Photo: Team Wine celebrates a win at Caps Corks and Forks held at Benchmark on Jan. 31.
Team Wine uncorked victory against Team Beer at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute’s most recent Caps, Corks and Forks event on Jan. 31.
The popular event, which was held in Benchmark restaurant at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, challenges student teams – one from the College’s beer program and one from the College’s wine-based programs – with selecting the best pairing for each course, prepared by culinary students. Students from each team have an opportunity to explain their choices to the guests. After each course, guests vote with a cap (for beer) or cork (for wine) for their favourite pairing.
“I had a great time with all teams in developing the tastings, during the event and afterwards at White Oaks,” said Morgan Newington, one of the wine students that participated. “Events like that encourage a healthy camaraderie between the programs as well as being a heck of a lot of fun.”
Wine program coordinator Jennifer Wilhelm noted that the event helps to prepare the students for future chef and winemaker or chef and brewmaster dinners.
“The Wine Business Management students likened the experience to having to make future sales pitches to restaurateurs or other groups — a very valuable example of putting their knowledge and applied skills to use and in gaining confidence in public speaking,” she said. “Many of the students commented on the confidence they feel they gained from the event and several said how happy they are that they chose Niagara College to study at as these experiences and opportunities are a valuable addition to their in class learning.”
She noted that although team wine won the tie breaker, each student did a wonderful job and their passion shone through.
“The unanimous decision at the end of the night was that the culinary students were the biggest stars,” she said. “I heard guests all around the room commenting on how impressed they were with each dish and the pairings that went with each of them.”
While Team Beer didn’t win, Brewmaster Jon Downing enjoyed the evening from the floor. He noted that the students shared educational facts while they explained their pairings, at times, having the audience in stitches laughing.
“It was very exciting and delicious with all the beer students doing fantastic pairings using all NC beers for the first time,” he said. “The food was incredible, each course a surprise and delight to sample.
“Team Wine was great too. Congratulations to them on another close battle.”
This was the Canadian Food and Wine Institute’s fourth Caps Corks and Forks event since it was launched in 2012. The Wine Team won the first two events and the Beer Team captured the third.
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