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Culinary Institute of Canada duo hit the ground running at international competition

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Preparing for international competition can be gruelling. Ask Adam Loo. As a member of the 2008 Culinary Youth Team Canada and winner of the title of Golden Junior Chef of the Year last spring at the International Gastronomy Festival, he can tell you. It involves months of training and dedication that has to carry you through the fatigue and frustration. It’s about keeping your eye on the prize for a long, long time. But when Adam and fellow Culinary Institute of Canada student Revanna Powell recently travelled to Grand Rapids, Michigan after only four training sessions, they managed to hit the ground running, bringing home three gold and three silver medals and finishing second overall. 

Adam, who hails from Springfield, P.E.I., and Revanna, who is from Winnipeg, represented Canada in The Nations Cup, a biannual invitational event hosted by Grand Rapids Community College that brings together young chefs from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Barbados, Puerto Rico and Scotland.  Teams of two students compete for two full days in seven categories: appetizers, salads, poultry, fish, shellfish, meat and game; and a mystery box containing ingredients which the teams must feature.

Chef instructors Kevin Boyce and Hans Anderegg trained Adam and Revanna, and Chef Kevin travelled to Grand Rapids with them. Knowing that the other teams had been practicing for months, he was guardedly optimistic about the duo’s chances. As it turned out, his reservations were unfounded.

“After the first competition, I was in awe of how well they did,” he said.

For Adam, a student in the Applied Degree in Culinary Operations program and a seasoned competitor, The Nations Cup was very different from his other competitive experiences.

“In the black box competitions, we had no idea what ingredients we were going to get. With five black boxes in two days, it pushes both competitors outside of their comfort zone and really shows how competitors react to the situation in front of them,” he explained.

“A lot of credit goes to Revanna for the great outcome at the competition. She hadn’t competed before, and to walk into a competition like that without having a lot of experience is a very difficult thing to do,” he added.

It may have been Revanna’s first competition, but it doesn’t sound like it will be her last.

“It was an amazing experience. I really don’t have anything to compare it to, but I will say because of this competition I would definitely consider competing again,” she said.

Although competition was stiff, it was by no means hostile. The intention of the competition is to bring together student chefs from the six countries to learn more about each other’s cultures. The students spent the four days that they were at the Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education mingling with each other at meal times, and all the teams stayed together at the hotel.

“The competition is geared around six nations getting to know each other, rather than competing against each other. Points are awarded for each dish, so everyone can win gold,” Chef Kevin explained.

Perhaps that’s why the team did so well in spite of their short preparation time.

“I loved that we weren’t really competing against the other teams, but against a score sheet,” Revanna noted. “I think this made everyone feel relaxed around each other and we were able to have tons of fun outside the kitchen, as well as in.”

Adam was impressed with the preparation and execution of The Nations Cup.

“The Grand Rapids competition was one of the best organized competitions I have ever witnessed. They were very punctual, organized, and professional. The competition was very exciting, and of course, very challenging.”

Competition Chairman and Grand Rapids Community College Chef/Professor Angus Campbell said Revanna and Adam’s performance was exemplary.

“The Canadian team displayed great skills and culinary excellence this year at the Nations Cup, they were consistently the first team to finish in each category and presented wonderful food. Both students and their coach exemplified professionalism and competitive spirit.”

Congratulations to these young culinarians and their coaches, for upholding the reputation for competitive excellence for which The Culinary Institute of Canada is so well known.

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Written by Sara Underwood

November 20, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Staff, Students

One Response

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  1. most community college offers a good educational standard at par with the ivy league schools”,

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    October 28, 2010 at 1:29 am


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