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Culinary students get big break

They are stirring up and gearing up for what might be the greatest opportunity they have had in their culinary life so far.

Students from Okanagan College, who are working toward their Red Seal,  will get to assist some of the best chefs in the country during the Canadian Culinary Championships held in Kelowna this weekend.

Chef Perry Bentley is a Culinary Arts instructor at the school, and says the event will allow the students to understand what happens in real kitchens under real situations.

"Although this is a competition it is very much like the real world in a busy kitchen. You have lots of decisions to make very, very quickly and there is lots of multitasking."

And Bentley knows what he is talking about when it comes to how the competition plays out, as he is one of 10 judges.

"Oh I have a dreadful job just eating and drinking for three days solid," he jokes.

Bentley will be the only Okanagan judge and says while the chefs play out the key roles in the event the students will take on more minimal but still important tasks.

"The chefs will have two or three students allocated to them. They will need garlic minced, vegetables chopped up and some sauce put through a strainer, or something pureed, basic skills that all these students are learning," explains Bentley.

The other students not assigned to a chef will  help to plate the nearly 400 entrees during each day of the event.

For level two student Kevin Felix this will be the biggest culinary task he has taken on and he can't wait for the grand finale

"It is a chance to see what everyone gets to do and what everyone is good at, it will be cool. And just being with everyone from our school and getting to see their skills," he says.

Level one student Kristopher Saccary says it will be an opportunity to network.

"It is an opportunity… to meet really great people and good chefs which is really great because this is my passion and I want to go further."

On the Saturday the entire school of 80  students will participate one way or another, but for a lucky few they will be standing next to the next Canadian Culinary Champion once the winner is chosen.

That's when the bubbly really starts to flow.

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