A New Adventure in the Okanagan

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Moving across the country is a big change, especially when you are doing it by yourself. Last week, I packed up half my life and moved across the country to Kelowna, British Columbia, in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. This summer, I am taking part in the Marriott Hotel Internship Program for college and university students. It is the first time this program has taken place in Canada, and the hotel I am interning at has contracted the highest number of interns in all of Canada this year.

Entrance to the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort
Entrance to the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort

I had the great pleasure to sign a contract with Marriott International to intern at the Delta by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort, and let me just say how beautiful the property is! The property is on the waterfront of the Okanagan Lake, which extends from Penticton in the south to Vernon at its north (44 kilometres north of Kelowna). The associates at the Delta Grand, as it’s called around here, are such pleasant people and a great team! The Delta Grand is the home of a restaurant called Oka+Cru, which looks amazing, and is where I will be working! The executive chef, Chef Dan Craig is a world-class chef, having won various awards from international competitions, such as a gold medal from the Chaine des Rotisseurs Jeune Chef Concours in 2006. He was also part of Team Canada in the 2019 Bocuse d’Or international competition.

The executive pastry chef, Chef Arthur Chen, has probably created the most talented works I have ever seen. He is originally from China and moved to North America to work in luxury hotel brand kitchens. In 2002, he received a letter from Buckingham Palace, addressed solely to himself, from the Queen, expressing her marvel at his talent during her visit to the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel in Vancouver. Currently, his chocolate sculpture of Alfredo Linguini and Remy from Ratatouille stands in the public’s view of the Oak+Cru wine room. There are plenty more senior staff members which I have not mentioned that are also a huge pleasure to work with, such as Bella, Ashley and Eugene.

Chocolate sculpture made by Executive Pastry Chef Arthur Chen depicting Linguine from Ratatouille.
Chocolate sculpture made by Executive Pastry Chef Arthur Chen depicting Linguine from Ratatouille.

My time in the Delta Grand kitchens will be in the pastry kitchen, working under Executive Pastry Chef Arthur Chen. What’s so great about this hotel is that because it is so big, there are lots of opportunities to grow, experience different positions and learn from lots of different people. One of the priorities of Chef Craig is to ensure that all the culinary interns receive the most experience across all different parts of the kitchen, including banquets, restaurant line and pastries. This excites me because I will be able to also get some training in other parts of the hotel. A major component of the Marriott Hotel Internship Program is that all interns must shadow another associate in any other department of the hotel at least once during the internship.

I am so excited to start working, hopefully, this week and cannot wait to learn some new skills and techniques from the team here at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Centre!

Here’s to a new adventure!

Until next time, Happy Adventuring!

Ahmed

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