“I can do anything I put my mind to. I am superwoman”, says Delmarie with a bright smile on her face. She has recently been ‘officially’ promoted to the position of a station chef at Willows Dining, Woodbine Racetrack. She was able to claim her promotion after challenging the Red Seal exam and becoming a Red Seal certified cook. This achievement was the result of Delmarie’s hard work, passion, nurturing guidance from her supervisors at Woodbine and Hospitality Workers Training Centre’s UpSkill program.
Delmarie fell in love with cooking at 10 years of age, when her grandmother inspired her interest and encouraged her in the kitchen. As a young girl in the Commonwealth of Dominica, however, she was discouraged to pursue cooking as a profession. She joined computer sciences but dropped out soon as this was not her passion. Canada was home to her best friend and a hub of culinary arts education. This attracted her to come here as a student to finally pursue culinary arts as a profession and achieve the success she had always imagined for herself. As a Culinary Management student at Humber College, she excelled in her studies and assignments. That is why she was noticed by her teacher, an executive chef at Woodbine, who offered her the job of prep cook. Although she had a job before graduation and was growing professionally, the student loans were still a burden to bear. She had already been promoted to the position of a cook and three years later to the position of a station chef, but the position couldn’t be official without the required certifications. She was working at a higher position but could not claim the rewards. When she heard about HWTC’s UpSkill program through which she could take the Red Seal prep course at George Brown College, free of charge, she quickly availed the opportunity. She enrolled, she performed, and she conquered – making her promotion a reality on paper. Consequently, her wages increased by more than 20% from her last position.
UpSkill is HWTC’s new training program for existing hospitality workers and UNITE HERE Local 75 members, offering a variety of free training courses for elevating and expanding their skills for career advancement and mobility. Some of the UpSkill courses take place at George Brown College whereas others are held at various hotel properties.
Delmarie is now proudly managing a team of 20 people at a young age of 27.
“I want to be a leader and not a boss, that is my vision.”
With her eyes set on becoming a junior sous chef and climbing up the ladder even further, she is already on her way to success.
Photo Credit: Soofia Mahmood