June 2, 2023


Instead of competing against the region’s most renowned chefs, Conestoga College culinary students teamed up with them and attempted to “smoke” the other teams in the third annual Iron Chef competition.

The event, which was held on Jan. 24 at Bingemans’ Marshall Hall, featured teams fighting it out in hopes of winning the votes of celebrity judges.

The competing culinary students did not find out who they were assisting until the day before the competition.

Chef Philippe Saraiva, co-ordinator of the culinary arts program at Conestoga’s Waterloo campus, said the competition allowed the students to experience a real life and sometimes stressful kitchen.

“We have some students come into the competition who have never been in the industry before … Some of them find their future employment and employer based on the interaction that happens during Iron Chef,” he said.

In the same manner as the Iron Chef TV show, there is one ingredient that must be used by all teams. The not-so-secret ingredient was duck.

“Duck was my suggestion this year because it is an awesome product and most people do not cook it at home.

Sometimes it is served at a restaurant … but it is not very popular, so I thought it would be an awesome challenge for everybody,” Chef Saraiva said.

All of the restaurants that competed in Iron Chef were local businesses and well respected within the culinary community.

Some of the restaurants were BlackShop, Beer Town, Borealis, del Dente and Wildcraft.

The restaurants’ chefs volunteer to compete solely to give back to the culinary arts program.

All of the proceeds from the event went toward awards and bursaries for culinary arts students.

For full coverage including who won the competition, see the Feb. 10 edition of Spoke and a video at Spoke Online.

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