Accomplished chef takes over cook’s training in Powell River

Avi Sternberg joins Vancouver Island University culinary arts program

There’s a new chef in town. Starting this week Avi Sternberg is sharing his skill and knowledge with the students of Vancouver Island University’s culinary arts program in Powell River.

“Based on his resuméand lengthy experience in the field, we’re very excited for him to come on board,” said Brooks Secondary School career education coordinator Jim Palm.

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The seven-month diploma course takes place at Brooks and is available to graduates and mature students as well as high school students who can receive dual credit for it.

Sternberg’s career has taken him around the world, including being the first western student to enrol at Tsuji Ecole Culinaire, a branch of the elite Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka, Japan.In order to get accepted into the program, he first had to become fluent in Japanese.

Sternberg wrote about his experiences in a book: Itamae: My Life in Front of the Cutting Board. Part memoir and part cookbook, it tells of his inspiration to pursue cookery in Japan, where he apprenticed at a three-star Michelin restaurant and received certification to serve poisonous blowfish. For the last several years, Sternberg has been teaching culinary skills around the province. His knowledge and experience allow him to give unique insight on the food business, he said.

“One of the biggest things I bring to this position is a well-balanced perspective on the restaurant and hospitality industry because I’ve worked in many different fields,” he said.

Culinary arts training opens many more doors than prospective students might imagine, according to Sternberg.

“What’s very special to communicate to the students is a career in the kitchen isn’t your only option in approaching culinary arts,” he added. “There are hundreds of fields you can walk into with this training.”

Sternberg will initially be relocating to Powell River on his own. His wife and two children will stay in Smithers, BC, for the time being, although he said the hope is to make the move to the coast more permanent.

“This particular region has a good balance of what we’re looking for in a work-life situation,” said Sternberg.

This includes the proximity to the ocean and access to fresh produce, including seafood.

“Being a chef the concept and culture of buying local and supporting local producers is a huge factor for me,” he added. Though the program started this week, there are still a few spots available. For more information, contact

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