This summer's second annual Farm to School Youth Localvore Cook Off event brought together farmers, nutritionists, and chefs to cheer on six teams of young aspiring chefs and then judge their culinary creations. The teams of two had two hours to prepare and plate an appetizer and an entree that were nutritious, delicious, and featured local ingredients.
The intention of the Youth Localvore event is to engage youth in connecting the dots between our health, our food skills and our local food system. The Grade 11 and 12 students were tasked with contacting a farmer and writing an essay about the value of local agriculture. They also sourced a local ingredient and developed three healthy recipes that integrated the cooking skills they have developed during their high school culinary arts training.
The morning began with the assignment of work stations and the assignment of which recipe submitted they would be required to prepare. This news resulted in relieved cheers from some and sighs of concern from others. Organizers said the food preparation got underway efficiently as the students tried to ignore the audience-turned-paparazzi.
At every work station, the students' mastery of cooking skills and ability to work as a team was apparent. They had drawn on each other's strengths as they developed their menus and students now rolled out home-made pasta, created beautiful garnishes for plating, and perfected their sauces. The atmosphere became more frenzied as the 12:15pm appetizer deadline and 1pm entr�e deadline approached.
The appies and entrees were presented to the chef, nutritionist and farmer judges to provide their assessment, who spent considerable time evaluating each dish before determining the winners of this year's competition.
In the end, first place went to Gwangjoon Kim and Emily Chang from David Thompson Secondary, Vancouver. Each student recieved a $3000 scholarship to help them continue their post-secondary culinary training. Maicha Torres and Pocholo Paranpan from Tupper Secondary won second place and recieved $2000 each in scholarship funds. Kim Cheung and Mark Jang, from Tupper and David Thompson Secondaries, placed third and were awarded $1000 each in scholarship funds.
The Farm to School Greater Vancouver Steering Committee said they would like to extend a big thank you to Vancity enviroFund for the funds to make this event possible and to the Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver for hosting the event and providing $12,000 in scholarships.