USA Pears Names Grand Prize Winner in Canadian Culinary Student Recipe Competition
Vancouver, BC student Francie Rudolph earns top honors from panel of distinguished judges
Vancouver, BC, CANADA - April 23, 2012 - The national finals for the 2012 USA Pears “Pear Excellence” Canadian Culinary Student Recipe Competition were held on Tuesday, April 17, at The Art Institute of Vancouver. Five culinary students who were crowned winners from highly competitive regional competitions faced off before a panel of esteemed judges to determine the National Grand Prize winner.
The members of the final judging event’s prestigious judging panel were Juanita Ng (Food Editor, The Vancouver Sun), Gloria Macarenko (News Anchor, CBC Television), Margaret Chisolm (Executive Chef, Culinary Capers Catering and Special Events), Scott Jaegar (Owner and Executive Chef, The Pear Tree Restaurant), and Michael Mockler (Director of Produce Operations, Thrifty Foods).
The student competitors won an all-expenses-paid trip to Vancouver to compete in the national competition. First prize earned a cash award, and the remaining students each took home a smaller cash award to recognize their earning Regional titles. In addition, food writers and bloggers and Shaw TV were there to capture the action behind-the-scenes and before the judges, so the students earned media exposure as well. Twitter was used to dispatch play-by-play updates from @USApears live during the finals with the tag #PearExcellence.
And the winner is…
Francie Rudolph, a 24 year-old Culinary Arts student from The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Vancouver representing the British Columbia/Northwest Territories Region, won top honors from the judges with her Pear and Sweet Goat Cheese Filled Beignets. The judges noted that the recipe was innovative, delicious, and was a wonderful showcase for pears.
Rudolph’s worthy competitors were Jacob Duboy-Fitch, from Nova Scotia Community College – Kingstec Campus, representing the Maritimes region; Kyle MacGranachan, from Assiniboine Community College representing the Prairies region; Caroline Pascal, from LaSalle College, representing the Québec region; and Jordan Robinson, from George Brown College, representing the Ontario region.
Rudolph began brainstorming pear recipes after seeing a flyer for the competition posted at school. “At first I considered entering a pear tart, but I wanted to make something that wouldn’t be intimidating for home cooks… a pear recipe that would be comforting and fun to make and eat,” she says. The pear filling in her beignets combines Green Anjou pears with fresh ginger and other zesty ingredients mixed with locally made Carmelis goat cheese from the Okanagan Valley. Served with a Port Wine reduction and spiced nuts, one judge said the dish was “a gorgeous blend of flavors.”
A U.S. citizen, Rudolph earned her bachelor’s degree in Business with an emphasis in Hospitality and Tourism from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. Culinary Arts school came next. Being drawn to Vancouver, BC after admiring the city’s beautiful landscape on television while it was host city to the 2010 Winter Olympics, she applied to and was accepted into The Art Institute of Vancouver’s Culinary Arts Diploma program, and is expected to graduate Spring 2012.
When asked what her aspirations are, she says she wants to take every path that her culinary education will lay before her. “I want to explore all kinds of kitchens, do catering events, manage restaurants, and even own my own restaurant someday” And, after she had the opportunity to show her talents on Global TV to prepare her winning recipe live on Morning News the day after the competition, she said, “Maybe I’ll even do TV!”
Now in its fifth year of engaging Canadian culinary students nationwide with this annual pear recipe contest, USA Pears recognizes the country’s most talented students for their pear prowess. Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest said, “Canada is one of the top two export markets for Northwest-grown pears, and by educating young chefs nationwide about pears’ culinary versatility we are able to help increase pear consumption in restaurants.”
About Pear Bureau Northwest/USA Pears
The Pear Bureau Northwest is a nonprofit marketing organization established in 1931 to promote the fresh USA Pears grown in Washington and Oregon. The Bureau represents more than 1,600 growers who grow 84 percent of the nation’s fresh pear crop, and develops national and international markets for Northwest pear distribution. For more information, visit www.usapears.org, www.facebook.com/USApears, and follow @USApears on Twitter.
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Cristie Mather, Director of Communications
Pear Bureau Northwest prohibits discrimination in all of its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, political beliefs, or disability. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact the Pear Bureau at (503) 652-9720.