It’s an Olympic year for national culinary teams around the world, and Niagara College is kick-starting 2016 in a special way; by welcoming its closest rivals.
From January 7-10, the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute – home of Junior Culinary Team Canada – will host the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Culinary Youth Team U.S.A. The visit will provide opportunities for both national junior teams to practice for the Culinary Olympics – known formally as the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) Culinary Olympics. Held every four years in Erfurt, Germany, the international competition is considered the pinnacle of culinary excellence, where the best chefs from around the globe compete for gold medal standing.
“ACF Culinary Youth Team USA is excited to start the year with Junior Team Canada and we appreciate their invitation and hospitality.” said Stafford DeCambra, ACF Culinary Youth Team U.S.A. manager. “The team has been working for months to develop their program to represent the United States at the IKA in October. We’re only 10 months away from the IKA so every chance to compete, even in a friendly rivalry like this, gives Youth Team U.S.A. an opportunity to practice techniques and mentally prepare for Erfurt.”
The visit will culminate with a gala feast of champions to be held at the NOTL Campus on January 9. The sold-out dinner is expected to draw several dignitaries including U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman.
“This is an amazing opportunity to see the top cook apprentices in North America all in one kitchen for one event. The amount of young talent is unprecedented and it’s an honour to have them all here on campus,” said CFWI dean Craig Youdale who manages Junior Culinary Team Canada. “This is the Olympic year now and this is the perfect way to start our conditioning for the Olympics this fall.”
Guests of the Jan. 9 event will enjoy a six-course meal prepared by Junior Culinary Team Canada and the visiting American Culinary Federation Youth Team U.S.A. Each team will be responsible for preparing alternate courses, with the first, third and fifth courses to be prepared by Team U.S.A, while the second, fourth and sixth/dessert courses will be made by Team Canada. Both teams will also prepare cold and hot hors d’oeuvres for the reception.
About Junior Culinary Team Canada
In October 2013, a team of culinary students and recent graduates from the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute won the title of Junior Culinary Team Canada. The distinction came with the right to represent Canada at international culinary competitions for three years, including the World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany in October 2016.
The team has already savoured success. In November 2014, the team won a gold and silver medal and ranked fifth overall at the Expogast Villeroy and Boch Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg. In August 2015, the team captured a gold and silver medal and the overall championship title at the American Culinary Classic in Orlando, Florida.
Members include Ben Lillico, Carly Bergshoeff, Daniella Germond, David Ross, Jeremy Gilligan, Megan Proper, Robbie Aggarwal, Scott McInerney and Trever Littlejohn. The team is led by team manager Craig Youdale, dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute; is coached by CFWI chef professors Avi Hollo and Olaf Mertens; with chefs Scott Baechler, Dan LeBlanc, Catherine O’Donnell and Osvaldo Avila providing mentorship for the team.
American Culinary Federation Youth Team U.S.A.
The national junior culinary team from the U.S.A., which will represent their country at the World Culinary Olympics in 2016, includes captain Kristyn Granahan (Fort Worth, Texas), and members Megan Bamford (Charlottesville, Virginia), Tracy Morris (Chevy Chase, Maryland), Marco Olivares (El Paso, Texas), Jesus Olmedo (Boston, Massachusetts) and Lydia Ross (Charlotte, North Carolina).
For team information visit http://www.acfchefs.org
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