Young chef gets Red Seal accreditation
A young Bermudian chef has earned a prestigious Canadian culinary certification.
Kieshe Simmons, 21, completed a three-year apprenticeship programme and sat a final exam to achieve her Red Seal accreditation.
“Red Seal is basically your bachelor's degree in cooking,” she said. “You learn the management side and theory of being in a kitchen.
“For example, you learn about food costing, which is helpful to know if you want to start your own business, which I do one day.
“Eventually I want to open up a Bermudian restaurant. There isn't much around in terms of places that offer exclusively Bermudian food.”
Ms Simmons was 17 when she asked the Department of Workforce Development to help her to pursue her dream of becoming a chef.
They found her a trainee placement position with The Fairmont Southampton, where Ms Simmons is now second chef at the Ocean Club.
“This August I will have been with the Fairmont for four years,” Ms Simmons said.
She joked that the senior chefs put “more pressure” on her since she received her Red Seal certification.
“At the Fairmont they teach us all of their recipes; every restaurant has a different recipe book. Each restaurant, for example, will even have a different way of making their Caesar salad dressing.
“I like it when I can put my own twist on certain dishes. I love making pasta, French cuisine, or anything with fish, although I am starting to branch off to Italian dishes.”
Ms Simmons said her assigned officer from Workforce Development, Noel Cann, still visited trainees to see how they were doing.
The Red Seal Interprovincial Programme, a universally recognised and prestigious certification of apprenticeship in Canada, covers 52 skilled trades, including cooking.
Ms Simmons had to complete a three-year apprenticeship comprising 6,000 hours of work experience.
This included three six-week blocks of technical training at Holland College, on Prince Edward Island.
At the end of the programme, Ms Simmons, who won the Rising Chef of the Year Award from the Bermuda Hospitality Institute in 2013, had to pass a written exam.
She is now hoping to go back to school to obtain a hospitality degree, while working at a Fairmont hotel overseas.