Alex Klassen, a sous chef at Mulligan's Restaurant in Winkler, has received a 2023 Apprenticeship Highest Achievement Award in the cook category. Handed out annually, the ceremony last week at the Legislature in Winnipeg recognized 38 newly certified journeypersons who were the highest-achieving graduates in their respective trades, as determined by on-the-job performance and academic accomplishments.

"It felt awesome, it was such an achievement, it feels so good to finally have something like this," shared Alex with Eagle 93.5 Morning Show Host Ronny Guenther.

Klassen has put thousands of hours into training and schooling to receive his journeyperson accreditation, noting it was around Grade 9 he decided cooking was what he wanted to do.

"I saw there was a nice program at NPC (Northlands Parkway Collegiate in Winkler), and I thought I might as well try it," he said. "(At the time) I was like, I like eating and I like food, so let's give it a shot."

He attributed a big part of his early career success to asking questions.

"I was just never afraid to ask a question, always trying to learn," he said. "I know a lot of people are afraid to ask questions, but I don't think you can be. You have to ask questions, and see what you're good at, and go from there." 

Klassen noted the chef at Mulligan's, Nathan Pelser, is someone he looks up to.

"Yeah, Nate's definitely very creative," he said. "He has a lot of experience in kitchens, and it's definitely crazy how he comes up with some of this stuff, but his stuff works, and it's so good. I know one day I strive to be where he is."

Klassen lists protein as his favourite thing to cook, specifically steak and ribs.

Apprenticeship is a work-based post-secondary training program that leads to a certificate of qualification in a skilled trade. Apprenticeship Manitoba offers certification in 55 apprentice trades.

Alex also spent time with Country88 Morning Show Host Daemon Parent, and you can listen to that conversation below.

- With files from Ronny Guenther -