Food means more than nourishment to Matthew Brohm. For the Chef Training graduate, food is his passion.
“I love making food that makes you melt inside, I want to make food that makes you chew just a little slower, I want it to make you think ‘wow’ and practically be speechless,” he said. “My job is not my job, my job is my passion. Everything about it, I love.”
Growing up, Matthew dreamed of a culinary career. He would happily tell family and friends that he would be a chef one day.
“I was always in the kitchen watching, smelling and listening to the crackling or sizzling,” said Matthew. “Cooking was my passion before I even knew it.”
In high school, Matthew competed in culinary competitions, volunteered to cook and serve assorted buffets, and graduated with a Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in Hospitality. After deciding that college was his next step, Matthew participated in Student for the Day multiple times at Fleming College to see if his local college was the right fit.
“So already I was very familiar with Fleming and knew the instructor chefs very well,” said Matthew. “For myself, there was no better choice than Fleming.”
Matthew enrolled in the Chef Training program, which is now called Culinary Skills, and graduated in 2016.
“My Fleming College experience couldn’t have been better,” he said. “Having the professors actually know your name and want you to succeed is amazing. It’s more than just a classroom, it was a community where everyone cared and the students were not just a number.”
Through the program, Matthew said he developed the skills and knowledge to grow his culinary career.
“The program helped me grow as a professional in so many ways. Cooking is obvious, but what I took for granted then, I am now so grateful I learned,” he explains.
Matthew credits being able to use Excel, place food orders, cost out menu items, understand front of house, and supervise as a sous chef in labs as some of the skills he developed at Fleming that have proved useful in his career.
“There is so much you can get out of the program. It all has fast-tracked my career in the culinary industry,” he said.
Matthew currently works as the Sous Chef at Silvertip Resort in Canmore, Alberta. He is responsible for ensuring the kitchen runs smoothly, helps create menu items, places food orders, ensures food quality, helps progress and train new cooks, runs the line on busy nights, cleans and scrubs ovens, delegates tasks and more.
His most memorable career moment was as a chef de partie, when he was asked to train a kitchen steward who didn’t have any cooking experience.
“It wasn’t an easy task, but within two weeks I had given him a drive. He wanted to learn and wanted to succeed. By one month, he could hold his ground and kept up with everyone,” said Matthew. “Now he’s in school for culinary. It was an awesome feeling knowing I had an impact in his career choice.”
Matthew said he recommends Fleming College to others who are considering a culinary career.
“By the end of this program, you will have real work experience and be able to hold your ground in any kitchen,” he said. “I would recommend this program over and over again.”