Cooking up a success story

She dazzled the taste buds of chefs and judges straight across the country.

Top chef: Salmon Arm’s Jenna Angle will be competing with some of the best junior chefs from North and South America.

Top chef: Salmon Arm’s Jenna Angle will be competing with some of the best junior chefs from North and South America.

She dazzled the taste buds of chefs and judges straight across the country. Now this hometown girl is crossing borders and taking on the Americas.

Jenna Angle will be heading to Las Vegas, a city known for its five-star restaurants and world-renowned chefs, to represent Canada in the Hans Buschkens Americas culinary competition in July 2013.

Angle has been cooking and competing, since she was a high school student as Salmon Arm Secondary.

Her love of cooking stemmed from her family, who regularly host holiday cook-offs and exchange large baskets of delectable goodies .

While no other family member has pursued a career as a chef, Angle’s inherited passion for the culinary arts had her diving in head first.

She took part in her first competition while still in high school, winning a regional competition before heading to the provincials.

Angle graduated from SAS in 2007 and continued to take on the culinary arts program at Thompson Rivers University. She finished off her culinary education in Dec 2011 at Okanagan College.

Angle has since worked in a number of Okanagan restaurants under many of the best chefs in the area.

This wasn’t Angle’s first time competing at this level of competition. Last year she had made her way to the provincials but placed second, which kept her from continuing on to the national competition.

The regionals, as well as the provincials, are what is known as black-box competitions, where competitors enter not knowing what ingredients they will be cooking with.

“You want your menu to show technique. You want to get in as many different textures and flavors and colors as possible,” says Angle.

Angle’s hard work and skills paid off, after placing first in the provincials she advanced to the national competition, which took place earlier this month in Nova Scotia.

The nationals are not black-box but instead require chefs to plan a three-course meal for a party of eight.

If the meal does not come out exactly as it is presented, the chef is deducted points.

Her elaborate menu,  including pan-seared scallops, pork tenderloin roulade and a citrus-infused, marscapone souffle, earned her first place.

Angle admits she spends the days before, trying to keep her nerves in check but once she is competing everything is fine.

“It is like a normal day and I am just pushing through another table of eight,” says Angle.

If Angle wins the Americas competition, she will be off to Norway to compete in the International competition later next year.