Culinary stars shine in Nestlé Professional cook off

by | Dec 3, 2019 | Headlines, Life

David Pastor, Sports Reporter

Denise Forde watched her son Desmond earlier this week whip cheese, bacon, scallions and batter into a first place finish in the Nestlé Professional Culinary Competition at the North Campus.

“Very proud,” she said of her son, describing what she was feeling. 

Desmond, a first-year Culinary student, along with Jahnela Wizzard and Victoria Knight, both first-year Nutrition students, were named Humber’s most promising chefs in the Culinary, Baking and Nutrition programs. These students put their skills to the test in a cook-off in the Atrium earlier on Nov. 26.

First-year Culinary student Desmond Forde won with his Chinese-inspired Breakfast Scallion Pancake (above). (David Pastor)

While Desmond took the first prize of $1,000, Wizzard placed second winning the $750 prize and Knight won $500 in her third place finish.

Nestlé Professional’s Young Culinary Talents (YOCUTA) program partnered up with Humber College to hold this event for the fifth time as these chefs attempted to sauté their way to $1,000.

One of the judges, Rick Secko, the Customer Development Chef for Nestlé Professional said he loves taking part in these events and trying what the students prepare for him.

“I really enjoy seeing what the students make and the recipes they can put together,” he said.

Secko, along with Rosanna Ciara of Food Service and Hospitality Magazine, and Kartikey Bhargava  from Restaurants Canada, judged the students’ meals based on taste and presentation.

The chefs were given the task to create a global food trend, while using one of Nestlé Professional Minor’s Base or Flavour’s Concentrate.

“We decided on global breakfast trends because the lines are now blurred in a lot of meal parts, breakfast isn’t just something that happens before 8 a.m., 9 a.m.,” Secko said.

“It’s something that’s an all-day occurrence and we wanted to focus on that globally to actually bring in some more different flavour,” he said.

Desmond Forde presented the judges with a ‘Breakfast Scallion Pancake,’ a Chinese dish that consisted of bacon, cheese and green onions. Wizzard had prepared a ‘Sizzling Chicken Cheese Crepe,’ a twist on a traditional French dish for the judges, while Knight cooked a ‘Chipotle Eggs Benedict Wrap,’ giving a classic breakfast a more accessible approach.

Desmond spoke about his victory at this year’s competition and what he was able to overcome.

“This competition, as they all do, have all different challenges, today was about the equipment and some faultiness,” he said. “I’m feeling pretty good ‘cause what happened was very challenging to work through, but I kept my head cool and I stayed focus to the task, and I got everything done.”