2020 Culinary Challenge


CCUFSA Culinary Challenge ~ June 25th, 2020
Casesars Windsor ~ Hotel & Casino

To request your institution for consideration as a competing team for the Culinary Challenge contact:

Gord Cooledge
CCUFSA Culinary Liaison
e-mail: cooledgg@mcmaster.ca


Culinary Challenge ~ General Competition Rules & Regulations

(Full rules and regulations to be provided upon discussion)

Teams are required to prepare a three (3) course meal for approximately 200 guests, with a budget of $13.00 per guest based on the following criteria:

For the 1st course, teams will be required to prepare an appetizer course with a budget of 3.00 per plate.
For the 2nd course, teams will prepare a main course dish. The budget for this plate is $7.00 per plate.
For the 3rd course, teams will prepare a dessert course with a budget of $3.00 per plate.

Teams will be comprised of three (3) culinary team members who are responsible for preparing the food served by their team. Each team will have one (1) catering person who is responsible for designing and setting up the teams’ serving station. The catering person may assist in serving the meal but is restricted from doing any food preparation or cooking prior to service.

Teams are required to use at last one ingredient manufactured by Nestle Professional in the preparation of each of the courses.

Judging – Grand Prize

  • Teams will have a designated time slot of thirty (30) minutes to present their three-course meal to a panel of three (3) judges. Judging will take place approximately three hours prior to servicing the guests attending the Culinary Challenge event.
  • Teams will be scored on a twenty-five (25) point system by each judge, with 10 points for taste, 10 points for presentation and 5 points for Culinary Challenge theme representation.
  • The judge’s score will be based on their overall impression of the three courses presented to them by a team. The maximum number of points attainable is seventy-five (75).
  • The team who receives the highest combined number of points from the three judges will be awarded the Grand Prize and Gold Medal.
  • Teams have the option to use their own presentation plates when presenting their three courses to the panel of judges.
  • Teams will be supplied with the appropriate serving dishes to be used at their buffet stations.
  • Teams will be given a designated time to present their plates to the judges. Teams will be called back in front of the judges to receive feedback, after the judges have sampled and scored the teams’ three plates.

Peoples’ Choice Award

All guests attending the Culinary Challenge will have the opportunity to vote for the “Peoples’ Choice Award”. Each guest will be given a ballot to vote for a team they rate as having prepared the best overall meal. The “Peoples’ Choice Award” will be given to the team who receives the most votes.

Nestle Professional Award

The panel of judges will select the team they identify as having prepared the best dessert course. This team will receive the Nestle Professional Award.


2020 Judges Panel:

Chef Mark McEwan

The McEwan Group

Chef Mark McEwan began his career as the executive chef at Toronto’s upscale Sutton Place Hotel. From here, he opened the ground-breaking North 44 and McEwan Catering which set a new standard for Toronto’s culinary scene. Chef McEwan continued to push dining innovation with the launch of Bymark, ONE and Fabbrica which now has 3 unique locations. Inspired by global food halls, Chef McEwan opened McEwan’s Groceries which have 3 locations across Toronto. Chef McEwan then showcased his innovative approaches to Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian cuisine with Diwan at The Aga Khan Museum. Now, Chef McEwan mentors budding chefs in his kitchens, through his bestselling cookbooks and as head judge on Food Network’s hit series Top Chef.

Chef Rick Secko

Nestlé Professional

Chef Rick Secko has over 30 years of experience. He holds a Red Seal certification and has worked alongside seasoned Executive Chefs throughout his career. Rick started working in various kitchens at a very young age, these experiences drove his passion for cooking. Cara’s Flight Kitchen at the Toronto Airport was Rick’s first real job, washing pots and pans in the bakery section. From there he worked in casual dining restaurants including Lime Rickey’s in Mississauga, Pat & Mario’s at Toronto Airport.

This experience led Rick into the corporate at Prime Restaurants where he was responsible for opening new restaurants as the Culinary Lead. This led to becoming Corporate Chef for Casey’s Bar & Grill and Pat & Mario’s.

The next part of his journey led him to the role at one of the largest casual restaurant brands in Canada – East Side Mario’s. For six years Rick was the Brand Chef. Rick then moved on to Cara Operations where he was Culinary Manager for the Prime Restaurant Brand.

Before joining Nestlé Professional Canada as Customer Development Chef, Rick worked with the Product Innovation team creating lunch and dinner concepts for RBI/Tim Horton’s. Rick’s role now at Nestlé Professional allows him to continue working with foodservice teams across Canada supporting growth, innovation and alleviating problems throughout their operations using creative culinary solutions.

Chef Rick Secko’s creative know how and his hands on approach allows him to find products and culinary solutions that meet today and tomorrow’s consumer needs.

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