Roger Andrews, culinary arts instructor at College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) Prince Philip Drive campus, returned from Erfurt, Germany last week after taking part in the 2016 International Culinary Art Exhibition, better known as the IKA/Culinary Olympics, with a silver and bronze medal to show for his team’s efforts.
Andrews previously attended the IKA/Culinary Olympics in 2008 and 2012 as a member of Culinary Team Canada, where he was awarded a bronze medal in the individual category. 2016 saw him compete as part of a regional team representing Atlantic Canada on Team Nova Scotia.
“(This year) we were called Team Nova Scotia, but it was made up of a couple of chefs in Atlantic Canada,” Andrews said. “One of my former teammates from Team Canada put this team together and reached out to me and asked if I wanted to come help out.”
The IKA/Culinary Olympics is the largest international professional competition for chefs, cooks and pastry chefs. The IKA/Culinary Olympics premiered in 1900 in Frankfurt, Germany. Since then, every four years, national teams, youth national teams (under 23 years of age), regional teams and caterers compete to be Olympic champions in their discipline. Since the first event in 1900, the attraction of the event hasn’t wavered amongst culinary professionals.
“It was good, but it was quite different this time,” Andrews said of the competition. “We had a very, very limited budget. We had a budget of about $25,000 which had to include flights, hotels, kitchen usage, food – everything had to be under that $25,000 so that was a little bit challenging. If you look at Team PEI, they had a budget of $225,000 and had been practicing for the past six months, whereas we didn’t have it in our budget to practice. We just went on prior experiences, which put us at a disadvantage, but despite having us working in different provinces, it was a pretty good feat to pull off.”
Considering the challenges they overcame, Andrews is pleased with the end results – a silver medal in the pastry category and a bronze in cold.
“We never practiced at all. We just went over and put food on the table, but obviously with practice and critiques you come up with different things you can change, but we really never have time or allowance to do that. It was a one-time thing.”
So what’s next for Andrews? He says hasn’t ruled out being involved again in four years’ time but maybe in a coaching capacity rather than as a participant.
“It was a good trip. Whether I’m going to do it again I’m not 100 per cent sure. I will have to see. I have done this three times now and it’s hard on the body. Flying over on Monday, getting there Tuesday and then driving for three hours to get to the town where the competition is. Then you’ve got two or three days to get everything ready and then turn around right after you’re done and fly right back to come back to work on Monday – it’s kind of tough. We’ll see what happens.”
Despite the demanding schedule, each time he attends he brings back new knowledge to share with his students at CNA, something he admits is a difference maker when gauging his interest.
“I want to thank the college for allowing me to do the competition. I’m bringing back a lot of stuff that I can show the students with regards to looking at the different national team tables and the different things that the different countries are doing in the various competitions. You get to see what’s going on currently in the world. If I didn’t do this stuff, you can get stuck in a rut of teaching the same thing over and over. Now I can adapt the way I teach to show them what’s happening out there in the world.”
For more information about the CNA’s culinary arts programs visit, www.cna.nl.ca
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic