Fanshawe professor and award-winning chef Scott Baechler leftthe classroom to travel to Basel,Switzerland to compete with thenational culinary team in the SalonCulinaire Mondial –deemed oneof the three most prestigious culi-nary competitions in the world.“This is as high as it gets,” said Baechler, a mild-mannered man of 41, who travelled to Switzerland November 18 for the competition,which runs from November 23 to27.The competition itself consistsof two components; hot served cold, and cold show salon –whichCanada historically excels in.It won’t be a walk in the park,however.“It’s not a vacation,” he said.“They will probably have wash-room breaks written into the itiner-ary.”The Goderich, Ontario native isused to travel, having lived and worked in several places beforeFanshawe entered the picture.“I did seven years in Toronto, Ilived in the Leeward Islands in theCaribbean, all over out west … and United Emirates in Dubai,” hesaid.But the former executive chef never really set his sights on com- petitions like this.“It’s always something that’s been on the back burner for me,”said Baechler. “At a younger age Iwas more focused on business, get-ting my head within the hotels and reaching the executive chef level,so I put that stuff on hold.”“Now the opportunity’s here and I’m going to cook my heart out and see what happens.”And so for the past few months,Baechler has been getting to knowhis teammates, despite playerschanging in and out.“Strategizing [and] gelling of the team is incredibly important,”he said. “You can have individualswho have great skillsets, but if thedynamics don’t work, or commu-nication or trust doesn’t work, it’sa challenge.”Though Team Canada partici- pates in competitions based inSwitzerland, Luxembourg, NewYork and Germany, it’s uncom-mon that core team members willgo to all four.“In a perfect world, I’d love togo to all four [competitions],” said Baechler. “It is a very heavy work-load, you can imagine this is on topof your regular schedule of work.”“Each competition is a little bitdifferent,” said Baechler. “Somecore members may stay the fullfour years, in more cases than not,the players change in and out based on dynamics, based on availability, based on schedules.”Like Baechler, his Canadianteammates all hold regular jobs.And that’s what sets TeamCanada apart from countries likeSweden. While Canada is knownto be competitive, other countrieswill pay their competitors to focuson training, which he sees as ahuge competitive advantage.“As far as we go, I think the biggest thing is, we’ve got a newstyle, which is pretty aggressive,”he said. “Either the judges are real-ly going to like it, or they won’t.”Baechler will return to teachafter Basel, but what’s next for thechef?“Professional development isvery important to me,” he said.“Most chefs are very creative, and they want to be pushed and theywant to become better. It’s a self-evaluation thing, or else I would die. You’d just become compla-cent.”“I’m proud of the things I’ve been a part of here at Fanshawe,and the small things that I’ve beenable to make … Rather than look back, I want to look forward.”Find out more about TeamCanada at culinaryteamcanada.caor follow their journey in Basalfrom their Twitter handle,@CulTeamCan.
Volume 46 Issue No. 14 November 25, 2013 www.fsu.ca/interrobang/
Get to know your neighbours, people. It could be the first steptoward bridging the miscommuni-cation gap between London resi-dents and students.The City of London’s core com-munity groups were represented atthe Town and Gown meeting,which took place November 13.The topic of discussion thatnight was Project L.E.A.R.N.(Liquor Enforcement And Reduction of Noise). According toTony Frost, executive director of reputation and brand managementat Fanshawe College, the forumwas held for residents and studentsto voice their concerns, thoughtsand comments.“Town and Gown is making surewe’re aware of what is going on between each other,” said Frost.“Then we’re working towardssolutions that help us interact bet-ter.”“Having everybody come and say how they feel and describetheir interactions really helps usget to a point where we can start tocome up with solutions that willremedy the situation,” Frost said.Adam Gourlay, president of theFanshawe Student Union (FSU)came out of the meeting with theimpression that people are “strong-ly opinionated” when it comes toProject L.E.A.R.N.“People were too strong onwhere they stand,” said Gourlay.“Is either side of it 100 per centcorrect? No. But both sides madegood points and it shows we haveto work together as a community.”Gourlay was reported byLondon Community News saying,“The Fanshawe Student Union was put in an uncomfortable position asit was perceived by much of the public that we were aware of the pursuits of the (LPS).”However, he and the StudentUnion believe Project L.E.A.R.N.will serve students best by devel-oping into an education piece.“We believe that ProjectL.E.A.R.N. is essential for devel-oping a strong community relation-ship,” he said.Gourlay also said that the door-to-door tactic could be helpful, butonly with a different approach.“If they don’t gather information –if they just talk to students and make their presence known just bytalking and being friendly and open-minded and communicative,that’s where the benefit lies.”From Frost’s perspective as avoting member on the Town and Gown Committee, he saw light bulbs going off on both sides.“At the end of the day, I think we’ll all come away with a moreenlightened view of each other and the actions that we take and howthey affect each other,” said Frost.But change will not happenovernight.“Everybody will have to goaway and formulate their ownresponse to the issues.”With waves of new studentscoming into London every year,for Gourlay and the Student Union,continuation of their door-to-door practices will hopefully stir changeand squash the trend.“Fanshawe’s numbers for theamounts of incidences has gonedown, and there’s a reason,” said Gourlay. “Because of constant,consistent, transparent communi-cation.”The FSU president and his/her executive council go door-to-door at peak times of the school year – beginning, Halloween, St.Patrick’s and end –to let studentsknow when police are out in fullforce and why.“It takes us a couple hours, butwe still do it,” said Gourlay.“We’re going into [the areas] nomatter who’s in this residence,we’re going to talk to them if wecan.”To move forward, Frost suggeststhe meeting facilitated conversa-tion and understanding.“You have to appreciate whatthe other brings to where you are,”he said. “I do believe that at thevery least, you’ve gone throughthis process, people will be moreaware of each other. And that’sgoing to lead to a good place for us.”
One step toward mending fences
Competition:A dishbest served cold
CREDIT: STEPHANIE LAI
Scott Baechler, chef and professor in the School of Tourism andHospitality, left for Switzerland November 18 to compete with TeamCanada at the Salon Culinaire Mondial from November 23 to 27.
A London resident speaks to theTown and Gown Committee abouthis concerns over student parties.