Sunday, 20 April 2014, 7:27 pm

Beer team wins fifth Caps, Corks and Forks

From left: Matt Soos, Hannah Lee, Asuka Nogami, Steve Herold, Michael Smith, Drew Simon and Phil Craig with the Caps, Corks and Forks trophy. PHOTO BY NICK FEARNSBy NICK FEARNS
Staff Writer
Beer prevailed over wine for just the second time in Caps, Corks and Forks’ history, thanks in part to a Bolshevik Bastard. It wasn’t a Russian communist who helped the beer team, but instead a Russian Imperial Stout by Oakville’s Nickel Brook Brewery.
Caps, Corks and Forks is an event that brings together students from culinary, brewmaster and viticulture.
 Culinary students in teams of two each create one of six courses that are then paired with an Ontario wine or beer.
“It’s a great example of the power of applied learning,” says College President Dan Patterson. “Students from the Culinary, Brewmaster and Viticulture programs are coming together to create a great event and showcase their skills.”
The sold-out event took place in Benchmark Restaurant at the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus.
Craig Youdale, acting dean of the Canadian Food and Wine Institute, kicked the event off by explain a little bit of the events history.
Caps, Corks and Forks was started two years ago to “bring the passion and battle” to the students.
Youdale then introduced the master of ceremonies, Chef Michael Smith. Youdale says Smith has “done an amazing job promoting Canadian food and Canadian chefs.
Smith, the host of Chef Michael’s Kitchen, Chef Abroad, Chef at Home and Chef at Large, called Caps, Corks and Forks “one heck of an event.”
“This is the best cooking school in Canada,” says Smith adding that the college was “catching attention of folks in the hospitality field.”
Smith says he had visited Niagara College before and was impressed.
“You have here one of the best hospitality schools in Canada.”
“I think you do. Your foods program, your hospitality program, your beer program, the wine program, the location, the physical plant, your curriculum, your facility, it all adds up to one hell of a very impressive school.”
From left: Norah Langdon, Spencer Mayer, Gabriella Yangyi Guo, Christian Scagnetti, Amanda Levy and Derek Beirnes of the Caps, Corks and Forks Wine Team. PHOTOS BY NICK FEARNSThe judges, the many ticket-holders, were told that following the end of each course, a vote would be taken by tossing a cork or bottle cap into a bucket. A cork represented a vote for the wine pairing and a cap for the beer pairing.
The winner of each round would also be announced by the playing of that team’s song. The wine team’s song was Red, Red Wine by UB40 and the beer team’s was Any Way You Want It by Journey.
Ontario wines and beers were well represented in their categories.
Kevin Somerville, a part-time instructor in the Brewmaster program and brewmaster at Oast House Brewers in Niagara-on-the-Lake, had one of the beers he brewed, the Oast House Biere de Garde, featured with the night’s fifth course.
Somerville described the beer as having a “biscuit-like flavour” with “hints of caramalised sugar and a little bit of cherry.”
HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler made an appearance at the event tweeting “at Caps, Corks and forks @Niagara_College with @ChefMichaelSmth – amazing event.”
When it came down to the final round the flannel-shirt-wearing beer team’s Bolshevik Bastard defeated the red-vested wine team’s Southbrook Vineyard’s Whimsy! Anniversary VAQ to give a final score of four courses to two courses in the beer team’s favour. 
“We’re very pleased. The beers were very well suited to the meals we had,” says Steve Herold, a member of the beer team. “The world of beer is very vast and people should explore the variety of beer available.”
Fellow team member Matt Soos says, “The most powerful pairing of the night was the Bolshevik Bastard.”
The beer team, elated at their victory, says they were going to celebrate the win with pizza and beer.
The sixth Caps, Corks and Forks event will be held on Feb. 22, 2014. Tickets are available by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 905-641-2252 ext. 4619.

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