Chefs from the University of Guelph have been recognized on the international stage, bringing home silver and gold prizes from two recent culinary competitions.

Birch syrup cured Arctic char, pickled ramp salad, wild rice granola, duck egg remoulade

Dem Neumann and Colin Greenidge won silver medals at the Chef Culinary Conference hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The competition, sanctioned by the American Culinary Federation, saw chefs compete in a “black box-style” event in which they were provided with a set of ingredients and limited time to prepare a dish.

They dazzled the judges with a menu of crispy crab and garden slaw with burnt orange dressing, stuffed quail with shallots, sage and a cranberry bean cassoulet and finished with peaches and cream crumble.

More than 400 participants from culinary leadership and university dining programs around the globe gathered for a week of action, learning, networking and culinary excellence.

“These remarkable accomplishments reflect the U of G team’s ability to combine technical expertise with creativity,” said U of G executive chef Vijay Nair.

Nair, along with Brooke Gregoire, Andrew Bilyk and Jason Hill, brought home top prizes from the Canadian College and University Food Services Association national conference in Kingston, Ont.

The team secured first place in four categories, including best dessert, judge’s choice, student’s choice and popular choice.

Beef cheek, corn puree, honey chili root vegetables

For this “black box-style” event, each team had a preview of the ingredients the evening before they were required to submit a menu of their creation to chef judges Christa Guenther, Rick Secko and Richard Hendy.

U of G chefs created an appetizer of birch syrup Arctic char, pickled ramps and asparagus salad, and wild rice granola with a duck egg remoulade. The main course was a poblano braised beef cheek, corn puree and honey chili roasted vegetables. Dessert was miso chocolate cremeaux, coffee ice cream, matcha cake and yuzu Saskatoon berry puree.

Not only was the menu presented to the judges, but it was also dinner for the 200 conference attendees.

“This was an outstanding performance from both U of G teams,” Nair said. “The accolades were particularly meaningful as they reflect the appreciation and admiration of their fellow peers and students.”

The food provided on campus by U of G Hospitality Services is regularly ranked as the best in Canada.


Chef Vijay Nair