If you sit down for lunch or dinner at Earls Kitchen + Bar in Toronto, chances are there’s a dash of Humber College in your meal.
The dean of delicious at Earls is Head Chef Ibrahim Tams, a Humber alumni who recently received an Alumni Distinction Award. (He graduated from Humber’s Apprentice Program in 1998.)
“I left high school and I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “I had one kitchen course and I was hooked. It was very influential on my career and on where I am now.”
As Head Chef, Ibrahim hasn’t forgotten his Humber roots and has since hired several Humber grads who help him serve up to 2,000 dishes daily.
“Right now there are three grads in my kitchen,” said Ibrahim. “But we actually have 10 in our five locations in Ontario, most of whom are from Humber’s culinary program.” (The Head Chef at Earls in Chicago is also a Humber grad.)
Back at Ibrahim’s restaurant, the grads cover the entire kitchen – senior chefs, sous chefs, prep cooks, line cooks – all of whom are talented and reliable.
“I understand the program and the rigorous training they do at Humber,” said Ibrahim. “The way the faculty treat their students is awesome.”
Ibrahim has no problem admitting he loves mentoring fellow alumni. His working relationship with Humber grads always starts with a good first impression, describing new hires as “engaged, personable, passionate and wanting to learn.”
He admits making the transition to working in such a high-volume restaurant right out of school isn’t easy. But Humber grads are so grounded in their skill set, they quickly adapt to the fast pace, and they’re soon moving faster than customers’ forks.
“I know anyone who comes out of Humber is solid,” said Ibrahim. “Their cooking skills paired with their people skills are a recipe for success.”