Culinary students deliver at the King Cole Amazing Duck Race

Braden Lawther, Kylie Piney, and Chef Steve Benns
Braden Lawther, Kylie Piney, and Chef Steve Benns

Congratulations to Fleming College students Braden Lawther and Kylie Piney, who earned 3rd Place this weekend in the King Cole Amazing Duck Race!

The farm-to-fork recipe competition for culinary students was hosted on Saturday, April 1 by King Cole Ducks Limited. The event began bright and early with students collecting eggs, showcasing knife skills in the farm, and then travelling to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto to shop for ingredients. Teams then arrived at their last stop, George Brown College, for the cook off. The goal was to create the best duck appetizer and entrée.

Braden and his teammate Kylie created duck sliders and a delicious duck trio for the competition, which earned them 3rd Place against other colleges in Ontario. They were judged on creativity, practicality, kitchen skills, appearance and flavor by a judging panel featuring Duff Lampard, Executive Chef at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre; Robert Mills, Executive Chef at The Fairmont Royal York; Jesse Mutch, Executive Chef at Chantecler; and Lucy Waverman, Editor of Food & Drink magazine.

“It was a great time, a great life experience to remember forever,” said Braden, a Chef Training student at Fleming College.

Kylie, who is in the Culinary Management program, agrees. “It was a very positive experience. We got to network with different chefs and different people from different places,” she said.

The biggest challenge for Kylie was remaining positive throughout the competition, as the team was not raking in points during the race portion of the challenge; whereas Braden was most concerned about time management, and ensuring the food was delivered on time and hot. “It was hard to stay positive during the race part, because we were coming in last and I felt like ‘we suck.’ But all that matters was the cooking,” said Kylie.

Kylie Piney and Braden Lawther during their practice round in Fleming's Kitchen Lab
Kylie Piney and Braden Lawther during their practice round in Fleming’s Kitchen Lab

And the team was well-prepared to deliver a delicious meal. On Thursday, March 30, Kylie and Braden worked with their professor, Chef Steve Benns, in the Sutherland Campus Kitchen Lab to practice their dishes. Staff were invited to sample the duck dishes and offer a critique.

“They did a really good job! They practiced at Fleming College before travelling to Toronto and went in with a good plan that helped them execute a good day at the competition,” said Chef Benns. “The culinary competition by King Cole Ducks is always a great event and our students had a really good time.”

Fanshawe College won 1st Place and the Canadian Food and Wine Institute (Niagara College) came in 2nd Place. Other competitors include Canadore College, Centennial College, Durham College, George Brown College, Georgian College, Humber College, and St. Clair College.

“Although Fleming didn’t win, it is a little bittersweet for me to see Fanshawe College win. Their mentor, Kyle Fee, is a Fleming graduate who was a student here during my first year of teaching, so I’m excited to see him succeed. Although the event is a competition, all of us enjoy the networking aspect of the King Cole Amazing Duck Race and it really is a great opportunity for everyone.”

Braden and Kylie are now busy gearing up for Skills Ontario in May, where they will compete in the Post-Secondary Competition. Good luck!