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Canadore College Culinary Student wins International Recognition

Feb 9, 2022 | Cindy Males, Public Relations and Communications Specialist

Canadore College was once again represented at the IIHM International Young Chef Olympiad (YCO).  This year, competing against more than 40 other countries, the College took home two awards – Best Mentor for Chef Fintan Flynn, and Best Knife Skills for second-year Culinary Management student Mya Hilts.  

“I wanted to take part in this competition because of the experience you gain and how it opens so many more doors for your career,” said Hilts, who is from Pembroke, Ontario.  “This competition is very well-known and is seen in a lot of places.  It would also be a great addition to a resume. Taking part in competitions also involves a lot of one-on-one work which helps you learn more skills and tricks in this industry.”

Canadore consistently fares well in culinary competitions, and Chef Flynn believes it boils down to teamwork.

“I believe that it is down to the dedication of the student and how we, as a culinary team, choose the right student for the different competitions,” he said.  “Sometimes we have a cook-off between the students if there is more than one student interested.  The student also gets the benefit of dedicated mentoring by the faculty. The chefs inspire the students with passion and the drive to do well.”

For the second straight year, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced this culinary battle to be fought virtually.  The International Institute of Hotel Management and the International Hospitality Council London collaborated to organize the five-day competition which was held from January 31 to February 5.  Each competitor tackled two rounds of culinary challenges.  As one of the 10 Best Runners Up from Round 1, Hilts qualified for the Plate Trophy final.

“Instruction at Canadore prepared me for this competition by having all the equipment and everything I needed to practice every day,” said Hilts.  “It also helped me prepare by having such great teachers to assist me with my recipes and giving me new ideas to work with.”

“From this experience I have learned that I am a very organized person and like to have things all laid out. This part really helped me to be ready for every practice and each time I competed. It was also something that the judges talked about,” she said.

“We chose Mya because of her grades, dedication, and willingness to listen and learn,” said Chef Flynn. “Mya is a disciplined worker with a kind heart and conscious mind and she applies positive energy and optimism to everything she undertakes.”

Canadore’s participation in the competition was made possible with assistance from other programs.  Faculty and students from the Television Broadcasting program were set up to show the competition from different angles so the judges could view it in real time. 

“We are proud of all of the hard work Team Canadore put into this year’s competition,” said George Burton, Canadore College President and CEO.  “This international recognition is a credit to our dedicated students and faculty who go beyond the classroom to make sure Canadore shines.”