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  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 08, 2014 06:00 am

CULINARY FIST-BUMP — Bellerose Composite chefs Shaydon Page (left) and Austin Cunningham celebrate the silver medals they won Monday for their performance at the Feb. 8 High School Culinary Challenge. It's the first time that Bellerose has won a medal at the event.
CULINARY FIST-BUMP — Bellerose Composite chefs Shaydon Page (left) and Austin Cunningham celebrate the silver medals they won Monday for their performance at the Feb. 8 High School Culinary Challenge. It's the first time that Bellerose has won a medal at the event.
KEVIN MA/St. Albert Gazette

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Bellerose chefs snag silver

Three Bellerose chefs are silver medallists this week after their cuisine proved supreme at a regional cooking challenge.

Shaydon Page, Austin Cunningham and Sean Malayko received silver medals Monday for their performance at the seventh annual High School Culinary Challenge in Edmonton.

The event, which is sponsored by the Canadian Culinary Federation, pitted 16 Edmonton-area high-school teams against each other in a timed cooking competition. While the contest itself happened last Feb. 8 at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) campus, the winners were only announced on Monday.

This is the second time that Bellerose has participated in this event and the first time it has won a medal, said team coach Jason Dabbagh.

“This was a very strong team we had this year,” he said. Both Page and Cunningham work as chefs at St. Albert’s River House Grill, and are experts at adjusting taste and seasoning in their dishes.

The event gave teams just three hours to prepare a three-course gourmet meal of chicken, curry chicken soup and apple strudel, Cunningham said. Each team was given a set recipe and limited ingredients, and was judged on their timing, preparation, sanitation, presentation and taste.

The team practiced three times a week for two months in order to prepare, Cunningham said. Each team-member also had step-by-step instructions on what to do on the day of the event.

“We had everything really organized and it went really smoothly,” Cunningham said.

The team even had enough time to jazz up the dishes: they pan-seared the chicken with a custom spice mix, for example, and added a hand-made bowl of spun sugar to the strudel.

Page and Cunningham also each received a $10,000 entrance scholarship for a three-year culinary arts program at NAIT for their efforts.

Cunningham said he was jumping for joy when he got the news of the medals.

“We feel really proud of our team and how we did.”

Page and Cunningham are both now training for the Skills Canada Alberta competition this April 12.

Science medals for PK

Bad luck and a broken robot shattered Paul Kane’s dreams of gold last weekend at the Science Olympics, but the student team didn’t walk away empty-handed.

Paul Kane’s Grade 12 team took silver and bronze in two events at the Edmonton Science Olympics held March 1. The event drew about 100 Edmonton-area student teams together in a test of scientific skill.

Students had to complete a variety of applied science challenges such as building a ping-pong-ball-collecting robot and counting the number of bacteria in yogurt. Some of the challenges were done in advance, while others were mystery events revealed on the day of the competition.

The Paul Kane squad had hoped to defend its title as last year’s regional champions, but missed it because some of its take-home projects didn’t work out, said team member Kayla Bruce.

Their ping-pong robot fell apart when its motors broke, explained teammate David Wandler. They finished the yogurt bacteria count, but got disqualified because the judges couldn’t view their entry due to a technical glitch – a fact they only learned of on the day of the contest.

Wandler said the team took second in the Sense and Nonsense event, where they had to build a device out of modular components that could sense and react to its environment.

“We made sort of an emergency rescue robot that would send out an SOS when it sensed motion,” Wandler said. Search teams could theoretically use this device to find people trapped under rubble.

They also took bronze in a mystery event called “To Catch a Fly.”

“They gave us a coat-hanger and 16 sticks of hot glue, and they basically said you have to make a net you can catch a ball with,” Wandler said. The team used the glue to create a spider-web/snowflake-like net that caught the heaviest ball thrown the third-greatest distance during testing.

Bruce said it was disappointing that they didn’t take gold, but said it was a good learning experience.

“We’re hoping our Grade 11 team will do us proud (next year).”


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