Young man in a kitchen

tiwšɛmawtxʷ (Powell River) Culinary

Culinary Arts at the tiwšɛmawtxʷ campus is suspended for 2023.  We will be accepting applications starting October 1, 2023 for September 2024.

1-Year Certificate Program

Immerse yourself in farm-to-table cooking

Discover a new way to think about the food you prepare. Gain an appreciation for ingredients through field trips to meet local producers. Deepen your understanding of the relationship between food, the land and sea as you learn about running a sustainable restaurant. And prepare delicious food in a way that honours what you’ve learned.

Train in a working kitchen

The Birch Tree Café and Bistro is your classroom. Here you get the full experience of running a gourmet farm-to-table kitchen. You and your classmates work closely with master chef instructors to plan, prepare and serve food to the public.

Become a Red Seal certified chef

After ten months of classes and two months of paid internship, you'll earn Professional Cooking Level 1 and Professional Cooking Level 2. With these certificates, you can go on to earn Red Seal certification at the VIU Nanaimo campus. Red Seal chefs can find work in the top kitchens anywhere in the world.

Unique certification

VIU is one of 12 schools in the world to offer Bronze Certification in Japanese Cooking Skills. And we're the only school in Canada where you can get this sought-after certification.

Personal instructionVIU culinary student and instructor working together.

The Birch Tree Café and Bistro is a small training facility. So you learn your trade in a small group and get personal attention from your instructors.

Your instructors

Lead Instructor Avi Sternberg is passionate about sharing his knowledge. With over 20 years' experience as a chef, working in a wide range of settings, he has a lot of knowledge to share. He also has Gold Certification in Japanese Cooking Skills.

Kristine Morrow is a pastry chef and baker with 15 years of experience. She has opened Five Diamond hotels, worked in Canada's best restaurants and resorts, and co-owns local pizzeria, Supercharger.

What you learn

You learn every step of setting up a café and bistro and preparing meals for the public. You’ll also gain experience catering a variety events.

Learn more about the Culinary Arts program

Industry experience

A two-month paid internship is part of the program, and local industry employers are waiting to hire VIU students.

Training in the qathet region

There is no better place to develop a farm-to-table, sustainable approach to cooking than the qathet region. The Birch Tree Café and Bistro is close to the ocean and to many farms that produce a diverse range of sustainable ingredients. The qathet region is famous for foraged foods like mushrooms that are sent to top restaurants in Vancouver and beyond.

The Birch Tree Café and Bistro is part of VIU's tiwšɛmawtxʷ campus in Powell River.

Learn more about VIU’s tiwšɛmawtxʷ campus