Rob Feenie

Rob Feenie

Chef cooks up award for culinary students

NANAIMO – Chef Rob Feenie announces award for VIU culinary students.

Celebrity chef Rob Feenie came out to Vancouver Island University Thursday to share his knowledge and officially inaugurate the Cactus Club Culinary Award.

Cactus Club Cafe has partnered with the university to establish an annual $1,000 educational award for VIU culinary students.

Feenie, executive chef for the Cactus Club Cafe chain, joined Perry Schmunk, Cactus Club marketing director, to present Bruce Williams, VIU Foundation board chairman, and Debbie Shore, VIU chef and culinary department chairwoman, with a cheque for $3,000 to pay for the award for the next three years.

After the demonstration, Feenie and Jasmin Percic, Cactus Club product development chef, gave students a demonstration on how to prepare braised lamb ravioli.

Feenie also shared with the students his knowledge and passion for his profession and personal experiences from travelling abroad over the course of his career.

“I hope at some point I’ll get to work with all of you,” Feenie said to the class at the start of the demonstration. “I love what I do.”

Students also received signed copies of Feenie’s latest cookbook.

Feenie opened the internationally celebrated Lumière Restaurant in Vancouver, followed by Lumière Tasting Bar and then Feenie’s, a more casual Canadian Bistro, next door to Lumière, in 2003. Competing on the television show Iron Chef America, he won his event.

Cactus Club Nanaimo also hosted a private reception Thursday evening to celebrate its 15th anniversary and renovation grand opening where it auctioned off a moose head that once decorated the dining room, for charity bids supporting the VIU culinary program.