Alumni Success: Elissa Polkowski; Culinary Arts

Name: Elissa Polkowski

Grad Year: 2017
Program: Culinary Arts

Current Workplace & Title or Position:

Apprentice Line, Prep and Banquet Cook at Lakeview Hecla Resort

Any Achievements during school or post- grad:

During my time at ATC, I had the privilege of participating in Skills Manitoba and went on to place gold at Skills Canada. I would have never been able to do without all of my amazing teachers. Their support was endless, they guided me, pushed me and taught me so much during that time. I can’t be more thankful. To this day, I still use all the skills I learned during my competition practice. Not to mention the connections that being a part of Skills Canada brought me. I also had the honour of being the Valedictorian of my program, receiving two scholarships.
Since Graduation because of the connections I made at ATC I am now an apprentice at Lakeview Hecla resort I am working alongside some pretty talented people, who are kind and always
push me to keep learning, to keep getting better. We have become amazing community of hard working cooks that always have each other’s back. We are always there for each other, we are a team. A team that shares a lot of smiles and laughter in the kitchen. I could not have asked for a better place to learn and grow. I am working towards my Red Seal as a cook and I am just over half way done. Because of my job and my mentor Chef Shane, I have had the opportunity to be a part of the 2017 Poutine Cup (third place) and a member of a team competing in the Gold Medal Plates competition (Silver). I am now a member of the CCFCC. The more I work as a cook, the more you understand how small the culinary community is and how important it is to make connections and have each other’s backs.

Advice to current ATC students:

Ask Questions, ask so many questions you drive your teachers crazy. If you want to learn something, if you are curious, if you want to experiment. Ask your teacher. You are in school from September to June and I promise that time will fly by so fast. So, listen to your teachers, absorb as much from them as you can. Take every opportunity they place in front of you, because you have no idea where that will take you. Don’t let fear stop you, if your teachers think you can handle it, trust them and do it. Make friends, help each other out.

What ATC did for you? Or Why choose ATC?

ATC did so much for me. I learned so much far beyond the curriculum. They gave me opportunities, they gave me experience, they gave me friends, they pushed me to places I never thought I could go. During my training even though school starts at 9:45am, My teacher, Chef Bender, would show up at 7:30 every morning so I could get in the extra practice. Or even more when I was not practicing for competition. I wanted to practice my sauce more, or my knife skills, practicing for my practical exams. My teachers would always allow me to come in early and practice. We as a class even got to create a cookbook. To make our own recipes and even go to other schools and teach teens how to make them.