– by Doreen Marion Gee –
Considering Shirley Lang’s commitment to altruistic ideals and compassionate social values in every aspect of her work, it is no surprise that she has been honoured with the 2014 Woman to Watch Award. A native Cree woman, her spirit name means Festival of the Raven.
As an entrepreneur, Shirley is riding the wings of that iconic bird who symbolizes creation, knowledge and prestige.
A solid sense of ethics and fairness permeate Shirley’s presence in this world. She used her Aboriginal Justice education to develop a celebrated model of writing sentencing reports for aboriginal offenders that considered all aspects of their background. Just as Raven represents a catalyst for change, Shirley has courageously transcended adversity to use her talents in new innovative ways. She formed her own private catering company in 1999, Kitchens of Distinction (www.kitchensofdistinction.ca), where Shirley treats her customers to a fresh, delicious, premium quality, culturally diverse culinary experience. The cooking maven “creates each dish out of love, passion and positive energy.”
Shirley Lang injects a keen sense of professional integrity into her business: “I want people to know that I am extremely passionate about learning, experiencing and creating many diverse cultures’ cuisine. I am also someone who was taught that you must always treat everyone with the highest regard.” An outstanding role model for women, Shirley’s culinary art crosses all cultures, featuring traditional ingredients prepared with modern elegant finesse.
The mindful business professional puts social and environmental values at the forefront of her successful business. Every kitchen scrap is composted and recycled. Shirley mentors young aboriginal chefs and created a fund for their education. Her values shine like moonbeams: “I believe that through this process I have an opportunity, in a small way, to dispel racism.”
An impressive list of awards attest to Shirley’s talents and skills: “2011 Chef Member of the Year Award” – Canadian Culinary Federation, two Peoples Choice Awards, “UnSung Hero 2012 Award” (Victoria Native Friendship Centre) – to name but a few. Shirley Lang’s personal brand is “Honesty, integrity, transparency and a massive amount of love and passion.”
Raven knows that this a winning recipe for a thriving business.