She may not be an Iron Chef, nor does she work in Hell’s Kitchen, but Salmon Arm’s Jenna Angle cemented her status as a rising star in culinary circles with a silver medal win at the Hans Bueschkens Young Chefs Americas competition in Las Vegas.
Angle, who qualified for the event by winning Canada’s Junior Chef of the Year, put her cooking skills to the test against four other countries from North and South America including the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile.
As part of the competition, contestants were required to prepare and present a three-course meal for four people within a four-hour time limit. There were also mandatory ingredients for the contestants to use including Sterling halibut, Scottish salmon, Fonterra cooking cream, butter and parmesan cheese, Kobe striploin steak and wasabi paste. The dessert had to incorporate a dark chocolate and the flavour of a Dilmah tea.
Angle’s first course included pan-seared halibut, Scottish salmon basil ravioli, Langoustine Fonterra bisque with wasabi lemon foam and tomato jam.
The main course was a brown-buttered Kobe steak with truffle braised beef cheek and Parmesan tartlet, sautéed chanterelle mushrooms, herb sausage and pickled beets served with a mustard jus.
Dessert included a chocolate ganache, bergamot vanilla strusel, hazelnut feuillitine, mango sorbet and Earl Grey Tea syrup.
“I have been competing in junior culinary competitions for the last three years, it takes a lot of practising. A lot. But I love it, competitions push me to be at my best and the chance to train with and meet amazing chefs,” says Angle. “I felt quite a bit of pressure to not only represent Canada, but to represent B.C., the Okanagan Valley, my home. Fortunately for me, I have had so much support which I am very grateful for. But the person who puts the most pressure on me, is myself.”
Angle first got her interest in professional cooking at Salmon Arm Secondary, where she took the culinary arts program taught by Alex Varga. She then continued to Thompson Rivers University’s culinary program, followed by additional training at Okanagan College.
She also credits tremendous support from her employer, the Local Lounge Grille in Summerland and its head chef Lee Humphries, her mentor chef Bernard Casavant, who attended the competition with her, as well as the Okanagan Chefs Association and Canadian Culinary Federation.
Angle now lives in Penticton with her husband, who is the Chef de Cuisine at Hillside Winery.
“He’s the reason I stay sane though all of it,” she says.