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Media Release: Apprentice of the Year competition open for applications

Posted on September 9, 2019

VANCOUVER – After a decade-long absence, British Columbia’s culinary industry is holding the Culinary Apprentice of the Year award and, for the first time, is accepting applications from across the province for the competition.

Selected candidates will be required to create a three-course meal for judges and invited guests at the competition in Vancouver on Saturday, Nov. 2. To be eligible, applicants must have received their Red Seal Endorsement in cooking in 2018 or be registered as a third-year culinary apprentice in 2019. They must also be working in B.C. at the time of the competition. The deadline to apply is September 13, 2019.

The competition is sponsored by the Chefs' Table Society of BC, Vancouver Community College (VCC), and the Industry Training Authority (ITA). Other partners include BC Chefs Association, North Vancouver Island Chefs Association, Okanagan Chefs Association, and Victoria Chefs Association.

It’s an excellent way for competitors to test their skills, learn from others, and talk to chefs who are willing to share their knowledge. Judges will include world-class chefs Bruno Marti and Hamid Salimian.

Chef Poyan Danesh, competition chair, Chefs' Table Society of BC, knows a thing or two about competitions. He has been heavily involved in the B.C. culinary scene since graduating top of his class at VCC. Among his many accomplishments, Chef Danesh was named B.C. Chef of the Year in 2013, won multiple gold medals in the World Culinary Olympics, and was named Culinary Apprentice of the Year in 2008.

“Competitions and being an apprentice opened countless doors and opportunities for me, and it's a great way to jumpstart one’s career and nurture their passions,” says Chef Danesh. “We wanted to make this competition available for apprentices throughout the province to elevate their skills and offer them the opportunity to connect with the community they plan to make a career in.”

“VCC is excited to welcome back the Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition,” said Dennis Innes, dean of hospitality, food studies and applied business at VCC. “While classroom learning is critical to our students’ training, employers recognize the tenacity, patience, passion, and composure students develop through competition.”

“I’m thrilled that the Apprentice of the Year competition is back, so culinary apprentices and recent Red Seal recipients can show off the impressive skills and talents they acquired during their training,” says Melanie Mark, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “This competition is also an innovative and fun way for up-and-coming culinary students and recent grads to network and collaborate not only with their peers but also with experienced chefs and mentors from across B.C.”

“ITA manages more than 100 trades in British Columbia, and it’s exciting that the culinary industry is once again recognizing the highly-skilled chefs from the Professional Cook program,” says Shelley Gray, CEO of ITA. “The time they’ve spent as apprentices crafting their culinary skills has prepared them for this competition. We look forward to seeing these talented individuals in the November competition.”

The winner will receive their choice of $2,000 or an all-expenses-paid trip to accompany Culinary Team BC to Germany for the World Culinary Olympics in February 2020.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be B.C.'s Culinary Apprentice of the Year, download the application package here. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Sept. 13, 2019.


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To arrange an interview with Chef Poyan Danesh, please contact:

Lubna Ekramoddoullah
Communications Specialist
Industry Training Authority
T: 778.327.5896