Judging the Cooks

No Easy Task

Food writer, recipe developer and cookbook author Renee Kohlman sees a lot of great recipes. In fact, she writes a lot of great recipes, so impressing her might be a bit of a task. But at least one entry in a competition last year did just that.
Renee Kohlman and her farmer, Dixon.
Every year as part of the Taste Canada awards, Cooks the Books invites Canadian culinary students to compete for the title of Canada’s Best New Student Chefs. Teams must celebrate the diversity of foods grown in Canada and give their creations a global twist. Taste Canada aims to inspire readers to discover delicious recipes and diverse food stories written from a Canadian perspective.

The winning team created this dome of deep-fried potato which they topped their shepherd’s pie with.

“The winning team created this dome of deep-fried potato which they topped their shepherd’s pie with,” Kohlman said. “They wrapped thin strips of potato around an aluminum ball and deep-fried it in canola oil until golden. Then they had the task of removing the aluminum from the inside so all that was left was a potato sphere. It was creative and so spectacular!”
That winning team included William Besner and Jean-François Perron from École des métiers de la restauration et du tourisme de Montréal. In addition to bragging rights, the pair also received a $3,000 bursary toward their culinary education and the title of Taste Canada’s Best New Student Chefs.
Cooks the Books 2021
Kohlman explained that because the competition was virtual, students had to adhere to a strict set of rules that included submitting recipes, photos and videos in specific formats.
“There were technical elements that had to be followed correctly as well as a properly written headnote and notes for the cook at the end of the recipe,” she said.
With eight teams competing, choosing a winner was no easy task.

I’m so impressed with the future of culinary arts in Canada.

“I’m so impressed with the future of culinary arts in Canada,” Kohlman said. “Each team submitted creative and delicious recipes with thoughtful and thorough appreciation of technique and ingredients. My only wish is that I could have actually tasted the dishes in person!”
Kohlman’s latest cookbook, Vegetables: A Love Story, was released last fall. Follow her culinary adventures at http://www.sweetsugarbean.com/. The 2021 Taste Canada Cook the Books was presented by Canola Eat Well.

Eat Well…Shel Zolkewich

Shel Zolkewich in a canola field | www.canolarecipes.caShel writes about the outdoors, travel and food when she’s not playing outside, on the road or eating at www.shelzolkewich.com.

Her adventures have included a trip to the tundra to serve as a cook at a caribou hunting camp and making a long-overdue journey to Ukraine with her dad Merv.

An avid angler and hunter and writes the hunting column in the Winnipeg Free Press (Winnipeg, Canada).

Shel’s written for Up! Magazine, Going Places, Canadian Gardening, Travel Manitoba, Outdoor Canada, Western Living, The National Post, West Magazine, Winnipeg Free Press, The Globe & Mail, EnRoute and various Websites.

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