Lily Chi is a Vancouver Island University student currently enrolled in the Culinary Management Program. She is about to embark on a Co-op at Quail’s Estate Winery, one of Canada’s most highly acclaimed Restaurants. This will be her second Co-op, having previously worked for the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel as the second cook in the Vermillion Room. During that experience, Lily was able to train in a number of important culinary skills. These included prepping work for various types of food service, communicating with colleagues, and time management. She feels that the experience allowed her to identify her strengths and weaknesses and gave her something to strive for.

Lily originally hails from Vietnam. She discussed some of the challenging and rewarding aspects of working outside her home country with ACE-WIL:

“To me, the biggest challenge is the language because working in a fast paced environment like a kitchen requires precise and on-time communication. However, I am confident that I will overcome this barrier soon thanks to the help of my native-speaking landlord, teachers, chefs, and friends.”

“The first reward is that I am proud of being a culinary student of VIU, which is one of the award-winning and high-rank colleges in Canada. VIU is named a finalist in the Higher Education Academy’s 2018 Global Teaching Excellence Award. I enjoy studying at the culinary department, where facilities are well equipped. Caring, attentive, and encouraging faculty help students’ life, especially international students, become much less stressful. Besides, I have opportunities to work at well-known hotels and restaurants where I can apply my study at school and gain more on the job training experience. Last but not least, my skills, knowledge, and thought are significantly broaden when studying and working in a diverse foreign country.”

In the next five years Lily plans to “become an excellent chef who is qualified to secure strong employment opportunities in Canada, Vietnam or anywhere in the world.” She credits much of her success to the mentorship she received, both at VIU and while on Co-op, and hopes to become a strong mentor herself.

When asked about what getting the opportunity at Quails Gate Estate Winery, Lily told ACE-WIL:

“The opportunity to do my second co-op at a highly ranked Old Vines restaurant (Quails Gate Estate Winery – One of Canada’s Best Managed Company) is also really precious to me. I believe that I will advance my skills and knowledge working under these chefs who have developed a strong reputation in culinary industry. I am excited to gain experience in a restaurant where food and wine pairing are so important and look forward to developing skills in this area. This is a chance for me to reinforce my beverage theory that I learned at school.  Moreover, pushing up and challenge myself is another exciting opportunity that I am looking forward to.”