Bakers Journal

Room 4 Dessert

June 12, 2024
By Rita DeMontis

George Brown baking and pastry graduates showcase international cuisine

Ching Tsang Sze and Ming Ngai Cheung, members of the winning team representing Scandinavia, served up a menu featuring chilled cucumber soup, mini croissant, almond berries mousse cake, meatball sandwhich, fika bar, golden apple bonbon washed down with butterfly pea lemonade.

The celebration was sweet and successful at George Brown College’s Room 4 Dessert competition in April, which saw graduating Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts baking and pastry arts students showcase their signature desserts in this first annual tour de force of sweet and savoury dishes. 

The much-anticipated evening, which took place in the school’s atrium, saw 35 teams of four students to each team present the delicious fare from dozens of countries, and where each dish was a painstaking work of art that would have rivalled dishes found in any award-winning eatery around the globe.

Each team presented a selection of mocktails, savoury dishes, desserts and the most stunning chocolates found outside a professional chocolatier’s business. Each recipe was meticulously researched for its history and traditional ingredients. And all the students unleashed their vibrant creativity in order to produce delicate works of edible art, with each mouthful bursting with layers of flavour. 

Some students were daring in their ingredient list, while others paid homage to beloved recipes representing the various countries. Of note was the use of citrus in many of the dishes, and classic ingredients like maple syrup were put to good use, especially to showcase the identity of the various countries, particularly in dishes celebrating Canada.

Tickets for the event were $65 and sold out almost immediately. 

“The skills these students displayed were incredible,” said Chef David Haman, a pastry chef and one of the school’s dedicated team of culinary professors, who was on hand to make sure things went smoothly during the evening.

“These were second-year students and what I personally found amazing was the fact that many of these students had absolutely zero skills when they first started.

“We are talking students who had no idea how to peel a carrot, or had ever whipped cream in their lives . . . to see the dedication, professionalism and sheer creativity was beyond inspiring and exciting.”

This is the next generation of bakers and pastry chefs, added Chef Jennifer Lakhan-D’Souza, a pastry chef, instructor and program developer at George Brown, and herself an alumnus of the school. 

A team representing Scandinavia earned top honours with their menu featuring chilled cucumber soup, mini croissant, almond berries mousse cake, meatball sandwhich, fika bar, golden apple bonbon washed down with butterfly pea lemonade. Team members are Ching Tsang Sze, Elsa Lee, Ming Ngai Cheung and Ling Chau Man.

Placing second was a Sweet Amigos Dulceria menu featuring a tropical verrine, consisting of colourful layers of mango panna cotta, raspberry jelly, papaya mousse and coconut-lime streusel. Team members are Andrea Rizzotto, Riley Nichols, Isha Noorpuri and Mary Catherine Sutiangso. 

The Amalfi Café menu featuring brioche supreme filled with chocolate hazelnut pastry cream placed third. Team members are Debbie Arlette, Alyssa Sampson, Samantha Scarfo Noworacki and Bee De Carvalho.

Students received monetary awards donated by the Baking Association of Canada Ontario Chapter.

Lakhan-D’Souza was one of the judges for the event, and she admitted it was a tough go. “We could only have first, second and third placing, but all the students did an exceptional job for this event.”

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