Katrina Archibald deftly slices millimetre thin pear, fanning it into a garnish.
She drizzles vinegar into boiling water, “so the eggs don’t separate,” before whipping homemade hollandaise sauce, laying bacon and English muffins on the grill, and gently wafting eggs into bubbling water. The well-honed synchronicity of her movements are obvious, and a major reason the Stelly’s student’s edible art carved up the competition at Skills Canada B.C.’s Culinary Arts Competition in Abbotsford.
“I put it out there and everything came together,” Archibald said. “Through all my practice runs I had never gotten everything bang on at once. At the competition everything went really well… It was rewarding.”
With provincial gold around her neck, the 17-year-old looks forward to stepping up to the plate against some of the best up-and-coming chefs in the country at the nationals for a three-day competition in Edmonton, May 13-16.
“As a reward for me and for the people who commit to my teaching I definitely want to do well, be successful and make a statement,” Archibald said. “But I don’t have any expectations, [just] try to be confident and prepared.”
Despite her modesty, gold medals at the regional and provincial levels speak volumes about the first Stelly’s student to win the distinction, the culinary arts program at Stelly’s, and the E-pprentice program where she became the first to graduate.
“I am a bit of a science nerd so I enjoy the chemistry behind cooking and how things combine together and why you get the results you do,” she said. “But, you want that creativity and flow that artists have too.”
School District 63 apprenticeship coordinator Stu Rhodes follows her development closely and believes her skill set may soon separate her as top of the food chain, if it hasn’t already.
“Katrina is breaking ground, she is the first person and she got the top mark in the class,” Rhodes said. “Not only is she good at the theory, she is good at the technical part. She doesn’t just know about cooking food, [but] how to cook the food.”
The amazing resume is made more impressive by a stacked course load at school, where the Grade 12 student could potentially graduate with almost double the number of credits (152) she needs to graduate (80) when she completes school in June.
“She is first of all a delightful young lady … And incredibly responsible,” Rhodes said. “I hope she wins the nationals, she is a deserving person to win because of her commitment to her craft.”
Archibald’s commitment to academics and athletics, drizzled with a healthy dose of creativity in her edible art have proven to be a recipe for success. The 17-year-old loves coming to the kitchen and hopes to open her own catering company one day.
“I think it is something that doesn’t just come to you. [Cooking] is confused with something easy,” Archibald said. “You have to be a thinker and innovative … At the end I see it and I think it is really beautiful. That is why I want to do it. The final product is something I find really rewarding.”