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Culinary students heat up national competition

Credit: Melanie Anderson

Some of the members from Fanshawe’s second-year Culinary Management team show off their hardware after dominating at the Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) Culinary Arts Salon 2013.

Melanie Anderson | Interrobang | News | March 18th, 2013

Fanshawe's Culinary Management students brought the heat in this year's Canadian Culinary Federation (CCFCC) Culinary Arts Salon 2013 in early March. Fanshawe students brought home nine gold, two silver and three bronze medals from this national competition that features teams from other colleges and private culinary schools.

This year's team spent over 100 hours preparing and practicing for the event. Each team creates and preserves up to five gourmet plates per entry before heading to Toronto to compete. Challenges include cold plates, bread, pastry, chocolate work and buffet platters.

Second-year Culinary Management student Mariano Escorza received a gold medal for his three-course lunch. He said the team spent easily 36 hours in the kitchen in the days leading up to the competition, but it was all worthwhile.

“It was really good, it was stressful as well — a lot of work was involved, but at the end of the day, when you're at the show and you see what you've accomplished, it just fills you up. Really as a cook as a future chef, I just love what I do and being in an event that big it's amazing there's no words to describe it,” he said.

As the final course for his delicious lunch, Escorza created a mouth-watering dessert. “I made a vanilla and pineapple mousse with an almond cookie, pomegranate sorbet with a salad of tropical fruit and lemon custard with Italian meringue on top.”

Team coach and Fanshawe professor Chef Scott Baechler said he was impressed by Escorza, “I'm proud of all of them ... but Mariano probably stood out the most as far as progression. It started off as a basic idea, then when he came back to the table for the second practice it elevated by about three notches, so really stood out. I was like, ‘Wow, to see a student grow and grow that fast was pretty engaging.'”

Escorza said his inspiration comes from his family as well as fellow classmates. “I'm 100 per cent from Mexico, so I try to showcase a little bit of my background with my showpieces — it's in the family ... I also try to grab from my teams, my fellow cooks, and my chefs.”

Second-year Culinary Management student Carly Holloway also finds inspiration in her family. She received a gold medal for her fairy-tale themed pastillage showpiece. “I've always been in love with fairy tales and I figured, why not? My mom made one of my birthday cakes and it was an open story book and it was so beautiful.”

Holloway created a storybook using a Styrofoam base. The piece featured intricate details including a large 3-D vine of flowers, a realistic glass slipper and “Once Upon a Time” written with food dye.

“I actually wrote it freehand onto a piece of parchment and then I sort of traced it onto the book and painted it on with brushes. I used toothpicks for the vines,” said Holloway.

Holloway is proud of her accomplishment, “Hard work and long hours, they pay off. If you're passionate about what you do, then it doesn't really matter, you enjoy doing it. I spent… it had to have been about 15 hours just painting, but it feels so good when it's done, and I feel so proud of what I've done.”

Last year, Fanshawe brought home highest standings in show, including the national record for highest medal standings ever on record with the CRFA. This year Fanshawe took 14 second-year students to the show and defeated their own record, receiving 14 medals in total.
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