Walaa Al Shaikh and Jocelyn Brown of Westminster Secondary School in London won gold in the culinary competition, and Tiffeny Rensen of Welland’s Eastdale Secondary School won gold in baking at the seventh annual Niagara Invitational High School Cook Off, hosted by Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute.
Shaikh, Brown and Rensen will each receive $1,000 Niagara College scholarships sponsored by Chef Revival and Mercer Tools.
On the culinary side, Stephanie Perdue and Chris Zimolag of Port Colborne’s Lakeshore Catholic won silver and Stephen Vijayakumar and Kareem Harrison of Turner Fenton Secondary School in Brampton won bronze.
In the baking competition, Sophia Luk of John Cabot Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga won silver and Julie Bensley of Pine Ridge Secondary School in Pickering won bronze.
Culinary students from high schools across southern Ontario gathered at Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute February 28 to battle for bragging rights and a $1,000 scholarship as part of the seventh annual Niagara Invitational High School Cook Off.
The seventh-annual cook off was the biggest draw yet, with 23 different secondary schools competing in the culinary competition, and an additional 24 baking competitors. Competitors came from across the province, including London, Oakville, Cambridge, Toronto, Kitchener, Peterborough, Pickering, Brantford, Mississauga, Etobicoke and Niagara.
The culinary competition saw teams of two prepare two identical appetizers and entrées, and were judged on culinary techniques, balance of menu, plate presentation, kitchen sanitation and taste. Individual baking competitors presented a fully decorated cake, soft rolls and assorted éclairs and cream puffs, and were judged on baking and decoration techniques, presentation and kitchen sanitation.
With 9,000 students, Niagara College offers more than 90 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics.
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