Pierre-Alexandre Tremblay—better known as P.A.—wears many hats: that of chef, educator, epicurean, fundraiser, traveler, and entrepreneur. P.A. was raised in Santa Barbara, where he attended both Santa Barbara Middle School (SBMS) and San Marcos High School (SMHS). While attending university in Montreal, Canada, for mechanical engineering, P.A. did an about-face and decided to pursue what was then a burgeoning interest in the culinary arts. He followed that interest back to Santa Barbara, where he enrolled in SBCC’s Culinary Arts Program.

“The advantage of going to SBCC is you’re one step ahead when you get to a restaurant,” says P.A., who was able to translate the skills he learned in the classroom into a volunteer role at the prestigious local restaurant Julienne. Of his time at SBCC, P.A. says, “sometimes I think about going back because it was so fun.” He still keeps in touch with his classmates and instructor Chef Charlie Fredericks.

He eventually worked his way up the ladder at Julienne to the coveted role of chef de cuisine. When the restaurant closed its doors in 2017, P.A. once again found himself at a crossroads. He spent some time traveling the world, gathering inspiration—and passport stamps—in Lebanon, Switzerland, Thailand, France, and Greenland, among other places. After returning to Santa Barbara, he played with the idea of opening his own restaurant, until a chance late-night meeting with SBMS Head of School, Brian McWilliams, opened an entirely new opportunity at his alma mater.

P.A. was hired at SBMS to prepare food for the school’s well-known “expeditions,” but sensing that the culinary program was on the “precipice of something big,” he dove headfirst into his new position with his signature passion and enthusiasm. He helped draft the business plan and blueprints—and even fundraised—for the school’s new Community Kitchen, a commercial-grade space that can be used during the day as a learning lab for SBMS students and in the evenings and weekends by nonprofit partners, such as the Organic Soup Kitchen. It will also be made available to the community in times of natural disasters and other public emergencies.

P.A. hopes the Community Kitchen and the school’s permaculture garden will teach students about the interconnectedness of food and food systems while helping them develop strong, healthy relationships to food and personal wellbeing. He believes the kitchen will also demonstrate for students SBMS’s core value of being a caring, contributing member of the broader community. Through the integration of food education into core curriculum, P.A. hopes to inspire a new generation of passionate and discerning foodies—some of whom might one day find their way to SBCC’s Culinary Arts program to start their own professional culinary careers.

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