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Media Release: The kitchen’s heating up for culinary apprentices across B.C.

Posted on October 15, 2019

2019 Culinary Apprentice of the Year logo header

VANCOUVER – On Saturday, Nov. 2, the knives will be out as competitors from across B.C. take part in the Culinary Apprentice of the Year Award competition at Vancouver Community College’s (VCC) Downtown campus.

Competitors were selected from over 40 applications and will be heading to Vancouver from northern B.C., the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, and the Lower Mainland. The competition is being revived this year after a decade-long absence and, for the first time, is including competitors from across the province.

VCC alumni competitors

• Raul Copete Vazquez (Burnaby)
• Aaron Hoffman (Vancouver)
• Nathan Sundeen (Vancouver)
• Katie Macbeth (Kelowna)

Other competitors from across B.C.

• Theo Brisley (Kelowna)
• Deidre Davis (Laxgalts'ap/Greenville)
• Siobhan Detkavich (Kelowna)
• Aaron Ivanoff (Prince George)
• Keenan Martens (Victoria)
• Emily Poisson (Victoria)
• Joshua Tocher (West Kelowna)

“These competitors represent the cream of the crop in culinary excellence,” says Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “These highly skilled students are living their passion and showcasing the state-of-the-art facilities, training, and mentorship opportunities offered by B.C.’s public colleges and universities. I’m proud that their hard work is being recognized as they represent the best of British Columbia’s world-class culinary scene.”

“It was important for us to make sure that this competition is truly inclusive and reflects the cultural, geographic, and demographic composition of our province,” said Shelley Gray, CEO of Industry Training Authority. “With the range of backgrounds, each competitor is going to bring a unique approach to their dishes based on their regions, training, and personal experiences.”

Competitors will be required to create a three-course meal for judges and invited guests at the culinary event in Vancouver on Saturday, Nov. 2. To be eligible, applicants had to have received their Red Seal endorsement 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.

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. Some of the judges include world-class chefs such as Bruno Marti, Hamid Salimian, Morgan Wilson, and James Hutton.

“Being involved in the apprenticeship culture is a huge part of my life,” says Chef Scott Jaeger, past president of the Chefs’ Table Society of BC and proprietor of The Pear Tree Restaurant. “Providing opportunities like this competition, especially with travel, nurture and strengthen our culture, our way of life.”

“VCC is excited to not only be hosting the Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition but also to have four students selected to compete,” says Chef Collin Gill, Department Head of VCC Culinary Arts and winner of the Apprentice of the Year Award in 1993. “Experiences like this are invaluable for students—both for highlighting their skills and creativity and for the relationships they will build and continue as they make their mark in the culinary world.”

The Culinary Apprentice of the Year Award winner will have the opportunity to accompany Culinary Team BC to Germany for the World Culinary Olympics in February 2020.

The competition is sponsored by the Chefs’ Table Society of BC, VCC, and the Industry Training Authority, along with the BC Chefs Association, North Vancouver Island Chefs Association, Okanagan Chefs Association, and Victoria Chefs Association. Other partners include Russell Hendrix, Intercity Packers, Gindara Sablefish, Barry Callebaut, Cactus Club Cafe, Cascadia Tableware, Icon Fine Wines & Spirits, Chef & Co, and House of Knives.

Follow the BC Culinary Apprentice of the Year competition hashtag #BCCulinaryAward on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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To interview the competitors or industry sponsors, please contact:

Lubna Ekramoddoullah
Communications Specialist
Industry Training Authority

For information on VCC's Culinary Arts programs and host facility:

Danielle Libonati
Marketing Communications Officer
Vancouver Community College
604.871.7000 ext 7531