What motivated you to learn abroad? And why did you choose the ITHQ?
Before coming to Quebec, I studied law, but I didn't like it. I wanted to become a chef instead. I decided to do my training abroad to develop good knowledge and get a richer educational experience.
I did a lot of research to find the right school. I looked around the world, particularly in France and Canada. I printed out the programs for several cooking schools, including the ITHQ. When I showed the ITHQ program to the chef at the restaurant where I worked, he said, “That school is a really good one, Rodrigo. Trust me.”
Once I had chosen my school, I had another challenge: the courses were all in French! But I said to myself: “This is my dream. If I have to learn French to pursue it, I’ll do it.” I came to Quebec a year early and immediately enrolled at a Montreal languages school. The program was split into two parts: six months of coursework and a six-month workplace internship. Of course, I chose to work in a kitchen! It was a dual challenge to work in another language and a profession that I had just started to learn. Although I had worked in restaurants in Brazil for a few months, my real kitchen experience started here. Today, there are words for utensils, ingredients and cooking techniques that I don’t know in Portuguese and that I only know in French!
What challenges did you have at the ITHQ?
I remember my first interview. I was so nervous and anxious that I forgot everything, even my French! One thing that I did manage to express was my dream of studying cooking. That was the only thing I wanted.
In the end, I was accepted into the ECP program. At first, I was a bit surprised at how challenging it is to study here. The school is quite strict, from the dress code to the discipline of the instructors. But I think the military aspect is part of the chef’s job. I love it when things are perfect, organized, clean, and fast. I'm really passionate about these qualities.
What are your professional ambitions?
I’m not sure what I’m going to do after I finish my studies. I want to go back to Brazil and open a restaurant to share everything I’ve learned here. However, I also want to get more experience here in Quebec. Two years isn't enough. I have so much more to learn. Talk to me again in five or six years!