School spirit and national pride were in full force at Niagara College October 7, as the college community cheered for Junior Culinary Team Canada.
A send-off rally was held in honour of the junior national team before members travel to Germany to face the heat in the world’s most competitive kitchen – the Culinary Olympics.
For members of the team, comprised of recent culinary graduates from the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, the Culinary Olympics will mark the culmination of their reign as Junior Culinary Team Canada and their biggest challenge to date since winning the title in October 2013, when many were still students at the College.
Niagara College president Dan Patterson praised the hard work and commitment of the team members and coaches. “This team is the first from Niagara College to represent the nation as Junior Culinary Team Canada and their successes to date, as well as their support for the college and the community, have already made us proud,” said NC president Dan Patterson. “Their skills are a testament to the dedication of our staff and faculty who have prepared them to compete among the world’s best.”
“The team is coming to the end of a three-and-a-half-year journey that has seen them travel the world and represent not only our college but our region, province and country,” said Craig Youdale, team manager and dean of the College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “These young Canadians will take the NC logo as well as the Canadian flag on the world stage in a few short days, and I could not be more excited or proud of their journey.”
“What a testament to the skill, dedication, passion, and talent we have here in Niagara that our local Niagara College team of quality young chefs are representing Canada on the international stage,” said Niagara Centre Member of Parliament, Vance Badawey. “To all of the competitors representing Canada, know that your community and your country support you and wish you every success.”
“Those of us in Niagara are particularly proud of this highly skilled and motivated team from Niagara College that will be representing all of Canada at the prestigious Culinary Olympics,” said St. Catharines MPP Jim Bradley, who also addressed the crowd at the event.
Team captain Ben Lillico said the team is focused, determined and very strong as they head to the Culinary Olympics. “Words cannot describe how hard our team has worked to get to where we are today. We would not be where we are today without the blood, sweat and tears put in by each and every team member,” said Lillico. “We are extremely proud of how we have progressed and the opportunities that have arisen on our journey thus far.”
Team members will depart for Germany on Oct. 13 and Oct. 16. Opening ceremonies for the Culinary Olympics will be held on October 21. Junior Culinary Team Canada will compete in an Edible Buffet Competition on Oct. 22 and a three-course luncheon competition on Oct. 24 before the closing ceremonies are held on October 26.
Known formally as the IKA Culinary Olympics, the event is the world’s largest international professional competition for chefs, held once every four years in Erfurt, Germany. Visit the IKA website at http://www.olympiade-der-koeche.com/en.html
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.
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.