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Culinary Team Heading to Olympics

Northwest Community College (NWCC) Culinary Arts instructor, Ben Genaille, has been chosen to join the Canadian Culinary Federations Culinary Team Canada (CCFCC) in the 2008 IKA (Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung) Culinary Olympics. Genaille will be assembling an all Aboriginal support team that will include five NWCC culinary arts students and accompany Team Canada to Erfurt, Germany for the October competition. His team will also form the basis of a BC Aboriginal Regional Culinary Team that will compete in 2012. Assembling an all Aboriginal team to compete in the IKA Culinary Olympics has been a dream and goal of mine for many years, explains Genaille. With the assistance of Team Canada and support from Northwest Community College this is now becoming a reality. The IKA Culinary Olympics is the most prestigious international culinary competition in the world, bringing together the elite of the culinary world to showcase talent and culinary techniques. Held every four years, nations from all over the globe send the best of the best to represent their countries culinary expertise. Being a participant in the IKA Culinary Olympics is a significant honour and achievement for all in the culinary profession and can lead the way to many new career opportunities. Genaille will be testing students this week to determine who will be part of the support team. The final decision and selection will take place on December 5. The test will require students to push their abilities to limits they have never reached, explains Genaille. It will require them to delve into the heart of their imaginations, and draw upon the creativity that resides within. The winners will be chosen according to high standards of professionalism, personal commitment to excellence, and ability to work under extreme pressure. They will be role models for the Culinary Arts Program and their chosen profession. Participation on Team Canadas support team will require significant commitment from all members. Each person will be required to commit a minimum of 1,000 hours per year to practice and prepare for the competition. Preparation includes planning and participating in fundraising events put on by Team Canada nationally, as well, as those the support team will organize locally. In addition to volunteering time to this event, we have to find funds to get us to practice competitions leading up to the Olympics and to the Olympics in Erfurt, states Genaille. The support and costs associated with reaching this goal are steep. We need assistance with the costs to purchase food materials for practices, equipment, and the use of an industrial kitchen. The College and Genailles culinary colleagues have rallied around this Olympic goal and their support is essential. The Terrace campus cafeteria and equipment will be made available to team members to utilize for practice sessions, release time will be given to enable Genaille and the students to travel and participate in practices with Team Canada, and fund-raising efforts will be organized. This is a tremendous opportunity for our students, Chef Genaille and the northwest, states NWCC President, Stephanie Forsyth. The student team will be working and learning with some of Canadas top chefs and being trained to perform in an international arena where competition is the most demanding any Chef will encounter. This experience has the potential to transform these students and give them the skills, inspiration, and mentorship to turn them into world-class professionals. Their participation in the Olympics will bring great exposure to our program and to the region.

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