Parksville resident Alex Rennie has been inducted into the National Chefs Honour Society for his extensive experience working as a chef.
The Honour Society was created to recognize leadership, professional excellence, lifetime commitment and significant contributions to the profession and the Canadian Culinary Federation while promoting culinary excellence, friendship and goodwill.
Rennie, who was born and raised in Scotland, moved to Parksville in 1970 after graduating Langside College in Glasgow and completing a five year apprenticeship with British Railway Hotels.
He said he was planning to move to Australia with his wife and two sons but after a visit to his parents, who immigrated to Parksville in 1968, Rennie said they “lured” him in.
“They had the only bakeshop in town… Rennie’s Ideal Bakeshop,” Rennie said. “I worked at the bakery for the first six months.”
Eventually, Rennie was offered a position as chef at the former Qualicum Heritage Inn — which used to be the all-boys Qualicum College.
“That was the hotel of the area. It was the only hotel north of Victoria open until 10 p.m. and it was the only hotel that males in the dinning room wore tuxedoes and ladies wore evening gowns,” Rennie said. “I was head chef for seven years.”
After that, Rennie began a career at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University), where he was a culinary instructor for 28 years and department head for the last nine years.
He’s since retired but has received dozens of national and international awards and medals for his culinary skills throughout his career.
To be inducted into the National Chefs Honour Society, a chef must first be nominated by someone but can’t apply themselves. After an individual is nominated they must send the judges all information associated with their culinary career.
“We’re all under the umbrella of the Canadian Culinary Federation. My branch is Victoria and this is the second time that Victoria has nominated me,” Rennie said. “There’s three regions; Eastern, Central and Western. Western is the four provinces and there’s only four chefs allowed (to be inducted into the hall of fame) from each section. This time they’ve only selected two and I’m one of them.”
Rennie will officially be inducted on May 28 at a gala during the 56th annual National Conference in Niagara Falls.
“There’s so many great chefs in Canada,” Rennie said.