Student Success Stories

first-hand experiences from top toques graduates

Taking the risk and stepping into something new has paid off for these students. Be inspired to follow your passion as you read through the following stories.
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"The teachers are always going to be there for you whenever you need help."
- Chef Aiden

Aiden's culinary journey began in Kitchener, where he was born and raised. His passion for cooking ignited during a youth culinary camp, but it wasn't until after high school that he returned to the kitchen. He began at the Amsterdam Brew House, facing the challenges of a fast-paced kitchen, which ultimately opened doors to other exciting opportunities.

Realizing the importance of formal culinary education, Aiden enrolled in the Chef de Cuisine program at Top Toques in 2021, leveraging his five years of hands-on kitchen experience. During his time as a student in 2022, Aiden won the Silver Prize and title of Canada's Best New Student Chef at Taste Canada Cooks the Books Student Competition. After graduating in May 2023, he joined the prestigious Sky Bistro at The Village Gondola as a Line Cook, working diligently towards his Red Seal Certification.

Aiden has big plans for the future, aiming to gain international experience in Australia, Ireland, or Tulum, Mexico. He emphasizes the value of hands-on learning and understanding culinary theory, encouraging aspiring chefs not to give up, with the support of dedicated teachers at Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence.

Aiden's culinary journey is one to watch as he continues to make his mark in the industry.

Sky Bistro at The Village Gondola - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence
Plating with Passion - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence

"Education is power." - Chef Destiny

Destiny's path commenced in Kitchener, where she found a loving adoptive family in a German household in Waterloo. She embraced their farm-to-table customs and her grandmother's wise culinary guidance throughout her upbringing. As Destiny grew older, she became more curious about her indigenous culture and cuisine.

In the midst of her accomplished tenure as a senior manager in the tech sector, Destiny's passion and curiosity for the culinary arts led her to the doors of Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence for a recreational cooking class.

Shortly afterwards, the COVID-19 pandemic evolved and Destiny decided to quit her job and pursue her dreams of becoming an entrepreneurial chef full-time.

Enrolling in the Specialist Chef program at Top Toques, Destiny discovered an educational environment that fostered her growth and individuality. With the flexibility and support of her Chef Instructors, Destiny was able to manage and excel in her program with dyslexia. She exhibited unyielding resilience as she honed her skills and fortified her culinary spirit. Graduating from the college with an honours diploma, she established Food Zen - a catering service to honour indigenous culinary cuisine and holistic cooking principles.

Check out Destiny at www.foodzen.ca

"The school will help you get a job - or create your own!" - Jayanthi

In 1993, Jayanthi's journey from India to Canada ignited a deep passion for French cuisine amidst cultural fusion.
Her harmonious blend of French and Indian culinary influences began to take shape, giving rise to a unique style. Despite a successful career in dental assistance and office management, her heart yearned for a culinary pursuit aligned with her soul.

Her pivotal moment arrived at Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence, where she earned her Top Toques Diploma in 2017.

Her skillful cooking at home, applauded by friends and family, had found its avenue for growth. The allure of culinary excellence led her to France, where a 9-month program and work at a Michelin-starred restaurant deepened her mastery.

Returning to Canada, Jayanthi's culinary prowess grew operating her own bakeshop in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. Her creations reflect her personality, radiating positivity. Javanthi's journey from doubt to triumph culminated in the establishment of "J's Cakes" in March 2023. With a fully booked business, her delectable offerings reflect not just her culinary skill but the profound passion that fuels her remarkable journey.

Check out J's Cakes on Instagram at instagram.com/jayanthivellore

"The attention from the Chef Instructors made the difference in my training."
- Patrick

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick's journey has been a fascinating evolution. He transitioned from engineering and the oil industry to culinary artistry, inspired by his explorations in Africa. There, he not only savored diverse flavors but also discovered the unity of communal dining. A trusted friend's recognition of his culinary talent led to a chance to lead a Savannah restaurant. In just six months, Patrick's innate dedication earned him a position overseeing a Fort Lauderdale establishment. These exciting culinary experiences pushed Patrick to pursue professional culinary education to help him further his career.

In 2019, Patrick embarked on a transformative journey at Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence, enrolling in the Culinary Management program full-time. One of his fondest memories at the institution was the collaborative spirit in the Chef's Tables and lunches, where they honed their menu planning and teamwork skills. The unwavering support and mentorship they received from the chef instructors played a pivotal role in shaping their career. Even today, he continues to cherish the reassurance that he can turn to his mentors for guidance.

Currently, Patrick has been fully booked as a Personal/Private Chef, working for a diverse and exciting array of clients. Their clients include former professional golfers, government officials, Broadway personalities, lawyers, basketball players, Hollywood stars and fellow chefs. Patrick has ambitious plans for the future, including opening a high-end bed and breakfast to continue serving his clientelle. They aim to incorporate their unique background and traditions into modern culinary offerings.

Their journey from Trinidad and Tobago to Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence has not only enriched their culinary skills, but also their future.

Check out Patrick's Personal Cheffing services at www.chefpatricklaurence.com

"Top Toques has levelled up my culinary skills, enhanced my flavors, and built my confidence." - Amanda

Meet Amanda, a culinary enthusiast from Toronto, who found her culinary calling in the heart of Kitchener. Born to Jamaican parents, Amanda's culinary journey began out of necessity during her childhood, where she took charge in the kitchen due to her parents' aversion to cooking. Her favorite childhood memories revolve around her favourite recipe, chicken curry with basil.

Inspired by both traditional French cuisine and comfort foods, Amanda's passion for cooking led her to pursue her dreams in the culinary world.

