By: Kane van Ee

As first and second-year students compete in the hot kitchens racing against the ticking clock the most important aspect they will have to integrate into their food and service will be the ability to quickly mesh together on-the-fly.

What these contenders are battling to win is their name on a trophy and a medal to take home, but most importantly the opportunity to have a competition victory on their resume. Not only will they have won a college-wide competition proving that they work efficiently and quickly with others on-the-fly but they can say that nationally recognized chef, Matthew Carmichael, was one of the discerning judges who selected their menu as a winner.

“I know how the competition works because I did it last year, so I know how the time line works, how you usually plan together,” said 20-year-old Emma Denton, a second-year culinary management student who placed third last year. “I have experienced it, so I know what to expect and how to base our menu on that.”

Her main strength comes from the National Arts Centre’s, Le Café, where she has been working under the direction of internationally known chef, Michael Blackie, as garde manger since May.

“I work with a lot of cold food, I do a lot of the cold presentations so I’m trying to play into that,” said Denton.

She has also taken the baking program here at Algonquin before culinary management giving a further boost to her dessert skills. She has already proved strong in the dessert category with her layered red vine poached pear, lemoned ger mousse and vanilla whipped cream that helped place her team in third.

Andrew Chenard, a 20-year-old first-year culinary management student was not so successful last year when he competed as a server from the hotel and restaurant management program.

“My two chefs were fighting over which plate they wanted so to do a wine-pairing for each plate I didn’t know what flavours they were going with,” said Chenard. His team failed to place and their dessert was not judged because it passed the time limit for service.

Chenard is planning on utilizing his own twist on traditional Italian cuisine for his main and then going with a twist on a traditional French dessert.

All of the students involved prior to the event have also been receiving mentorship from the chefs here at the college in preparation for the competition.