Students get cooking at Country Fest

Students from the Culinary Arts program at Maple Ridge secondary will be showing off their talents at Country Fest this year.

Maple Ridge Secondary graduating student Kyle Campbell

Maple Ridge Secondary graduating student Kyle Campbell

Students from the Culinary Arts program at Maple Ridge secondary will be showing off their talents at the first ever Black Box Culinary Competition at Country Fest this year.

Four teams of two students each will compete by creating two dishes, one main entrée and a salad, within two hours using only local ingredients located on a common ingredient table.

Cooking shows are in right now,” said Lorraine Bates, general manager of the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Agricultural Association.

Bates wanted to have the competition last year, but by the time she contacted chef Trevor Randle, the driving force of the Maple Ridge secondary culinary arts program, it was too late.

The competition will take place this Saturday and Sunday, starting at noon and ending at 2 p.m.

The teams: Tasha Sirianni and Kyle Campbell; Caitlynn Butula and  Brooklyne Taylor; Felicia Day and Julian Froc; and Matthew Charron and Lindsay Charron.

The competition will be hosted by Maple Ridge Coun. Cheryl Ashlie.

Saturday’s judges: Pitt Meadows Mayor Deb Walters; Steve Pelton, of SKP Plant Factory and Kitchen Pick; Richard Morrant, executive chef of Pitt Meadows Golf Club; and Tim Sarsfield, food services manager at The Salvation Army Caring Place.

Sundays judges: Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin; Eileen Dwillies, market manager of the Haney Farmers Market Society; Mike Mulcahy, chef and owner of Big Feast Bistro and Catering; and Emma Davison, sales and marketing director for Golden Ears Cheesecrafters.

“We are an agricultural society first and we should be supporting agriculture first,” said Bates.

Not only will this competition provide an attraction at the festival, but Bates is pleased to be able to give each participant in the event a $500 bursary for a post-secondary education in culinary arts, redeemable within two years.

“There’s no losers in this competition. They will be judged, but every one of them will receive a $500 bursary,” said Bates.

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