Amanda St. Pierre stirs a pot of chilli in the Spectrum Community School cafeteria. The Grade 12 culinary arts student won a Jan. 29 culinary arts competition in Vancouver.

Spectrum student chef wins top honours

Spectrum Community School student earns silver medal in the Junior Chef Challenge at the B.C. Food Service Expo’s Hot Competition Live

Pork loin, Tabasco sauce, half an hour and less than two metres of counter space.

Throw in some forethought and nerves of steel from 17-year-old chef Amanda St. Pierre and the result was a hazelnut crusted pork chop with vanilla yam purée, a seared potato ring, shredded brussels sprouts with pancetta, electric blackberry beurre blanc and chipotle tobasco sauce.

The gourmet creation – prepared Jan. 29 during the B.C. Food Service Expo’s Hot Competition Live at the Vancouver Convention Centre – earned the Spectrum Community School student a silver medal in the Junior Chef Challenge.

“I was fine until they said ‘set’ and then I was freaking out,” said St. Pierre, one of four Spectrum students participating in a pilot project offered through Camosun College. The course is taken online and offers a professional cooking apprenticeship. St. Pierre, also a third cook at Bear Mountain resort, was the only student from Greater Victoria at the Iron Chef-style challenge in Vancouver.

It was an intense situation and, with her high school teacher watching, the Grade 12 student finished 20 seconds under the allotted time.

“It was pretty inspiring,” said Spectrum culinary arts teacher Lauri Humeniuk, noting St. Pierre’s plate presentation and timing. “I was definitely proud of her. It’s a real pressure cooker and she did really well.”

Cafeteria manager Michelle Darling commends St. Pierre on her ability to stay focused – a trait many of her high school counterparts had yet to fully develop. “She gets it,” Darling said. “It’s really hard to find someone this young with this level of commitment.”

Culinary arts students at Spectrum receive a year of full-time experience between Grades 11 and 12 while preparing two meals a day and catering school and community events. Senior students such as St. Pierre have the opportunity to work toward a Professional Cook (PC) Level 1 certification and apply to post-secondary cooking programs as second-year students.

“It’s just something I’ve always enjoyed doing,” said St. Pierre, who has also helps her instructors teach younger students. “I have strong emotions and I cook to relieve stress.”

Spectrum’s culinary arts program has been a fixture at the school since 1979. It accepts between 12-18 students annually, including those from outside the school’s catchment area.

For more information, visit

Just Posted

Hey Amazon, the bid’s in the mail: Langford mayor

The City of Langford has officially submitted its bid to become the home of Amazon HQ2.

Art has become a lifestyle for local resident

Coast Collective’s latest exhibit celebrates all things late fall

Deadline looming for youth transitional housing

Province says funding for 10 units not available at this time

Greater Victoria Public Library announces new music streaming service

Victoria Conservatory of Music to perform at Langford Heritage Branch on Saturday

Rogue masseur arrested for sexual assault in Victoria

John Heintzelman, 65, is accused of assaulting a person at his former business, James Bay Massage

WATCH: Greater Victoria restaurant chain stepping up after employee struck by SUV

31-year-old Khushal Rana fighting for his life in Victoria hospital

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

Weekend hit list: Things to see and do in Greater Victoria

The Victoria Fall Home Expo returns, Rebels host the Cullen Cup, a gallery tour and more

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

West Shore Baha’is come together to join in world-wide celebrations

200th commemoration of the birth of Baha’u’llah this weekend

JOCK TALK: Canada’s national cycling team is at Bear Mountain this weekend

Your weekly round up of all things sports on the West Shore

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Salmon have arrived in Saanich

Two weeks ago, Dorothy Chambers, lead steward with Colquitz River fish fence,… Continue reading

Most Read