A Niagara College student is proving she can take the heat in the kitchen among the world’s top student chefs.
Twenty-three-year-old Selah Schmoll, a second-year Culinary Management student at the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, has won bronze medal and trophy for placing third overall at the Young Chef Olympiad (YCO) in India. The Niagara Falls resident represented Canada at the international competition, which drew more than 60 top student chefs from around the world from January 27 to February 1
“I feel so proud having won bronze at this year’s YCO; it’s such an amazing feeling and a huge accomplishment,” said Schmoll, who also juggles a part-time job in the pastry department at Trius Winery in addition to her studies. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I feel so honoured to represent Canada.”
News of the bronze win was applauded by dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute Craig Youdale.
“Competitions like this are rare when you can put your school’s training up against other programs from around the globe,” said Youdale. “Selah’s success is truly impressive considering she is only beginning her career and this was only her second competition to date.
“Her success is a culmination of all the individuals who have mentored her here at CFWI as well as her work she has been doing at Trius Winery right here in Niagara.”
This was the second culinary competition for Schmoll, who won a silver medal in culinary arts at the Ontario Technological Skills Competition last year.
Schmoll noted that she valued the opportunity to travel to India for the YCO competition.
“I have always wanted to go to India and am so glad to have had the chance to go to a beautiful country full of life and do what I love – cook! I also had the joy of meeting so many other students and mentors from different countries and forming life-long friendships,” she said. “Everything leading up to the competition has benefited my career – coming to training days with a good attitude, having to be organized, learning new skill sets, as well as managing time.”
Schmoll was accompanied to India by chef professor Scott Baechler who helped her train for the competition. Baechler noted that it was a huge accomplishment for Selah.
“Representing The Canadian Food and Wine Institute, she competed against 48 countries in four cities standing on the podium in the final,” he said. “The one thing I had asked Selah is you need to believe in yourself as we believe in you … I could not be more proud of her performance.”
Baechler also noted that all chef professors have contributed to Schmoll’s training.
“If you think of the time she has spend in kitchens with other professor,s they have all helped her prepare for the journey,” he said.
Schmoll’s accomplishment marked the second consecutive year that a student from Niagara College graced the podium at the Young Chef Olympiad. Last year, the competition was won Daniella Germond – a St. Catharines resident who was then a culinary student at the College as well as a member of Junior Culinary Team Canada.
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It’s a ‘Schmoll’ world: NC student preps for India’s Young Chef Olympiad