PROFILE: Culinary student Iafa Cac

IWD profile_IafaCac

Before coming to George Brown College's Chef School, Iafa Cac loved to cook, but didn't fully understand just how much food could affect her physical and mental health. Now, in the final year of the Culinary Management – Nutrition program, she can't wait to share her passion for healthy food with the world by developing life-changing recipes for people of all ages.

"When I started the program at GBC my only goal was simply to learn," she says. "But these two years have changed my whole world and the way I see food."

Iafa earned a degree in graphic design and worked as a photographer in Brazil before making a significant career shift to focus on cooking and nutrition, adding: "I don't regret it even for a second - best decision of my life."

Healthy school snacks

As part of the her program, Iafa was tasked with developing healthy, nutritious and nut-free snacks that can be used in programming in middle and secondary schools in Toronto. Iafa and her classmates are developing recipes that promote sustainability, community connections and food literacy. The recipes will also be easy for kids to make.

"It is great to see every little step we have to take to make a recipe perfect for everyone," Iafa says. "But I have to admit that being able to spread the idea of good eating habits and teaching kids to cook is something that I am very excited about. And showing people how food is important is one of my passions."

Future focus

Iafa aims to make a career as a recipe developer and to show people how easy healthy cooking can be. And she speaks from experience.

"In 2013, I was overweight, depressed and close to becoming diabetic. I loved to cook, but still didn’t know the importance of understanding and respecting the food and your body. One day I decided to start a diet, I was not even thinking about my health, just wanted to lose that weight. It took me a time to realize that any crazy diet would be a failure. What I needed was to understand my body, my mind and the food that was around me," she explains.

"I was so into food that I needed to learn more, from the best. That's how I found George Brown and two years ago, at the age of 33, changed my whole life."