Sunday, 25 September 2016

Preparing for the Culinary Olympics - Canadian Junior Culinary Team @ Niagara Culinary College

Everyone needs to be measured sometime, in their chosen work. The measuring can help improvements, guide the path, suggest subtle changes ...

The Olympics are the Ne Plus Ultra ... the absolute top o' the heap, in anything. We usually associate Olympics with sport ... but these outstanding young chefs are preparing for the world culinary Olympics in exactly one month, in Germany.

The Canadian Junior Culinary Team is headquartered at the Canadian Food & Wine Institute, in Niagara College. The team has been preparing for this competition for almost 2 solid years, developing menu concepts and working with coaches to refine ideas, techniques and find the perfect presentation for each dish / course. Now they are ready to represent Canada in the eyes (and to the taste buds) of the world!

This team, like all Olympic teams, has coaches. Coaches are the guides, advisors and careful critics ... but the young chefs have to do all the work. Last night ... what an outstanding menu! What a divine experience... Oh La La! Chef Youdale (the Dean of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality School in Niagara College) and his mighty team of coaches deserve to be pleased and proud of what their young chefs have accomplished. Chef Youdale is also the Head of the Canadian Food & Wine Institute there.
The Niagara College program includes courses in Viticulture (wine-making). At least three distinct Canadian wines are produced by the students; Rose, Chardonnay, Gamay. Last night the 60 guests, which included supporters of the Institute such as the CCFCC (of which I am a member of the Oakville chapter) and a large collection of members of Les Marmitons (a men's cooking club, with many chapters world-wide) enjoyed this sumptuous repast with student-made wines offered ... the last time this spectacular menu will be offered as practice before Olympic 'showtime'.

The event in Germany will require cooking for 60 guests. The judges there will choose three of the plates coming out from the kitchen at random from each team ... so each plate, every single offering, must be perfect. The young chefs will not know which plates have been chosen.

The menu ... is a secret! I cannot reveal it now (but will, after it has been presented in competition) by name or photo. Suffice it to say that Canadian cuisine is highlighted at every step.
Fish, flesh, fowl, grains, fruit, veg, dairy ... nothing is left out, and the abundance and variety of Canadian products are featured in delicious ways.

Chef Youdale is confident in his young chefs ... they are formed into a mighty and imaginative team with enormous depth of skills and personal passion. Chef's confidence is perfectly placed: This team will do VERY well!

When permitted I will update this blog entry with precise photos of the dishes and the menu. Until then ... stay tuned here AND see this website.

Good luck Olympians! Thanks Chef Youdale. Bon Voyage!

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