Pear Excellence 2013

This year’s Pear Excellence Culinary Student Competition was another pear-fect success, with talented culinary students from across Canada showing off their flair with the pear for a panel of esteemed judges. Held in Toronto in April, the contest celebrated its sixth year. Culinary students Diego Beltran, Rebekah Roberts, Allegra Jimenez, Connie McKibbon, and Aaron Lackie faced off for the National Grand Prize, showcasing pears in dishes savory and sweet, from gluten-free chocolate chai cake to grilled flatbread. The judges chose Allegra’s “Pearfect Pearing” dish for the grand prize. The dish paired a savory cheesecake with poached Bosc pears, pear chips, and a candied beet salad for a plate the judges said was innovative, well-executed, and an exceptional blending of flavors.

All the regional finalists were applauded for their creativity and execution. Their dishes truly put USA Pears on a pedestal:

  • “The Pearfect Pearing,” Allegra Jimenez, National Grand Prize Winner, Regional Winner – Vancouver
  • “Pear and Black Thai Rice Cakes with Pear Sage Pesto,” Connie McKibbon, People’s Choice Winner, Regional Winner – Ontario
  • “Trout Ceviche with Pear Blini,” Diego Beltran, Regional Winner – Quebec
  • “Pear and Bison Grilled Flatbread,” Rebekah Roberts, Regional Winner – Prairies
  • “Pear Cake Delight,” Aaron Lackie, Regional Winner – Maritime

To view the winning recipes and photos of the finalists” culinary creations, click here.

(Parlez-vous francais? Cliquez ici.)

Pear Excellence

This Tuesday, the five regional finalists of our Canadian culinary student contest competed for the national grand prize – the Pear Excellence title and $5,000. The kitchen heated up as the finalists chopped, sautéed, peeled, roasted, and battered USA Pears and other ingredients to present their dishes before a panel of 8 esteemed culinary judges.

The judges praised all the contestants, calling Melissa Drutz’s Pear and Potato Nests “innovative” and Amy Bonchuk’s Sauteed Amaretto Pears with Cheddar Bothwell Cookies “outside the box” and a great cheese pairing.

In the end, the judges named Martha MacDonald the grand prize winner for her Savory Pear Appetizer plate, which included pear cranberry fennel coulis and pork, local blue cheese, and fried sage leaves in a roasted Green Anjou pear.

Greg MacIver of LaSalle College won the People’s Choice award for his Pear Crab Salad with Crab Mayo and Tempura Cambozola Pears.

View a list of all finalists—and the winning recipes—here.

Dishing Up Pear Excellence

regionalcontestwinnersandwinningdishes_sm1On Tuesday, the 2010 Pear Excellence regional finalists traveled to Vancouver, B.C. to prepare their pear dishes for a panel of judges and compete for the national title. Pear peelings flew and chef’s knives flashed as the five culinary students raced to demonstrate their mastery of the pear.

In the end, both the judges and the audience agreed: Stephanie Duong’s Spiced Pear Buckwheat Pancakes with Pear Caramel Sauce and Mascarpone Cream were a sweet success!

Stephanie took home the national grand prize of $5,000 and the People’s Choice Award—and her school, George Brown College, will receive $1,000. Congratulations, Stephanie!

Stephanie shares her recipe on Global TV.Representing Ontario, Stephanie competed against Kyle Mar, representing British Columbia; Cyril Roach, representing the Maritimes, Adam Cenaiko, from the Prairies region, and Norelle Donahue of Quebec.

Hungry for more? Click here to view photos of the winners, read the full press release, and check out the winning recipes.