Bakers Journal

Decadence chocolate and icewine event a success

February 22, 2011
By Bakers Journal

February 22, 2011, Canada – Niagara College’s Ruth Bleijerveld and Jason Walsh captured the top prize at the first-ever Decadence event, a national pastry competition and fun-filled weekend designed to celebrate chocolate and icewine.

Teams of two students each produced four types of individual pastries, including two specialty occasion cakes and a chocolate showpiece. All elements were required to have chocolate and/or icewine as a main flavour component, and students were given eight hours to complete their creations.

The entries were evaluated by an expert panel of judges that included acclaimed chef and Food Network host, Anna Olson; Belcolade Chocolate’s Joris Vanhee; Vinod Varshney, chair of Culinary and Hospitality at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology; Pradeep, Dharmawardane, pastry chef at Fallsview Casino; and Trevor Ritchie, chef de partie for Trio Restaurant at Queen’s Landing in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Following judging, the entries were sampled by guests at the Chocolate and Icewine Gala on Saturday evening.

As overall champions, Bleijerveld, a level three baker/patissier apprentice, and Walsh, a culinary management co-op student, will each receive a trip for two to Bruges, Belgium, where they will train at the Chocolate Institute for one week.

“It’s been an overwhelming experience,” said Bleijerveld. “I’m honoured to have represented Niagara College so well, and I’m very thankful for the supportive staff and faculty who have brought me to where I am today.”

The home team faced stiff competition from teams that included Bridget Hicks and Shaynn Corrigan of Toronto’s Humber College, Andrea Major and Emily Smith of PEI’s Holland College, and Jacqui Keseluk and Lauren Cameron of Nova Scotia Community College.

Based on point totals, Niagara College, Holland College and Nova Scotia Community College teams each won silver medals and Humber won a bronze.

Humber College won for best use of chocolate and best hot dessert, and received KitchenAid stand mixers and Le Creuset terrine moulds. Nova Scotia Community College, winning for best use of icewine, received $500 scholarships and a supply of Inniskillin icewine. Holland College claimed the prize for best overall pastry and received KitchenAid stand mixers.

Presented by Niagara College’s Canadian Food and Wine Institute, Decadence featured a full slate of activities that drew hundreds of foodies and families alike.  Highlights from the weekend included a series of classes focused on chocolate and pasta, decorating and entertaining with chocolate, and a class on beer and chocolate.

“We’re very pleased with the success of this event, which is the result of months of hard work by our staff, faculty and students,” said Craig Youdale, academic chair of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “We’re also very grateful to our guests from Humber College, Holland College and Nova Scotia Community College, which are
among the top pastry programs in the country.”

Major Sponsors for this event include Inniskillin Wines, Belcolade Chocolate, KitchenAid, Chefs Hat Inc., Mercer Tools, Le Creuset and Organic Meadow Dairies.

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