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Pastry Arts students participate in Kitchen Aid For the Cure competition

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The pastry kitchen at the Tourism and Culinary Centre on the Charlottetown Waterfront was surprisingly quiet the other day, considering that seven of the Pastry Arts students were in the middle of a competition to create a signature sweet treat for Kitchen Aid.

The competition was the brainchild of Kitchen Aid/Whirlpool Territory Manager Lisa Gautreau.

“Kitchen Aid is a strong supporter of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,” Lisa explained. “When I began my events for Kitchen Aid Cook For The Cure in New Brunswick and P.E.I. last year, I felt the need to have a sweet giveaway – something that would echo the Cook For The Cure cause and, of course, be delicious! I was having difficulty finding a local baker to help me out because, obviously, I would need hundreds of portions for some of these events and I wanted it to be something cheerful, fun and optimistic. I was at The Culinary Institute of Canada in P.E.I. one day when I happened to mention to the culinary program manager, Chef Austin Clements, and Chef Kevin Boyce the trouble I was having finding something to give away at these Cook For The Cure events and simply asked, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we threw out a challenge to the students?’ Next thing you know, I was in the office of head Pastry Arts instructor Chef Richard Braunauer, and shortly after that, I was in front of the pastry class throwing them the challenge. Those chefs made this happen. Fast!”

The students appeared unruffled as they prepared their concoctions, all of which looked absolutely delicious when they were plated in preparation for judging. Then they left the kitchen while the adjudication took place.

Brad Hamilton and Jonathan Coates of Alpha Appliance Solutions, and Karen Mair, host of CBC’s Mainstreet, PEI’s afternoon radio show, were the judges. The three took their time sampling the students’ entries, which included Strawberry French Macaroons, Salted-Caramel Chocolate Tarts, Orange Shortbread Cookies, Bi-Layered Raspberry Marshmallow & Rose Water Fudge with White Chocolate, Lemon Cake Pops and Chocolate Filled Coconut Cakes.

The competition was close, but in the end, first place went to Keith Hanna for his recipe for Chocolate Filled Coconut Cakes . Take a look at the recipe, it includes his rationale for choosing this style of sweet…it’s really compelling! Anne Marie Woodgate’s Strawberry French Macaroons took second place, and third place went to Colbi Flanagan for her Salted Caramel Chocolate Tarts.

Keith’s biography and recipe will be posted on the Kitchen Aid website, and he will be invited to attend some of the gala events at which his sweet will be served. He also won a Kitchen Aid mixer. The runners up received Architect series 5-speed hand blenders, one of Kitchen Aid’s newest products on the market.

Chef Instructor Richard Braunauer said that participating in competitions is a good way for students to hone their skills and build their résumés.

“The students need to be organized and able to work under pressure,” he said. “A competition situation really drives that message home.”

Lisa Gautreau said that she hopes the competition will become an annual event.

“These students were keen, competitive and creative. Many of them told me that they were personally affected by breast cancer in their family and wanted to do something to help. I cannot tell you how proud I am for Kitchen Aid Cook For The Cure to be affiliated with this college and these bright young students to help our cause,” she said.

For the students, the competition was a hands-on learning experience and an opportunity to contribute to a great cause. But Lisa said she learned something from it, too.

“It may seem funny and simplistic, but this competition has taught me a valuable lesson. I have a very close friend battling breast cancer. I’ve wanted to do everything and anything to help her. But I am limited in my talents and capabilities. I am not an oncologist, a priest, a counselor, or a dietician. I am simply a lady who sells appliances. But what I can do is mobilize the people around me to inspire them to get cooking and help me raise money and awareness. I can do something worthwhile. And it will matter.”

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Written by Sara Underwood

February 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm

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