Chef Instructor Spotlight: Darren Clay

Chef Darren graduated culinary school in 1998, finished in the top 5% of his class for his Red Seal, and then set off to further his education and apply his skills on an International level in Singapore, Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia for 3 years before returning to the West Coast. After completing his Provincial Instructor’s Diploma in 2009, Chef Darren joined the faculty here at PICA.

See what inspired him to become a Chef, what advice he has for aspiring Chefs like you, and what he feels sets PICA students apart from the rest:

What inspired you to become a Chef?

Simply put, I love to eat! I’ve always loved food. I have many childhood memories of my Mom’s garden and how delicious the food tasted; I even “borrowed” vegetables from neighbouring gardens with my friends on occasion…so I’d say that the proximity to food attracted me to this profession, but the ability to travel the world, the lifelong learning that goes along with the craft, and the great feeling of satisfaction I get from feeding people hooked me for life!

What advice do you have for an aspiring Chef?

Go into this profession for the love and passion of cooking, working with food and feeding people. The hours can be long, the money can take time to make, and it can be taxing on your social life, but the people who work in the industry are amazing and the job satisfaction is second to none. We get to feed and nourish people, it doesn’t get more rewarding than that!

What sets PICA students apart from the rest?

They learn, cook, and eat together! There is a great feeling of community here at the Institute and with that the students push each other throughout the program to be at their very best!

"I’m passionate about food and have always been interested in the “How’s & Why’s” of cooking.  As an instructor I believe knowing these are the keys to learning.  When teaching,  I aim to keep classes fresh and stimulating by remembering what its like to be a student." - Chef Darren


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