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Alan Cole, Athabasca Catering Limited Partnership

Alan Cole has never backed away from a challenge. Anytime. Anywhere.

So, when the opportunity was presented to him to go to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, he jumped at the chance to tackle a new job as managing director at Athabasca Catering.

Saskatchewan is where? Really? No kidding? OK, said Cole. Away I go!

Cole, English by heritage, had already plied his trade around the world and travelling to a new place was nothing new to him, or his family.

"I was literally standing in line at an airport when I got a phone call and asked if I was interested in working for a local company is Saskatoon," recalls the 49-year-old Cole. "I had no reason to move from where I was, but as a fairly new immigrant to Canada, the opportunity to work directly for a First Nations band was extremely appealing to me."

Cole, who was living in Calgary at the time, consulted with his wife, Karen, and his kids and decided they better have a look for themselves before making such a big commitment.

"I brought the family here for a visit and they liked it."

At that time, Cole was a vice-president of a competitor and didn't think another would be in the cards as he was decently content where he was. But the draw was strong for Cole to work with Kitsaki.

"I just couldn't say no. To be working for (Kitsaki) was the real reason. It was a challenge like no other I'd seen."

That was nine months ago, and Cole could not be happier. Well, except for the mosquitoes.

"I lived in Angola, in Africa, with malaria everywhere. I didn't get bitten once. Here? They leave welts on your skin."

Travelling and moving from one country to another was no big deal for Cole as this is something he had grown up with. As a youngster in a military family, Cole spent 21 of his formative years living in a military base in Germany.

He didn't arrive at Athabasca Catering without some food knowledge and experience. As a younger man, he became a trained chef through a classical apprenticeship – a very good one, at that. He has had the privilege to cook for Queen Elizabeth II and her family on several occasions.

He also cooked for famed Scottish rock 'n' roller Rod Stewart. He's been a private chef for some of the more rich and famous in their households, but it was his desire to see the world which won out eventually. Cole, who has lived & worked to at least 23 countries, holding senior management roles, and still counting, thinks this could be his final stop professionally.

"I have no plans to go anywhere. None." He says his family has adapted to life well in Saskatoon. Both son Jack, 15, and Amber, 7, are enrolled in school and loving their new life on the Canadian prairie.

And as long as Cole can get out to Table Mountain to snowboard this winter, and can find someone to help him learn more about Saskatchewan First Nations Culture & History (if anyone's up for that challenge?) Cole is quite content with the new life he's found thanks to Athabasca Catering and KMLP.