Niagara secondary students have recipe for success at High School Cookoff

Students from the Niagara region dominated the podium at Niagara College’s 11th annual High School Cookoff.

Held on March 3 at the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute (CFWI) the Cookoff drew 64 secondary students from 23 schools across Ontario – including Toronto Ajax Brantford Pickering and Peterborough. The event included two competitions: baking and culinary. Both were judged by Junior Culinary Team Canada comprised of current students and recent graduates of the College.

Students from Fort Erie Secondary School proved they could take the heat in the kitchen capturing two first place wins at the event. Two-person team Irina Fedchenko and Pauline Cotter won the number one spot in culinary; while Katrina Water won first in baking.

Students from Niagara-based high schools ruled baking capturing all three awards in the competition. Following Fort Erie SS in the lead second place was awarded to Amanda Reddick of Stamford Collegiate (Niagara Falls) while Megan Lowes of Eastdale Secondary School (Welland) placed third.


Students from Toronto won second and third place in culinary. Yohannes Asres and Nashambi Hayden of Thistletown Collegiate Institute were awarded second while Tristan Carreau and Corey Boudreault of Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute placed third.

“Competition is a major focus at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute and our High School Cookoff gives secondary students the opportunity to work in our state-of-the-art facilities to further develop their culinary and interpersonal skills” said CFWI dean Craig Youdale. “We were pleased to have Junior Culinary Team Canada judge this year’s High School Cookoff and we hope they inspire high school students to achieve their own culinary dreams.”

In the culinary category students compete in teams of two to prepare two portions of a menu of identical entrees and are judged on culinary techniques balance of menu plate presentation kitchen sanitation and taste. In baking individual competitors present dinner rolls a lemon meringue pie and a fully decorated cake. They are judged on baking and decoration techniques presentation and kitchen sanitation.

Winners were awarded a $1000 scholarship (first place) and prizes from Mercer Tools and Le Creuset.

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. It is also home to Junior Culinary Team Canada to represent our nation at the 2016 World Culinary Olympics in Germany.


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


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