TORONTO — The winners of the first-ever Canadian national Young Chef Young Waiter contest (YCYW) were announced this week. Online contest entries ran from August through September and a judging panel of renowned hospitality personalities shortlisted six finalists for both categories, who participated in the grand finale of culinary and service challenges at Toronto’s Michelin award-winning restaurant, Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto.
The first-place winners move to the international stage, to compete in the World YCYW Finals on November 15 to 17, in Monaco.
Winners of the Young Waiter Young Chef competition included Paul McKeand, Langdon Hall Country House and Spa, Cambridge, (centre) in the waiter category and Haofeng (Tyler) Lin of the Hilton Toronto in the Chef category, far right. Dunja Zdralic, Langdon Hall Country House and Spa, Cambridge, far left finished in second place while Katherine Veilleux, Her Father’s Craft Ciderhouse and Kitchen, Toronto, second from left, finished third in the waiter category. Karly Ready, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Cambridge, third from right placed second in the chef’s category while Brendan Tran, Richmond Station, second from right placed third in the chef’s category.
The winners are:
- Paul Mckeand, Langdon Hall Country House and Spa, Cambridge, Ont.
- Dunja Zdralic, Langdon Hall Country House and Spa, Cambridge, Ont.
- Katherine Veilleux, Her Father’s Craft Ciderhouse and Kitchen, Toronto
- Haofeng (Tyler) Lin, Hilton Toronto
- Karly Ready, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Cambridge, Ont.
- Brendan Tran, Richmond Station (FT) Wynona (PT), Toronto
Made up of top figures from Canada’s hospitality sector and industry professionals with world-class skills, the expert judges included Richard Andino, corporate chef, Liberty Group; Daniele Corona, Michelin-star-awarded executive chef, Don Alfonso, Toronto; Nick Di Donato, president and CEO, Liberty Group; and Rosanna Caira, editor and publisher of Kostuch Media’s Foodservice and Hospitality and Hotelier magazines. The guest judges included: Nadia Di Donato, vice-president and creative director, Liberty Group; Scott Breard, Chairman, DiRōNA; Michael Lombardi, Ontario regional director, Les Clefs d’Or Canada; Jason Bangerter, executive chef, Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa; Shinan Govani, author; Maria Sosnovtseva, Ontario Regional Secretary, Les Clefs d’Or Canada. All are well-known advocates for new talent as well as staunch supporters of food culture and will help competitors advance their careers and achieve their goals.
Sponsors of the event included ChefWorks, Canada Produce, Profile Wine Group and Halpern Wine Enterprises. “We are thrilled to be title partner to host the inaugural Canadian contest, and are very proud of the contestants, and the grand winners,” says Nick Di Donato, president and CEO, Liberty Group. “Following a gruelling challenge of service and a tightly marked competition thanks to our esteemed judges, we can truly say the winners represent the best of Canada’s hospitality industry, and we are proud for them to now take the world stage.”