- Created on Wednesday, 22 January 2014 13:55
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By MICHELLE ALLENBERG
It won’t be the first time Junior Culinary Team Canada team member Rebekka Schmitt will be travelling to Germany.
Schmitt, 19, has been participating in culinary competitions since high school.
After being reviewed by chefs through Niagara College, she was chosen to be part of the Junior Culinary Team Canada to participate in the Culinary Olympics.
It will be held in Germany in 2016, but this won’t be the first time she has been to a European country. Born there, she moved to Canada 17 years ago. In the past, she stayed with her aunt and uncle for six months and has visited almost every year.
Being a German citizen on Team Canada has some obstacles. She needs to be Canadian and is working toward dual citizenship before the Culinary Olympics in 2016. The problem is that Germany does not allow dual citizenship. She must give the German government a “good” reason for having dual citizenship. It is a “pretty long process” involving paperwork. If it isn’t granted she can’t be part of the four core team members.
“This is a big decision.” She is unsure if she would relinquish her German citizenship because one day she would like to work in Europe and it would give her that opportunity.
“This work means a lot to me. I’m not going to give up so easy.”
Fellow teammate and friend Daniella Germond, 19, says Schmitt is “a very dedicated student,” and “every time I see her around campus she is either in class, working in the Central stores or working extracurricular activities.”
Besides cooking, she “loves to travel”, actually has a “passion” for it. In high school she went on an exchange to Argentina through the Rotary Youth Exchange. Living with a host family, she learned about the culture, something she likes to do. Talented as a cook, fluent in German, she can speak a bit of Spanish too.
She has “always loved cooking” as her family does a lot of it at home, especially German cuisine.
Avi Hollo, chef professor here, says she met Schmitt three years ago in a cooking competition. Hollo remarks that she has a “strong work ethic” and her best quality is attention to detail.
Tiramisu, an Italian dessert made with sponge cake and mascarpone cheese, tops Schmitt’s dessert favourites list, so it’s natural she chose to prepare it for the recent Niagara College Caps, Corks and Forks.
Of the 20 people who put their ideas for a dessert forward, hers was selected.
But, this Tiramisu had a unique twist: ladyfingers soaked in a Niagara College Stout beer with poured Niagara College ice wine syrup on the plate.
Germond says, “I think Rebekka’s cooking is very good,” noting that one of her own favourite dishes was Schmitt’s Caps, Corks and Forks Tiramisu.
Hollo says Schmitt is “attentive, enthusiastic, and always trying to improve herself” as a student.
As a team member, Schmitt acknowledges it’s a “once in a lifetime opportunity”, but “there is quite a bit of pressure.” There has been a higher expectation for her in class.
Hollo agrees. “She is looked upon and judged differently now, to a higher standard. Not only by her colleagues, but by her other professors.”
“I feel like I should know everything because I am on the team,” Schmitt explains.
Germond asserts Schmitt is great to work with and “she has an amazing energy in the kitchen” as she is always striving for the best.
Since joining the team Hollo has observed Schmitt has become more self-confident and “a better leader.”