All-Nighter Led to Gold Medal Win for Chef Apprentice
Julie Yarcak always wanted to be a chef. Now the second year Fanshawe College chef apprentice has a gold medal to attach to her resumé.
Julie (in photo at right) and an assistant, chef apprentice Yoda Olinyk, worked more than 24 hours straight to prepare and glaze a presentation for the novice competition at the Escoffier Society of Toronto Culinary Salon on March 8, 2009. Competing against teams from other community colleges and a hotel team, Julie's entry took gold.
Scott Baechler, Chef Cuisine in Fanshawe's Advanced Food Preparation program,
was Julie's coach for the competition along with her boss, chef Alfred Estephan
from the Sunningdale Golf and Country Club. Scott said it would normally take
three months to prepare a team for this type of competition but they had only
two and a half weeks. The Fanshawe team was selected from about 100 students.
In the final stretch, Scott said he pushed for the kind of excellence he knew would be required to win. "Look you're going to get tired," he told Julie and Yoda, "and just as you become tired, I'm going to push you for more."
Julie said they started working at the College at 8:00 a.m. Saturday, "preparing all the pieces. We worked all day Saturday and we glazed Saturday night until about 3:00 a.m. and we packed everything and drove to Toronto. We got there for 6:00 a.m. and we started setting up our table till about 8:00 a.m. when the judges come in and we had to leave."
The table setup included lights and glass risers. Julie's menu included a trio of appetizers, poached pheasant in a citrus broth, braised boneless rabbit and white chocolate mousse with an ice wine fruit terrine.
A trio of appetizers from Julie Yarcak's gold medal-winning presentation.
Julie hopes to continue working at Sunningdale after graduation in June and write her chef's papers in about a year. Down the road, she hopes to open a café specializing in pastries and gourmet lunches with some catering on the side.
Her favourite dishes? "Lamb, seafood and pastries, I'm a big fan of pastries...cakes, anything with sugar."
The Escoffier Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of professional chefs and cooks.