ERFURT, Germany — Junior Culinary Team Canada is bringing home two medals — a gold and a silver — from the 2016 Culinary Olympics held this week in Erfurt, Germany.
Comprised of culinary graduates from Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, the team was among 20 junior national culinary teams from around the world to compete at the IKA/Culinary Olympics from Oct. 22 to 25.
The team was awarded a gold medal for its score at the event’s inaugural edible buffet competition on Oct. 22, as well as a silver medal for its score in the hot program/three-course luncheon competition on Oct. 24. Medals were granted based on scores achieved at each competition — gold for 90 or higher, silver for 80 or higher, bronze for 70 or higher and diploma for under 70.
Final scores for each competition and overall rankings were announced at yesterday’s closing ceremony. At the edible buffet, the team from Canada scored fourth-highest in the world, achieving a final score of 92.39. The team also achieved a high score of 85.17 in the hot-program competition.
With a total of 177.56 points from both competitions, Junior Culinary Team Canada left the Culinary Olympics in sixth place overall. Sweden took home first-place honours ahead of Switzerland and Norway.
“I was absolutely thrilled with the team’s performance. They gave their best in the kitchen this week,” says team manager Craig Youdale, dean of NC’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “It was the best buffet I’ve ever seen them do and it was probably the best hot run I’ve ever seen them do.”
Youdale applauded the work, dedication from the team members and the sacrifices they have made to be a part of the team. “They put their lives on hold for three years. They took everything in their lives and put it aside because they wanted to do this,” he says. “No money. No pay. Out of sheer pride for their country. I think that’s pretty cool.”
“We didn’t win, but we all won. We came here to really cook our hearts out; we did our best and we put everything on the table,” says team captain Ben Lillico, who plans to stay in the competition loop following the Culinary Olympics. “I’m proud of each and every person on this team.”