Fresh Tuna salad

Chefs from the Métis Skills and Education Centre’s Culinary Arts Program (a mouthful, pardon the pun) spoiled us with a gorgeous feast yesterday afternoon as part of the Canadian Culinary Federation conference. Chef Andrew George of the Métis Nation designed a menu that represented all Canadian regions.

Wild Game Charcuterie
[Wild Game Charcuterie]

Located in Abbotsford, BC, the MSEC offers a 16 week program that trains individuals in developing their skills for an entry-level position or apprenticeship in the food service industry. The education centre’s mandate is to both inspire and assist students to further their education in a certified cook training facility.

Chef James Bob and Chef Andrew George
[Chef James Bob and Chef Andrew George]

Andrew George has led a colourful career. Born in Smithers, BC, he later was accepted into the Vancouver Vocational Institute, then apprenticed at BCIT, receiving certificates in cooking. He also worked in various hotels and restaurants in the Lower Mainland, including the Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Vancouver’s Four Seasons Hotel.

Braised Rabbit
[Braised Rabbit]

George represented the Aboriginal peoples of Western Canada together with four other Métis chefs at the World Culinary Olympics in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1992. He came back to work with the Ministry of Forests in Burns Lake as Aboriginal Liaison officer. While there he built relationships between local First Nations and governments and industry.

Lunch with Andrew George
[A Feast for All Seasons Cookbook, by Chef Andrew George and Robert Gairns]

He headed to Montreal in 1995 to teach native Culinary Arts at the I.T.H.Q. (Hotel and Hospitality College). Students were interested in preparing menus using native foods while area lodges sought local native chefs.

Smoked corn and wild rice salad
[Smoked Corn and Wild Rice Salad]

Back in BC, he participates in the Wet’suwet’en Batlats (Potlatch) system, and became a hereditary Chief (wing chief) in 1998 with a traditional name of Skit’den which in Andrew’s language means ‘The wise man’.

Juniper duck canapé
[Juniper Duck Canapé]

Chef George gave a brief introduction while we enjoyed an appetizer at the table. He beamed at the work of his students as well as the opportunity to highlight Métis cooking to both Canadians and international visitors to the Chef’s Conference.

Clam fritters
[Clam Fritters]

The Native dishes made for an amazing variety of tastes, only to be heightened (in my case) with some flavorful Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Two Islands Vineyards. There was an array of wines selected for the meal, served buffet style, but no specific pairings. Chefs and guests were left to experiment and choose their own wines for the lunch. I enjoyed the discussion in the wine area, keeping an eye on what the chefs were pouring.

Pacific grilled sardines
[Pacific Grilled Sardines]

BC Health Minister Mike de Jong spoke on the province’s commitment to keep working with the Métis Nation British Columbia. Quarterly meetings are held to discuss issues including health, housing, and education.

BC health minister Mike de Jong
[BC Health Minister Mike de Jong]

I tried a little of everything, however my standout favourites were the Pacific northwest potlatch feast (for its flavourful pan-seared scallops and combination of fishes whose natural juices added to the Bouillabaisse broth), clam fritters (prepared with baby clams and fresh veggies), and grilled sardines, prepared simply with garlic and olive oil.

Pacific Northwest potlatch feast
[Pacific Northwest Potlatch Feast]


Venison stir fry
[Venison Stir Fry]

Field berry cobbler
[Field Berry Cobbler]

Lunch with Andrew George

The Métis Nation British Columbia aims to both develop and enhance opportunities for its Métis communities by implementing culturally relevant social and economic programs and services through teamwork, respect, dedication, accountability, integrity and professionalism.


  • Comment by Lenora Hayman — June 16, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

    Thanks for the delicious memories and photos of the exciting Metis cuisine paired with the N.Z. aromatically fresh wines.Many.many thanks to the chefs,their chefs in training, all the staff,supporters and volunteers.

  • Comment by arianec — June 16, 2011 @ 10:40 pm

    You’re welcome. It took a lot of hands to make that event happen and throughout the week I’ve been greeted by friendly faces both from the hotel and kitchen. Well done.

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