Junior Culinary Team Canada wins gold in first competition at Culinary Olympics

Niagara College’s Junior Culinary Team Canada is proving that it has the recipe for success, after winning a gold medal in its first of two competitions at the Culinary Olympics.

The team from Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute competed in its first competition at the IKA /Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany on October 22: the Edible Buffet competition. During the rigorous five-hour marathon, teams must prepare a buffet consisting of finger food and terrines that are presented on a platter and two action stations – one for a main course and one for dessert. Teams are judged on factors including cleanliness, demeanour and efficiency, in addition to taste of food they prepare.

While each team begins the competition with a perfect score of 100, judges deduct points for any infractions. Gold medal standing is awarded to teams that achieve scores of 90 or higher at the competition, while teams that score 80 or higher are awarded silver and those with 70 or higher receive bronze.

The team received its results on October 23, as they were busy preparing for their second competition on October 24: a hot three-course luncheon competition for 60 people (6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. German time; midnight to 8:30 a.m. EST).

“This is a great accomplishment and a testament to the hard work they have put in over the years,” said team manager, and dean of the College’s CFWI, Craig Youdale. “Our College should be super excited about their accomplishment, and it was special to see the NC button take on a global challenge and come out shining like gold.”

Youdale noted that this first medal achieved was only the first step for the team. “We step in the kitchen tomorrow with a chance for a second gold medal and the opportunity to become one of the top three teams on the planet,” said Youdale.

“We had a very strong performance yesterday and we are extremely pleased with the result,” said team captain Ben Lillico. “This could not be possible without the hard work, dedication and passion put in by each team member.”

Lillico also noted that while the team celebrated their achievement, they were focused on preparing for their next challenge. “We are excited because we now go into our program tomorrow on a high note,” he said.

The team’s final score and overall ranking will be announced at the IKA / Culinary Olympics closing ceremony on October 26.

Junior Culinary Team is among 20 junior national teams – among 2,000 chefs from more than 50 countries around the world – competing at the 24th IKA / Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany from October 22 to 25. Known as the IKA/Culinary Olympics, the International Culinary Art Exhibition is the largest international professional competition for chefs, cooks and pastry chefs, held once every four years. Visit the IKA website at http://www.olympiade-der-koeche.com/en.html

For information about the team’s daily progress in Germany, visit ncjrculinaryteamcanada.ca.


About Junior Culinary Team Canada

In October 2013, a team of culinary students and recent graduates from the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute won the title of Junior Culinary Team Canada in a victory over other culinary teams at The Canadian Culinary Federation of Chefs and Cooks (CFCC) Junior Culinary Team Selection Competition. The distinction came with the right to represent Canada at international culinary competitions for three years, including the IKA / Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany in October 2016.

In November 2014, the team won a gold and silver medal and ranked fifth overall at the Expogast Villeroy and Boch Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg. In August 2015, the team captured a gold and silver medal and the overall championship title at the American Culinary Classic in Orlando, Florida.

Junior Culinary Team Canada members include captain Ben Lillico, Carly Bergshoeff, Daniella Germond, David Ross, Jeremy Gilligan, Megan Proper, Robbie Aggarwal, Scott McInerney, and Trevor Littlejohn.

The team’s coaches include CFWI chef professors Avi Hollo and Olaf Mertens; with chefs Scott Baechler, Dan LeBlanc, Catherine O’Donnell and Osvaldo Avila providing mentorship for the team. Visit www.jrculinaryteamcanada.ca


About Niagara College

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.


Cheer on Team Canada

Follow the team’s progress on twitter at @ncjrculinary, on facebook at @jrculinary, Instagram @jrculinarycanada, and on their website ncjrculinaryteamcanada.ca

Send text and video messages of encouragement to Junior Culinary Team Canada via social media using the hashtag #NCtasteforgold, #NCjrCulinaryTeamCA or #myncstory.


Media inquiries, please contact:
Susan McConnell
Media Advisor, Niagara College
Office: 905 641-2252 ext. 4330
Cell: 905 933-6259

Julie Greco
Communications Specialist
Niagara College
Office: 905.735.2211 ext. 7368
Cell: 905.328.2532