Seven months. That’s the length of time that Emileigh Kozdas, a Loyalist College Culinary Management graduate, spent at Eigensinn Farms interning with internationally renowned Chef Michael Stadtländer. She lived in the home of Chef Stadtländer with his family and five other culinary interns from around the world. Emileigh could not begin to list the many things that she learned during that time but she was adamant about what she had gained – a deep and newly found appreciation for each ingredient she uses when preparing food.
Chef Stadtländer’s farm-to-table eatery at Eigensinn in Singhampton has been ranked as one of the top ten restaurants in the world. He belongs to a small group of conscientious chefs committed to expressing the land on which they work in the food that they prepare. Dining at Eigensinn Farms is often described as a once in a lifetime experience – an exclusive dinner for only 12 guests for the price of $300 per plate.
“The Chef is a very good teacher and such an interesting man,” said Emileigh. “His vision and creativity are incredible and he is capable of approaching things from a multitude of ways – from perspectives that most of us would never consider. An example of this was Foodstock in October. Chef Stadtländer is the President of the Chef’s Congress of Canada and was the mastermind behind this event. He invited over 100 chefs from across Canada, including Jamie Kennedy and Shawn Adler, to cook with him in the Honeywood countryside using produce from the nearby farms. Over 28,000 people attended the event in support of the movement to stop the Melancthon County Quarry. It was surreal to be a part of this and know that I had contributed to something of this magnitude – for such a good cause.
“My internship on the farm gave me a better understanding of the amount of work it takes to grow, harvest and raise the produce and meat that we so often take for granted. I became much more careful in my food preparation practices, avoiding waste whenever possible. I realized that when you use produce fresh from your garden there is no need to add an abundance of extra flavors and spices – they are rich with natural flavor that need no enhancement. As a cook, an appreciation of the products you are working with is one of the greatest strengths you can have.
“My internship was the perfect conclusion to my Loyalist College Culinary program, which was an amazing learning experience. The small class sizes enabled our faculty to connect with us as individuals. I learned exceptional culinary skills and perhaps, most importantly, I grew as a person. I attribute that to our professors who sincerely cared about us as students and did everything they possibly could to prepare us for success in the workforce. The past two and a half years have given me the confidence to take the next step – I’m taking my organic culinary skills and moving to Montreal. I can’t wait to start the next exciting chapter.”
Within one year students can earn a Culinary Skills – Chef Training certificate or continue for the second year and receive a Culinary Management diploma. Information about the programs can be found at loyalistcollege.com or plan to attend the college’s Junior Iron Chef Competition on February 18. The Loyalist Culinary students are hosting this exciting annual event in conjunction with a Food and Beverage Show in the Kente Building cafeteria. Admission is $5.00 and everyone is welcome.