Sherwood Park, AB. — Students from across Elk Island Public Schools (EIPS) are ready to prove they’re not just a flash in the pan at the 11th annual High School Culinary Challenge (HSCC), a prestigious cooking competition for Edmonton-area culinary arts students in grades 10-12.

Three EIPS teams are competing in this year’s challenge—from Bev Facey Community High, Lamont High and Salisbury Composite High. Each team has spent countless hours training, mastering techniques and perfecting their recipes. Now, they’ll put all that hard work to the test as they go head to head with other teams across the region at the 2018 HSCC on February 10. Each three-member team will prepare a three-course meal—complete with a soup, entrée and dessert. The plates will then be evaluated by a panel of judges, made up of accomplished professional chefs, using seven marking criteria: sanitation, timing, temperature, organization, presentation, preparation and, of course, taste.

“It’s an incredible learning opportunity for students because every step is scrutinized—from the size of the carrots to how they organize their time,” says Herb Hess, the culinary arts teacher at Salisbury Composite High. “Our aim is to make all of our students workplace ready and this competition complements that goal. They’re mastering new techniques, speed, accuracy and even interpersonal skills. So, the learning curve is huge for our students who are competing in the challenge.”

Participating teams were chosen in the fall by the HSCC organizing committee, from applications submitted by teachers. On competition day, each team has four hours to prepare and plate a minestrone soup, stuffed pork tenderloin, spaetzle, glazed carrots batonnet and a pate sucrée lemon tart topped with raspberry sauce and a hard meringue garnish. The top three teams are then announced at the Canadian Culinary Federation’s High School Culinary Challenge Awards Dinner on March 12, 2018.

“It’s a challenging menu, and on top of that, teams have to be creative to stand out while also adhering to the allotted time frame,” says Jennifer Steele-Watts, the culinary arts teacher at Bev Facey Community High. “It’s remarkable to me how well the students have come together as one team—compromising, organizing their skills and persevering. It’s a true example of what life’s really like. It's also taken a lot of time, a lot of perfecting but we’re ready and I think the students will do really well.”

In addition to winning gold, silver and bronze, Grade 12 students who participate in the HSCC also have the opportunity to apply for a full scholarship to the three-year Cook Journeyman Apprenticeship program at NAIT. Up to three scholarships are awarded each year. Scholarship recipients are also announced at the HSCC awards dinner.


EIPS is one of Alberta’s largest school divisions, serving approximately 17,150 students in 42 schools. We are proud to be an integral part of our communities, including Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Vegreville, Strathcona and Lamont counties, and the western portion of the County of Minburn




For more information contact:
Laura McNabb, director, Communication Services, EIPS 780-417-8204 cell 780-405-4902