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Cavendish Farms sponsors second annual culinary competition

Earlier this year, the Culinary Institute of Canada held its second annual culinary competition at Holland College in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Sponsored by Cavendish Farms, the competition challenged culinary students to create award-worthy dishes featuring Cavendish Farms products. 

While French fries and onion rings are traditionally considered side dishes, participants were challenged to develop unique main courses highlighting one of more than a dozen Cavendish Farms products. 

Dishes were then evaluated by a panel of judges from P.E.I.’s culinary scene. 

Students submitted written proposals outlining their intended recipes. The judging panel then selected the top six applicants to compete in the finals held in the Holland College commercial kitchen. 

First-year students Melanie Wood and Mack Kirkwood secured the top prize of $2,000 with a traditional East Coast dish of fishcakes made with Cavendish Farms FlavourCrisp Herb and Garlic Crinkle Wedges.

The pair needed a product they could use to recreate the usual base of mashed potatoes in their dish and thought the Herb and Garlic Wedges were the perfect choice. 

“We looked for a product that had more substance, was a little bit thicker, and had a good flavour profile that would be complementary to the fish,” said Melanie. “It provided a solid, flavourful base. It really was the foundation the dish was built on.” 

Maggie Drover and Rémi Ouellette, also first-year students, claimed the $1,000 prize with their Swedish Hash using Cavendish Farms All-Day Breakfast Diced Hash Brown Potatoes.

Rémi says he wanted to accomplish one really big thing to be the crowning achievement of his first year at culinary school. The competition was the perfect motivator.

“Being able to learn more and practice all these skills made me feel like I was more prepared to enter my second year of culinary school.”

Second-year student Madison DeMont earned the $500 prize with her Jerk Chicken Nachos featuring Cavendish Farms Restaurant Style Waffle Fries.

This is Madison’s second time participating, which she credits for her added confidence in this year’s competition, saying it helped her grow as a chef and as a person.

“It’s not so much time-based as it is presenting something you’re passionate about and showing off what can be done with products you wouldn’t normally think about.”

Mack agreed, sharing he and Melanie entered the competition to enrich their educational journey by learning more than they did in class. 

“Thank you to Cavendish Farms for putting on this competition. It was an amazing experience, and we hope it continues for years to come because it is so beneficial to the students,” said Mack. 

Congratulations to all the participants for their outstanding contributions to the Cavendish Culinary Competition. 

A special thank you to the judges of the 2024 Cavendish Culinary Competition: 

Chef Kim Conway, Leonhard’s Café
Chef Adam Todd, Piatto Pizzeria
Chef Krista MacQuarrie, Research Chef, Canada’s Smartest Kitchen
Chef Mark Corrigan, Cavendish Farms Research Chef
Sarah Martin, Food Scientist, Cavendish Farms
Cody Fraser, Food Service Marketing Representative at Cavendish Farms

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