Niagara College culinary grad wins bronze at international competition

Justin Beaulne, a graduate of the College’s Culinary Management (2014) and Baking and Pastry (2015) programs who currently works at Benchmark, has won bronze at the Hans Bueschkens Young Chefs Challenge.

When he left for Ecuador, he was a young culinary graduate representing his college and his country; by the time he returned, he was an international medalist.

Justin Beaulne, 21, has won the bronze medal at the Hans Bueschkens Young Chefs Challenge, held in Quito, Ecuador at the end of October. Part of the Global Chefs Challenge which draws the best chefs in the world to compete, the Young Chefs Challenge is a category for age 25 and younger.

Beaulne was selected by the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute to compete in the competition. Representing Niagara College and Canada the Canadian Culinary Federation, he competed in the Americas section of the competition where he was required to prepare a three-course meal in three hours for four people using mandatory items for each course. Dishes needed to be ready at specific times and competitors were judged on their kitchen work – including hygiene, sanitation, skill, organization and work ethic—as well as the flavour of food and timing.

“This competition was significant to the student because not only did he compete on an international stage, he also was a exposed to a variety of learning experiences within a different culture that will help him with his career as a chef, “ said chef professor Dan LeBlanc, Beaulne’s coach and mentor who travelled with him to Ecuador. “This highlights what our students are accomplishing here at Niagara College.”

Beaulne valued the experience of competing in an international competition. “It really improved my skills and really allowed me to really think about food and the way to look at it,” he said. “The training also allowed me to work with products I had never worked with before but also look at things I cook with every day in a different light.”

The opportunity to work with chefs at home and abroad was an experience Beaulne valued. “I got a chance to work closely with Chef Dan and the other chefs in the school which taught me a lot,” he said. “Making all the connections not only in Ecuador but in Canada and the States, we got to meet lots of chefs, chat with them and really get a feel for what the food scene is like in their cities and the opportunities they have available.”

Originally from Sudbury, Beaulne is a resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake. A graduate of the College’s Culinary Management (2014) and Baking and Pastry (2015) programs, Beaulne has represented the CFWI at several competitions including Skills Canada and Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. He currently works as a cook apprentice at Benchmark Restaurant at the Niagara-on-Lake Campus.

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. In addition to Benchmark Restaurant, it features on-campus learning enterprises including the NC Teaching Winery – Canada’s first and only commercial teaching winery – and the NC Teaching Brewery – also the first of its kind in Canada. The CFWI is also home to the reigning Junior Culinary Team Canada, comprised of students and recent graduates who, in 2013, won the right to represent Canada at international competitions for three years, up to and including the 2016 World Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, 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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