Kamloops chef cooks up creative culinary business
An innovative food-based business is expanding in Kamloops under the skilled direction of a Red Seal chef.
Chef Chezter Rodriquez-Wieck is teaching cooking classes. His new business is called Kuzina Messer Culinaire.
“I enjoy teaching people new things and wanted to start something different in Kamloops,” he said.
Growing up in the Philippines where food was often hard to come by, he was inspired to help people on a budget create good food for their families and friends. Food sustainability, sourcing from local food producers and providing a safe, inclusive space for all experience levels is at the heart of Rodriguez-Wieck’s classes.
After working extensively with Community Futures last year, he launched his first cooking classes in January.
“It was a big leap of faith, my wife pushed me to pursue it,” he said. “I was hesitant about doing it, Kamloops doesn’t seem comfortable with change. A lot of my cuisine focusses on different cultural foods. Seeing what it was going to be like was nerve wracking.”
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Three classes are available every week, operating out of two commercial kitchens in the city, one at Gardengate and one at the Kamloops United Church. Beginners can learn knife skills, food safety practices and simple techniques while the more advanced can tackle difficult recipes, learn how to use uncommon ingredients and learn about fine dining.
“It's important people are comfortable in the kitchen,” Rodriquez-Wieck’s said. “It's a safe, inclusive and comfortable space for everyone. All kinds of people come to the classes, last week young parents brought their baby. There is always lots of food and leftovers for students to take home, no one goes hungry.”
Rodriquez-Wieck has been in the food industry for over ten years and graduated with honours at Thompson Rivers University as a certified Red Seal chef. He works with Kamloops Food Policy Council as a local food innovator. After completing a business boot camp with Community Futures, the council taught him more about food sustainability and connected him to local food sources and resources.
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He's looking forward to expanding his business this year, and making new connections at local farmers markets.
“It's a financially tight time for many families,” he said. “I’m passionate about teaching how to source food on a budget and create healthy, delicious meals.”
Go here for more information on Kuzina Messer Culinaire.
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