Originally published in The Georgia Straight
Vancouver Community College (VCC) baking and pastry arts graduate Clarissa Roque did something amazing in May at the 2019 Skills Canada National Competition in Halifax.
She created seven different pastries over a 14-hour period in two days, wowing the judges and winnning a gold medal in her category.
This has enabled her to advance to the WorldSkills competition in August in Kazan, Russia.
But that wasn’t the only VCC–related accomplishment in Halifax. One of its recent culinary arts grads, Leah Patitucci, also won a gold medal in her category.
This means that for the first time, one school—Vancouver Community College—has Canadian bragging rights in both of these categories for the upcoming global event. It takes place every two years and attracts competitors from more than 60 countries.
VCC’s dean of hospitality, food studies and applied business, Dennis Innes, told the Straight by phone that the success of the students doesn’t reflect only the quality of the culinary and baking and pastry arts programs. It’s also a testament to the commitment and dedication of the two former VCC students.
“It’s a lot of hard work,” Innes declared. “They really have to want to do it.”
He pointed out that Roque and Patitucci were both enrolled in high school programs created in partnership with VCC. These programs provide an opportunity to earn academic and trades training credits before going to college.
Innes is on the board of Skills Canada B.C. and will be in Kazan for the WorldSkills Competition. But this is not the only chance for students and recent grads to demonstrate their mettle. According to Innes, they’ve competed for the national Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship and in the Culinary Olympics.
“In both the culinary and baking programs, we have our own internal top-student competition,” he added.
VCC has the largest culinary arts and baking and pastry arts programs in the province. Because it receives funding from Industry Training Authority B.C., VCC is more affordable for students than other schools that don’t have this affiliation.
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