Matt Butler is passionate about cooking. But he’s practical too.
“When I started out, I had a small daughter to look after, so I started working in kitchens—washing dishes and other jobs to make ends meet. It went from there,” Matt says. “I just kind of fell in love with it.”
He worked hard to look after his family and when it came time to focus on his education, Matt decided to stick with cooking and pursue the Red Seal Professional Cook (camosun.ca) credential.
Matt has been around kitchens for many years, but he chose to start at the beginning with the Foundations level. “For me, it’s all about the learning,” Matt says. “I already know a lot about kitchens and about the profession. But I want to make sure I learn the right way to do things and that I don’t have any gaps.”
It’s not easy being a student with financial and family responsibilities. When Matt applied to Camosun College, he visited Financial Aid (camosun.ca) to get started on his education. He says the BC Access Grant, which will include Professional Cook programs beginning in 2017, would help him when it comes time to buy professional tools, especially knives.
Camosun has been a positive learning experience for Matt, providing access to the knowledge and experience of the master instructors.
“You learn in a different way here than when you are on the job. The pressure is different, but it’s good working beside the Camosun chefs. Every day you learn valuable information that you don’t necessarily learn on the job. And the instructors can answer any question about cooking that you can imagine. They help you avoid errors and they teach you how to fix mistakes.”
When asked what the best thing is about coming to Camosun, Matt doesn’t hesitate. “Learning, for sure, and being around professionals.”
Now that his first year has come to an end, Matt is looking for an apprenticeship position at one of the fine local restaurants in the B.C. capital.
“My plan is to come back in September and do the night classes to continue towards my Red Seal.”