Junior Culinary Team Canada: Niagara College team preps to represent Canada at world competition

A culinary team from Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute is preparing to take on the world this fall in its first international competition as Junior Culinary Team Canada.

The heat is on as a group of NC students and recent graduates  – who won the right to represent Canada until the World Culinary Olympics in 2016 – prepare to face their toughest competition to date at the World Culinary Championships. At the event to be held in Luxembourg November 21-27 2014 the team will compete against the top junior culinary teams in the world representing 14 other countries.

Before they enter the international spotlight and face the judges in Luxembourg five events have been planned for the team to practice their skills and dazzle guests with the competition meal they have been fine-tuning for almost a year. Each event is open to media and photo and interview opportunities are available:

September 28: Niagara College’s Junior Culinary Team Canada prepared lunch for professional Culinary Team Canada at Benchmark Restaurant located at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. Following lunch the professional Culinary Team Canada (which includes new Niagara College culinary professor Scott Baechler) prepared dinner for the junior team. The event was the first time the two national culinary teams were together at the same event.

October 6: Junior Culinary Team Canada will prepare dinner at Benchmark Restaurant for  student guests. (Tickets required.)

October 25: Junior Culinary Team Canada will display their cold program to display their creative food and prepare their hot program for guests at an afternoon event at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. Both the cold and hot programs will be part of the Luxembourg competition.

October 30: Vintage Inns will host a dinner event at Queen’s Landing’s Tiara Restaurant featuring Junior Culinary Team Canada giving the community an opportunity to sample the Niagara team’s competition meal. It is also an opportunity for the students to practice their skills in an unfamiliar kitchen. (Tickets required.)

November 8: an Olympic Team Dinner will be held at Benchmark Restaurant. This will be the final event before the team departs for Luxembourg on November 14 2014. (Tickets required.)

Dean of the college’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute Craig Youdale has high hopes for the team — the first from Niagara College to ever represent the country as Junior Culinary Team Canada.

“I think that if we are at our best that day we will be hard to beat” he said.

Team captain Iain Dawson of St. Catharines said he was excited about the first competition as Junior Culinary Team Canada competing against the world’s best junior chefs.

Team captain Iain Dawson of St. Catharines said he is excited about his first competition as Junior Culinary Team Canada and the opportunity to compete against the world’s best junior chefs.

“What I’m looking forward to the most is the competition to get right into the middle of it and cook with everything I’ve got – to construct everything we’ve worked to create and when that final plate leaves the window that weight of world will be lifted and replaced with the anticipation to see how well we did” he said. “When it’s all said and done I can come back to Canada being able to say I put myself up against the world’s standard of perfection and gave it a run for its money I banged on the doors of Europe and for the next two years gave the rest of the world something to worry about.”

Members of Junior Culinary Team Canada include captain Ian Dawson (Coldwater/St. Catharines); lead members Daniella Germond (St. Catharines) David Ross (Peterborough) and Megan Proper (Burford); alternate lead member Rebekka Schmitt (Silverdale); and support team members Brittany Calsavara (Windsor); Katrina Young (Hamilton) Scott McInerney (Peterborough/St. Catharines) Trevor Littlejohn (Paisley) Wes Lund (St. Catharines) Ben Lillico (Waterloo) and Jeremy Gilligan (St. Catharines).

Our reigning Niagara College Junior Culinary Team Canada gained its title in a victory over culinary teams from Humber and Holland Colleges at The Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CCFCC) Junior Culinary Team Selection Competition in October 2013. The team gained the distinction to represent Canada at the 2016 World Culinary Olympics in Germany where it will compete against more than 30 countries. It will also participate in international competitions until then including the World Culinary Championships in Luxembourg (2014) and Singapore (2015).

The Canadian Food and Wine Institute located on Niagara College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus is the College’s centre for food wine and beer education. It is home to Benchmark the College’s teaching restaurant as well as the Teaching Winery and Teaching Brewery.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit NiagaraCollege.ca.


To attend or to arrange photo/interview opportunities please contact Julie Greco at jgreco@niagaracollege.ca.


For information contact:

Michael Wales

Senior Communications Officer

Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7773

Cell: 905.328.4101



Julie Greco

Communications Specialist

Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368

Cell: 905.328.2532