With no prior industry experience, Amanda decided to dive into the culinary realm during the challenging times of COVID. Having previously run her Etsy store selling candles, she craved a business where people actually needed her products.

With more free time on her hands, she took the leap and enrolled in Top Toques' Culinary Management program. Amanda's culinary adventure truly took off when she landed a position at the Arlington Hotel in Paris, ON, where she engaged in batch cooking, plating, and preparing wedding feasts for up to 200 guests.

Currently, Amanda is in the process of starting her own personal chef venture, "the comfort dish." With a vision of providing simple and delicious comfort food that customers can enjoy, Amanda will cater to diverse tastes and preferences. She found her true self in cooking and is eagerly anticipating the exciting journey that lies ahead.
Amanda's experience at Top Toques has provided her hands-on cooking experience with invaluable skills and techniques, boosting her confidence and elevating her culinary expertise. Amanda's message tp aspiring chefs echoes her enthusiasm and newfound confidence: "Honestly, do it. If you enjoy cooking, there's nothing about culinary school you will hate. It's fun, its learning, it's good food. Top Toques has levelled up my culinary skills, enhanced my flavors, and built my confidence. Now, I know I am a good chef."

"Come to Top Toques, where you have support every step of the way."
- Vaylene

Vaylene Phillip's was born in Hollywood, Florida, and raised in Cambridge. Her family sought a better quality of life and education in Canada. Growing up in a family of tradespeople and with a strong Caribbean background, Vaylene was naturally drawn to the culinary arts, with heavy Caribbean influences in her cooking. Her favorite dish, Macaroni Pie, holds a special place in her heart.

Vaylene's love for cooking was ignited early in life when she watched her grandmother in the kitchen at the tender age of seven. Under her grandmother's guidance, she honed her knife skills and developed a deep appreciation for the culinary arts. She went on to earn an academic background in criminology and law & society, but it did not align with her true calling and passion for being the in the culinary world.

Shortly after graduating with her law degree, Vaylene had already ventured into the culinary industry by starting her own catering business. While her passion for food was undeniable, the business aspect of running her company proved challenging.

Her journey took a significant turn when she became the Head Chef at a Toronto addiction rehab center in 2016. However, she realized she needed formal culinary education to pursue her dream. With recommendations from Chef Destiny Mozer of FoodZen, Vaylene joined Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence, where she found incredible support and mentorship. Vaylene enrolled in the Culinary Management program in January 2023, and is still a student with us today.

In the middle of her program, Vaylene secured an incredible job as the Head Chef at The Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph and has her sights set on becoming a celebrity chef, jet-setting around the globe.

Her experience at Top Toques, guided by dedicated teachers like Chef Elaina and Chef Dean, has not only refined her culinary skills but also instilled in her the importance of teamwork and mentorship. For anyone considering a culinary education, Vaylene's message is clear: "Come to Top Toques, where you have support every step of the way". She encourages aspiring chefs to take the first steps toward their culinary dreams, as Top Toques provides a nurturing environment to turn those dreams into a reality.

The power of passion, education, and mentorship

Introducing Miranda Costie, a culinary enthusiast whose journey began in the picturesque town of Hinton, Alberta. Growing up with a family deeply rooted in healthcare, Miranda's passion for culinary arts sparked during her time as an undergrad at Queens University in Nursing. Playing high-level hockey, she realized the profound impact food had on her performance, leading her to explore the intersection of sports, nutrition, and culinary arts. With a love for adventure racing and a background in public health nursing, Miranda embarked on a sabbatical, seeking a change that aligned with her passion for food and community.

In 2018, Miranda found her way to Top Toques and enrolled in the Culinary Management program. Her experience at the school, particularly under the mentorship of Chef Elaina, proved transformative. Miranda's passion for food systems and her desire to connect communities to local, affordable food found a perfect match at Top Toques. With the guidance of dedicated instructors, she delved into international cuisines, notably Middle Eastern cuisine, broadening her perspective and understanding of food's role in solving complex problems.

Currently, Miranda wears multiple hats as a Public Health Nurse and an advocate for culinary education. She runs her own business, selling honey, garlic, and eggs to benefit her community. Miranda is actively involved in advocating for culinary programs in schools, aiming to improve access to food, skill-building, and nutrition education. She collaborates on national policy initiatives, challenging federal subsidies that compromise the quality of food in schools, and passionately works towards creating positive change in her community.

Looking ahead, Miranda is excited about her higher-level education plans, focusing on studying food systems and local governments. Her experience at Top Toques has equipped her with unparalleled skills and knowledge, shaping her into a culinary leader and advocate for positive change. Reflecting on her time at the school, Miranda emphasizes the importance of researching instructors, acknowledging that her training under Chef Dean and Chef Elaina was pivotal. Their expertise not only enhanced her culinary skills but also inspired her to make a meaningful impact on people's lives through her culinary expertise.

Miranda's story stands as a testament to the power of passion, education, and mentorship. Top Toques provided her with the platform to merge her love for food with her dedication to community well-being. As she continues her journey, Miranda remains a shining example of the positive change one can create with the right culinary education and a heart dedicated to making a difference.

Miranda Costie - Student Success Story - Article Image 2 - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence
Miranda Costie - Student Success Story - Article Image 1 - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence


Click on the image below to view the full article or download the PDF of the article.
Student Success Story - Aiden Moher - Image - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence
Student Success Story - Destiny Moser - Image - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence
Student Success Story - Jayanthi Vellore - Image - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence
Student Success Story - Patrick Laurence - Image - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence
Student Success Story - Amanda Vie - Document - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence
Student Success Story - Vaylene Phillips - Document - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence
Student Success Story - Miranda Costie - Document - Top Toques Institute of Culinary Excellence

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