discipline, skills and speed. In pastry I learned how to be patient and precise. By combining the skills from those two programs I feel now that I can take on anything that comes at me. I also learned how to work as a team with the people around me. This school has laid the foundation for my future, I feel more certain now than ever that I am on the right path in life. I apprenticed for 1 year at Muraritz, San Sebastian, Spain and opening a restaurant in Alberta.

Erica Vliengenthart 1 Year Program

I came to Northwest right after high school. I wanted to go to a culinary school in France, but I decided to travel and attend Northwest’s culinary program. I think those four months were the best days of my life. It was tough for me but I really enjoyed every moment of it and I will never forget how lucky I am to belong to this school.

Sebastian Balas Lyon, France

My experience at Northwest has led me on a career path that I would never have thought of before I met Tony and the rest of the team. The very hands-on learning approach at Northwest, and my passion for food, led me to Barb Finley and her children’s cooking program, Project C.H.E.F., which has since inspired me to become an elementary school teacher with the hopes of bringing my love for cooking to my students

Evan Wilson Culinary Program

I am from Montreal, Quebec. I was an Olympic athlete most of my life. I really enjoyed Northwest. The instructors were professional, knowledgeable and most of all wanted you to succeed. The days were well organized and intense. The school tries to stay current with what is happening in the real world so you get a taste of everything, from traditional french cooking to vegan, to an introduction to molecular techniques. I definitely learned a lot!

Douglas Vandor Culinary Program

I was born in the Philippines, grew up outside Washington, D.C., and have a Food Science Degree from Cornell University. I would recommend Northwest to anyone looking for an intense program to get themselves into the food industry in a short period of time. The professional programs do a great job of giving you a solid foundation of skills and techniques that you can build on once you enter the industry. Northwest also gives you plenty of opportunities to hone your skills outside of class through amateur class assisting, special event volunteering, and shadowing at restaurants and other venues that are connected with the school.

Casto Unson 1 Year Diploma Program

I am from Boston, USA. After many years of selling the world’s greatest and nearly great wines, I was compelled to gain a greater understanding of fine dining. I arrived at Northwest hoping to fill in my knowledge gap. Through the superior instruction and the well focused lesson plan, my need/desire has been expertly achieved! The level of instruction at Northwest has inspired me to contemplate formalizing my Company’s own educational and outreach programs.

Phil Minervino Culinary Program

A personal and professional highlight. I have met extraordinary individuals be they staff or students – from Vancouver and around the world. We all experienced this intensive yet extremely rewarding program together… what an amazing combination of events. Curriculum emphasis is on the numerous facets of the culinary field from some of the best instructors around; however, you may also learn much about yourself – that’s if you are open to it (it’s all good!)

Carla Brun Del Re Culinary Program

The NWCAV experience played a pivoting role in satisfying the desire to learn, understand and foremost, the ability to cook at a top level. The chefs at the school make learning easy. They continue to modify their program and offer great opportunities to “stage” in the finest establishments in Vancouver. Great detail is delivered in all aspects of the business, from food and labour costs to tricks on making a fantastic meal with what one may consider waste. They make a priority of using fresh and seasonal products. The semester may only be four months but Northwest is a fantastic lifetime experience; opportunities are posted to you and any advice or support you may need is a phone call away. I graduated at the age of 48, semi-retired from the horse racing business, and loved every minute of it.

Duane Marfisi Culinary Program

I’m from the States, but partly due to stumbling upon NWCAV, I now live in Vancouver. I have a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering + Masters in Computer Science (Rensselaer polytechnic institute)… typical culinary student, right?

I was 47 when I started at NWCAV, one of three “non-traditional” (read: “older”) students. I knew it would be challenging. I had no idea how challenging. “I laughed, I cried”. One of the best things I’ve done in my life. And I am so delighted at the school’s success and my having been in at the beginning.

I never intended to join “The Industry”, but I find myself compelled to work (well, volunteer) in charity kitchens around the city. I cook and chef (alternately) at Vancouver Friends for Life Society, and also volunteer at Covenant House, which aids street youth throughout North America. It’s great to be in the kitchen, and it’s great to “give back”.

Scott Blessly Culinary & Bread/Pastry

I was born and raised in sunny Tel Aviv, Israel. I graduated professional culinary in spring 2005. After graduation I returned to Tel Aviv and started to work as a line cook in several leading restaurant in town. In late 2006 I opened with a partner a café-patisserie, Numa (no relation with the Copenhagen establishment Noma…). For two and a half years, we have served great food and pastries, all home made. Our home cured meats and salted fish were of the best in town. After a heroic struggle with the global recession, on March 2009, we decided to close doors.

At that year I went back to school to do my master’s degree, working as a part time cook and chef in a sushi bar, wine bar, gastropub and tapas bar.

In 2011 I started my PhD at McGill university, focusing on spice transplantation in the Spanish empire. My passion is still with food and I experiment with new food products and cooking styles, a habit that makes my wife and friends extremely happy.

My university profile can be found at:

NWCAV is not only a distant memory for me. I learned in Northwest to look at food in a different way, to be patient with handling products. I learned to work in a kitchen as an individual and as a part of a team. In Northwest I learned that there is no limit to what one can do in the kitchen if one knows how to prioritize and multitask.

Omri Frenkel Culinary