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Simcoe Muskoka high school students get cooking in first-ever culinary competition


Grade 9 and 10 students from the Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board tested their culinary skills Monday in the first-ever kitchen warriors cooking competition.

 Eight teams from five schools participated in the baking and culinary competition.

"It's a fantastic opportunity for them to learn team building, to learn cooking and to get ready to go in the industry," said David Wolfman, George Brown College Chef Professor and competition organizer. "This is sort of the launch point if I might say, for them to go to a college and then to go into the field of cooking."

Students were required to make a dessert that represents their geographic region.

"For our dessert, we thought that we would bring a little bit of Midland because Midland hosts the annual Butter tart festival," said Harlyn Grenier, a Grade 9 student. "So we made a maple butter tart cheesecake."

Participants prepare their plates on Mon., May 15 (Catalina Gillies/CTV News).

Students also had to use a surprise mystery ingredient in their recipe.

"They didn't know about it before today. So we used something that was locally grown, which was the corn, which was locally from here," Wolfman said.

The competition was judged by six local professional chefs, who looked at taste and visual presentation as some of the key aspects.

Justin Denman, a local chef at Groovy Tuesdays in Barrie and one of the judges, took the same culinary program when he attended high school.

"It really opened up my eyes to what's out there for culinary arts," Denman told CTV News. "It led to me starting my apprenticeship, completing the SHSM program and then later on completing my red seal."

Not only did the students make yummy dishes, but they also learned more about culinary career opportunities.

"It's great to see that there's a bigger interest in culinary arts, especially moving forward after Covid and whatnot. It's really opening up more doors for people," Denman added.

The winners of the competitions will receive culinary prizes and cookbooks to use in their kitchens. The school board also plans to make this an annual event to expose more students to culinary careers. Top Stories

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