High school students proved they can take the heat in the kitchen when their cooking and baking skills were put to the test at Niagara College’s 10th annual High School Cookoff.
The event, which was held at the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute on Feb. 25, drew students from the Niagara region as well as from Toronto, Oakville, Mississauga, Peterborough and Uxbridge.
Students vied for first, second and third place in the culinary and baking categories. When it came to first place, students from Toronto’s Thistletown Collegiate Institute Ryan Piercey and Andrea Howe; as well as Mississauga’s John Cabot Catholic Secondary School student Paulina Ferko (baking); proved they had the recipe for success in the culinary and baking categories respectively, as winners of $1,000 scholarships.
Second and third place winners whisked away home cooking/baking equipment from Mercer Tools. Second place was captured by Oakville’s White Oaks Secondary School students Stefan Pavlovic and Matthew Gayowski (culinary); and Mississauga’s St. Francis Xavier Secondary School student Adrianna Wallace (baking). Third place was awarded to John Cabot CSS students Nick Dacosta and Ziad Ghrayyew (culinary); and Uxbridge Secondary School student Desiree Fintelman (baking).
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.
“Competition is a major focus for students at The Canadian Food and Wine Institute and we are pleased to extend this wonderful learning opportunity to high school students at the tenth annual High School Cookoff,” said CFWI dean Craig Youdale. “Through their participation in this event, students had the opportunity to work in our state-of-the-art facilities to develop their culinary and interpersonal skills.”
Junior Culinary Team Canada, comprised of students and recent graduates from the College’s CFWI, were also present at the event and served lunch to teachers who accompanied the competing students.