Canada shines at the Culinary Olympics

Chefs Tony Fernandes and Chaminda Palihawadana of the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel. Chef Tony was honoured to be a judge alongside top chefs from Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany and the U.S. Chef Chaminda is returning home with a bronze and a silver medal for Canada.

Chefs Tony Fernandes and Chaminda Palihawadana of the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport Hotel. Chef Tony was honoured to be a judge alongside top chefs from Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany and the U.S. Chef Chaminda is returning home with a bronze and a silver medal for Canada.

ERFURT, Germany —
As the Culinary Olympics 2016 concluded in Erfurt, Germany, Junior Culinary
Team Canada came out shining with gold and silver medals.

Comprised of recent
graduates from Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, the team
represented Canada at the IKA/Culinary Olympics in October.

The team won gold
at its first competition on Oct. 22  — the edible buffet program. They
also earned a silver medal at the second and final competition, the hot program,
on Oct. 24.

 “This could not be possible without the hard
work, dedication and passion put in by each team member,” said team captain Ben
Lillico after learning of the team’s gold medal win.

With final results
of a total of 177.56 points from both competitions, Junior Culinary Team Canada
left the Culinary Olympics in sixth place overall behind Sweden (first place)
Switzerland, (second place), and Norway (third place) and just behind Austria
and Denmark.

“I was absolutely
thrilled with the team’s performance. They gave their best in the kitchen this
week,” said team manager Craig Youdale, dean of Niagara College’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 and dedication from the team members and the sacrifices they made to participate
in the competition.

“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 said. “No money. No pay. Out of sheer
pride for their country. I think that’s pretty cool.”

Lillico said the
team has become a family. 

“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,” said Lillico, who plans to stay in the
competition loop following the Culinary Olympics.

“It’s not really
about the medal. It’s about the journey,” he said.

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 less than 70 points.

Junior Culinary
Team Canada was one of 20 junior national teams — among 2,000 chefs from more
than 50 countries around the world —competing at the 24th IKA/Culinary Olympics
in Erfurt, Germany from Oct. 22 to 25. 

The senior team
also finished well, placing eighth in the world with a final standing of silver
and a score of
179.531. The team finished behind Singapore (first), Finland (second) and
Switzerland (third), but earned an impressive gold medal score in the hot
kitchen of 92.38. In the cold kitchen, the Culinary Team Canada earned silver
with a total score of 87.086 (81.44 in pastry art and 90.85 in culinary art).

A number of
regional teams also participated in the Culinary Olympics.

Regional Team
Prince Edward Island brought home gold medals in both pastry art and culinary
art, earning a fourth place standing and final score of 91.04.  

Culinary
Team Humber placed ninth, earning gold and a total score of 90.21 (90 in pastry
art and 90.35 in culinary art).

Ontario
Culinary Team placed 15th with a silver medal standing and a total
score of 85.362 (93.33 in pastry art and 80.05 in culinary art).  

Placing
in the top 30 were: Golden Horseshoe Culinary Team Canada with a score of
77.818 (81.67 in pastry and 75.25 in culinary); Culinary Team Nova Scotia, who
scored 76.458 (83.670 in pastry and 71.64 in culinary); and Trillium Chefs
Canada with a total score of 75.692 (80.33 in pastry and 72.6 in culinary).