Niagara students savour victory at Niagara College’s High School Cookoff

Above: Haley Bolibruck of Lakeshore Catholic in Port Colborne wins first place in the Baking competition.

Eric Kang and Nick Davey of St. Catharines Collegiate, and Hayley Bolibruck of Lakeshore Catholic High School (Port Colborne) captured first-place at the ninth annual High School Cookoff, hosted by Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute.

The event, held Feb. 25 at the College’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus, drew 72 students from 24 high schools in the Niagara region, Toronto, Mississauga, Peterborough, Oakville, Burlington, Milton and Brantford.

All three first-place winners won $1,000 scholarships for Niagara College’s culinary programs. While Kang and Davey won first place in the Culinary component of the competition, Bolibruck captured first place in Baking.

Second- and third-place winners were also recognized at the event, and won prize packages including cooking and baking equipment. Second-place winners included Julia Marinelli of Saint Paul Catholic High School (Niagara Falls) for Baking; and Jerick Aranza and Ryan Piercy of Thistletown Collegiate Institute (Toronto) for Culinary. Maddie Foran of Lakeshore Catholic High School won third place for Baking; and Jessica Hatcher and Rachel Weir of Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School (Burlington) won third place for Culinary.

In the Culinary competition, students competed in teams of two to prepare two portions of a menu of identical entrees, and were judged on culinary techniques, balance of menu, plate presentation, kitchen sanitation and taste. In the Baking competition, individual competitors presented dinner roles, a Lemon Meringue Pie, and a fully decorated cake. They were judged on baking and decoration techniques, presentation and kitchen sanitation.

Dean of the CFWI Jon Ogryzlo applauded the success of this year’s event which drew students as far away as Peterborough to compete.

“We are very excited to be hosting so many teams in both culinary and baking; this event provides students with an opportunity to showcase what they have learned and they get a taste of what to expect as they compete in the upcoming Skills Ontario finals later this spring,” he said. “I am very impressed with the level of skill and talent that the students are demonstrating today. Most will have a very promising future in the culinary field.”

For more information about the eighth annual High School Cookoff, visit

The spirit of competition heats up at the ninth annual High School Cookoff.

Share this article