After deciding to pursue a long-term interest in the restaurant industry, Sonya Franceschini was immediately drawn to the Culinary Arts – Italian program at George Brown, the only program in Ontario with an exclusive partnership with ALMA Scuola di Cucina.
The reputation of the George Brown Chef School appealed to her, as did the four-month externship in Italy that comprises the second semester of the program.
After being accepted into the program and starting school, Sonya was struck by how small and well organized the classes were. “It was a highly professional atmosphere,” she says. “And because it’s a postgraduate program, everyone was really enthusiastic to be there.”
Sonya Franceschini (Graduate 2003, Culinary Arts – Italian)
"Never would I have thought that this program would change my life forever. Till this day I recommend this program to people who are willing to push themselves to the limit as a cook. When this program started, it was a non-stop push, from high intensity cooking classes, to language building and wine tasting. I always refer to it as 'cooking boot camp,' which is what I needed as a young cook. Chef Tomaselli was the perfect person to break me down and mould me to be prepared for my journey to come.
The second semester consisted of working four months in Italy, spending the first three weeks in ALMA Scuola di Cucina where we learned how to cook classic and modern Italian food from some of the best chefs in Italy. It was no joke when we were in the kitchen; the quality of products was amazing, which is why food was taken so seriously when we would cook. The passion, love and emotion from not just the chefs but the people there were amazing to witness. Our class was also lucky to visit wineries, farms, markets and amazing restaurants.
As I returned to Canada to finish my last semester, I had the chance to work at The Chefs’ House, where I had the pleasure to work under Chef Bennett, Chef Li and Chef Fernandes. It was at The Chefs’ House where I was able to create and execute a four-course tasting menu inspired by my time in Italy. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to work for my last placement as I learned many great things that moulded me into the cook I am today."
Marvin Palomo (Graduate 2013, Culinary Arts – Italian)
Kathlyne Ross is a graduate of the Culinary Management Program as well as the Italian Culinary Program. She jokes that she gets paid to eat and travel, but the Loblaw Vice-President takes her role as taste trendsetter seriously, travelling internationally in search of new flavours and cuisines. Responsible for strategic direction and vision for Loblaw's President's Choice and other private-label brands, Ross oversees a team of 35 and 9,000 products. Named one of 25 Women Changing the Way We Eat Now by Chatelaine and a Canadian Grocer Star Woman, Ross is a cheese expert and member of the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers. Before joining Loblaw in 2001, Ross worked as a chef in Australia and Ontario.
Kathlyne Ross (Graduate 1995, Culinary Arts – Italian; Graduate 1994, Culinary Management)