Canadian culinary students get set to put their best dish forward at the 7th annual S.Pellegrino(TM) Almost Famous Chef(SM) Competition

    Top culinary students vie for a chance to win up to $20,000 and the
    career opportunity of a lifetime

    MONTREAL, Jan. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Some of the best culinary student chefs
across Canada and the U.S. are honing their skills to become the next rising
star of the culinary world. The S.Pellegrino(TM) Almost Famous Chef(SM)
Competition kicks off its 7th year in early January, with participation from
nearly 80 student chefs, representing approximately 40 of the best culinary
schools, competing in 10 regional competitions before food media,
distinguished guests and renowned chefs. In this premier culinary event,
celebrity chefs act both as mentors and judges, while students compete for up
to $20,000, a paid apprenticeship and the chance to become the next
S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef.
    The Canadian regional contest is on January 26th at Montreal's Institut
de tourisme et d'hôtellerie du Québec and features students from Ecole
hôtelière de la Capitale, Le Cordon Bleu Paris - Ottawa Culinary Arts
Institute and The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of
Vancouver. This year marks the third year that Canadians have been invited to
participate and showcase their talent on the international food stage.
    Ten regional winners will be flown to the Finals event taking place March
6-9, 2009, at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley,
Calif. They will compete in three categories: the Mystery Basket, Signature
Dish and People's Choice. The three days of competition are fierce, with a
panel of judges critiquing competitors on every meticulous detail from taste,
texture and aroma of the dish, to presentation, kitchen skills and the ability
to perform under pressure.
    Last year's Canadian regional winner, George Brown College culinary
student Bryan McMillan competed against the best of the best in Napa Valley
and said it was an experience of a lifetime. "To have the opportunity to
compete against some of the most talented student chefs in North America was
amazing," said McMillan. "It is an experience that really tested my abilities
in the kitchen and helped define me as a chef."
    Judges include some of the most prestigious chefs and esteemed members of
the media. Past judges have included celebrity chefs Tony Mantuano of
Spiaggia, Greg Cole of Celadon and Cole's Chop House, Food Network star Sara
Moulton and Bravo's Top Chef Season One winner and chef/owner of Perilla,
Harold Dieterle.
    The S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition is the first of its kind
to allow student chefs to experience their first heated culinary competition,
as well as the rare opportunity to work alongside some of the biggest names in
the culinary world.
    Kristianne Pak, winner of the 2008 Almost Famous Chef Competition,
reflects on the opportunities that became available to her as a result of her
title. "I came into the competition knowing that I was competing against the
best up-and-coming young chefs," she says. "This competition opened up so many
doors for me, and I am very thankful to S.Pellegrino for this experience."
    This year is sure to be the hottest yet, so get ready for these students
to go under the knife, while the judges prepare to see who can handle the heat
and who will be crowned the 2009 Almost Famous Chef.

    About the S.Pellegrino(TM) Almost Famous Chef(SM) Competition

    For centuries, Acqua Panna(R) Natural Spring Water and S.Pellegrino(R)
Sparkling Natural Mineral Water have complemented fine food, wine and the
dining occasion. In support of this passion of gastronomy and their commitment
to the culinary arts, The Almost Famous Chef Competition was founded in 2001
as a mentoring program that connects top culinary students with established
chefs and influential media. Since then, this program has helped to launch
hundreds of culinary careers and refined the skills of a new generation of
chefs. Through the Almost Famous Chef Competition, student chefs are given the
opportunity to gain unmatched experience, while cooking in some of the most
prestigious kitchens in the world. For more information, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Ingrid Saumart, Polaris Public Relations Inc.,
(514) 490-0206,

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