Culinary Students ‘fit the bill’ at the Great Amazing Duck Race

Duck Race Winners

It is known as the ultimate farm-to-fork experience and recipe competition and for the second consecutive year students from Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute proved they fit the bill.

A team of culinary students from NC won the Great Amazing Duck Race on March 16.

Modeled after the popular television show The Amazing Race students from nine Ontario colleges participated in the second annual competition presented by King Cole Ducks based in Newmarket.

The winners were a two-person team from NC: first-year Culinary Innovation and Food Technology student Tabitha Hendricks and second-year Culinary Management student Scott McInerney. Chef professor Olaf Mertens helped train the students for the event.

As part of the Great Amazing Duck Race competitors began their day at King Cole Duck Farms at the crack of dawn. They picked up duck eggs which they used to prepare breakfast. They raced to the main farm for a Cut Your Own Duck competition. Each team ran out the door ‘duck in pot’ and raced by subway to the St. Lawrence Market in downtown Toronto where they shopped for ingredients.

Craig Youdale chair of the CFWI noted that each team was armed with only $25 dollars at the market where they had to navigate a Saturday crowd to purchase the vegetables and specialty product they needed to complete their dishes.

The final destination was George Brown College where students competed in the final cook-off.

Hendricks and McInerney demonstrated their technical skills by preparing complex dishes including an appetizer Duck Trio consisting of Pistachio Duck Liver Parfait Duck Slider on a Duck Egg Bun with Beet Relish and Fried Duck Oysters with Birch Tree Syrup Glaze; and a main course of Herb and Citrus Duck Breast with Yam Puree Beet Dumpling TO Market Vegetables and Sweet and Sour Apple Glaze.

“We are very proud of our students whose skills stood out among their competitors representing eight other colleges across Ontario” said Jon Ogryzlo dean of the CFWI. “Competitions are an integral part of the student experience at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute and the Great Amazing Duck Race is a very unique farm-to-table exercise that requires students to demonstrate a wide range of skills from butchery procurement to creating and cooking a winning recipe. I would like to thank King Cole Ducks for their creative approach in challenging culinary students in a fun yet very demanding competition.”

As winners Hendricks and McInerney received $1000 each from King Cole Duck.

“Tabitha and Scott were keen competitors in King Cole’s Great Amazing Duck Race with terrific enthusiasm and a delicious entry” said Patti Thompson director of Sales and Marketing for King Cole Ducks. “They were professional focused and did the College and King Cole proud with a winning duck appetizer and duck entrée – bravo Niagara!”

View more photos from the competition on Facebook here.