Montreal resident Lyssa Barrera wins 7th annual S.Pellegrino(TM) Almost Famous Chef(SM) Canada Regional Competition

    Exceptional culinary student earns a spot in the Finals for a chance to
    become the next culinary star

    MONTREAL, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Last night at Montreal's Institut de tourisme
et d'hôtellerie du Québec (ITHQ), student Lyssa Barrera rose above the rest in
a culinary challenge between some of the best student chefs in the country.
Assembled celebrity judges Laurent Prosper, executive chef of Verses; Jean Luc
Boulay, executive chef of Restaurant St-Amour; and Anne Yarymowich, executive
chef of Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario, awarded ITHQ student Lyssa
Barrera the coveted title and the rare chance to compete at the Finals
Competition to be held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in
Napa Valley, Calif., March 6-9, 2009.
    During the three-day Finals, Barrera will test her culinary prowess while
competing against the nine other regional winners from across North America to
win up to $20,000, the career opportunity of a lifetime and the priceless
title of the 2009 S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef.
    In a rigorous race against the clock with fierce competition from seven
fellow culinary students representing her alma mater along with Ecole
hôtelière de la Capitale, Le Cordon Bleu Paris - Ottawa Culinary Arts
Institute and The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of
Vancouver, Barrera wowed the judges with her innovative signature dish recipe,
Chestnut crusted Piglet on a bed of Quinoa and aged cheddar. After a gruelling
in-depth evaluation from the judging panel, Barrera was met with cheers and
applause as she was crowned the Canadian Regional winner during a lively
tasting reception for local media, chefs and invited guests.
    "I just want to thank S.Pellegrino for the opportunity to compete in the
Finals Competition in Napa," said Barrera. "Ultimately, I would love to have
my own cooking show on TV, but if I win I want take the opportunity to travel
and sample new foods and flavours from around the world."
    Lyssa Barrera will be flown to Napa for the Finals in March where she
will demonstrate her capabilities in three categories: the Mystery Basket,
Signature Dish and People's Choice. A panel of celebrity chefs and
distinguished media judges will be critiquing competitors on every meticulous
detail from taste, texture and aroma of the dish, to presentation, kitchen
skills and the ability to keep cool under pressure. 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: Polaris Public Relations Inc.: Ingrid Saumart,
(514) 490-0206 or or Shelley Pringle, (416) 597-1518,
(cell: (416) 275-9365) or

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