Campbell River hosted a world-class cuisine meal and wine pairing Friday night.
North Island College’s Campbell River campus hosted chefs from Culinary Team British Columbia, the North Vancouver Island Culinary Association and the Culinary Federation of Canada for the evening to raise funds to help national and provincial culinary teams to participate in international competitions in Luxembourg later this year.
“Both teams are under the same management. We are traveling to Luxembourg at the end of November for the Culinary World Cup,” said chef Tina Tang, an NIC graduate who grew up in Courtenay. “It’s a bit like the other World Cups. This happens every two years after the Olympics. In 2024 there will be the Culinary Olympiad in Germany.
“It’s an international competition,” she said. “This year, I believe there are 50 other teams. There are different categories. There are individuals, teams, and smaller team events – national, corporate, and individual just recurring.
Tang, who now works as a pastry chef at Summerhill Winery in Kelowna, was named Chef of the Year by the Culinary Federation of Canada for 2021. She is part of the larger team of Vancouver and Kelowna-based chefs who prepared the Friday night dinner.
Friday was actually a test for the November competition. The team, aided by NIC cooking students, had five hours to prepare a meal for 120 people.
“It’s a soup, a salad, a choice of three main courses and a dessert,” Tang said. “In Luxembourg it’s actually a lunchtime event, but here it’s a dinner party because it sells better because it’s a fundraiser for us.”
“It’s really hectic up front, but as long as we cook well, we’re good.”
For Tang, high-level cooking is not limited to food preparation. It’s about the relationship people have with what they eat. It’s also about responsibility and creating positive trends in the way we eat.
“I think it’s just the relationship with the food,” she said. “It’s not just about the food on the plate, but how that food got to us and how we respect it. Also be part of the good change in the world. We see a lot less food waste and we compost what can’t be eaten.
When Canadians arrive in Luxembourg, they will face fierce competition, mainly from European countries.
“They are outstanding competitors and we strive to be at that level with them, especially with all the years of experience our coaches and managers have,” Tang said. “Also, I think we’re all a bit crazy, so we like the adrenaline rush. I can’t lie.
That being said, Tang isn’t too nervous about cooking on the international stage. They have already entered the competition, after all.
“If it was before we had our first Culinary Olympics, we would definitely be more nervous, but we’ve already done that,” she said. “We try to be at the level where the juniors can watch us and learn from us too. We try to be very ready.
The meal was sponsored by select BC food producers, who provided farmed Atlantic salmon, inland chicken and other sponsors.
Campbell RiverFood and DrinksFood and WineNorth Island College