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The national finals for the 2013 USA Pears “Pear Excellence” Canadian Culinary Student Recipe Competition took place this week at The Chef’s House at George Brown College in Toronto. Five culinary student finalists from highly competitive regional competitions faced off before a panel of esteemed judges for the National Grand Prize title.
The members of the final judging event’s renowned judging panel were Frank Spagnuolo, senior produce category director, Loblaw Co.; Rita DeMontis, Lifestyle and Food editor, The Toronto Sun; David Keenan, chef Instructor, Liaison College Barrie; and Mark McEwan, owner and executive chef, Fabbrica.
The student competitors won an all-expenses-paid trip to Toronto to compete in the national competition, which was held just before the Canadian Produce Marketing Association (CPMA) Convention and Expo in Toronto. The national grand-prize winner earned a cash award, and the remaining students each took home a smaller cash award to recognize their regional titles. Event attendees, including culinary students, food bloggers and foodservice professionals, voted on their favorite dish to select the People’s Choice award.
Allegra Jimenez, an 18-year-old culinary student from the Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island, representing the British Columbia/Northwest Territories Region, won top honors from the judges with her “Pearfect Pearing,” a plate featuring a savory cheesecake atop puff pastry with poached Bosc pears, pear chips and a candied beet salad. The judges noted that the recipe was innovative, well executed, perfectly seasoned and an exceptional blending of flavors that showcased the pear’s versatility in recipes.
Now in its sixth year, Pear Bureau Northwest recognizes the country’s most talented students for their pear prowess. Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest said, “We are proud to be able to increase pear consumption at the foodservice level by continuing the tradition of educating student chefs nationwide about USA Pears. Canada is one of our top export markets, and this year we had a record-breaking number of contest entries. We’re glad to have inspired a lifelong love for pears in these talented individuals as they start their promising careers.”