CALGARY — Don’t let SAIT Polytechnic graduate, and Olive Restaurant first cook, Stephanie Schnepf’s age fool you; while she’s only 22, she’s already gaining serious culinary cred.
Schnepf recently claimed the gold medal at the 2009 Canada Jeunes Commis (Young Cooks) Rôtisseurs Competition, which is open to chefs under the age of 27. There she was pitted against nine other competitors from across the country who each advanced after winning their respective regional competitions.
In Victoria, participants were presented with a mystery “black box” of compulsory ingredients: black cod, rabbit, fennel, chanterelle mushrooms and dark chocolate. They then had three hours to create and prepare a three-course meal for four.
Schnepf’s award-winning menu included: crispy-skin black cod with a black cod sausage, fennel rissolet and a tomato-fennel emulsion; pan-seared rabbit loin with a confit rabbit leg and goat cheese potato pave, parsnip purée, chanterelle mushrooms and a rabbit jus; and dark chocolate bavaroise with a hazelnut sable and a strawberry coulis.
“I think the biggest challenge is not letting your nerves get the best of you, says Schnepf. “If you have prepared correctly, you know what you need to do. Another big thing is to stick to what you know. Don’st bite off more than you can chew because time is against you.”
Schnepf now moves on to represent Canada at the 2010 Concours International des Jeunes Commis Rôtisseurs Competition in Helsinki, Finland next September.