|ST. PIUS X WINS AWARDS AT CUP OF NATIONS CULINARY COMPETITION|
MONTREAL, APRIL 4, 2001- Students and staff from the St. Pius X Vocational Centre in Ahuntsic (9955 Papineau) recently walked away with a handful of awards at the prestigious Cup of Nations Culinary Competition in Quebec City.
Chef Otto Daniels was recognized in the Professional Category and received the Gold Medal President’s Cup; St. Pius students captured four Gold and four Silver Awards in the Top School Category for cold food presentations; the school tied for first place in the hot food competition. St. Pius X also left the event with the distinction of being named the top culinary school in Quebec.
The St. Pius X Vocational Centre Culinary Institute is one of the many success stories emanating from the English Montreal School Board's (EMSB) Adult Education and Vocational Services program. The hands-on professional training is becoming increasingly popular in a job market which demands skilled workers. The Culinary Institute offers a specialized blend of training in contemporary, professional cooking and food service.
St. Pius X Academic Advisor Raz Crivello says that Chef Daniels and the 14 second-year students who entered the competition put in a gruelling month’s worth of work, the last two weeks of which were exceedingly long and intensive. For instance, the Hot Food Competition saw each team produce a complete menu consisting of a cold entrée, a main dish and dessert for 30 people. Preparation time was four hours and 45 minutes, including service.
The St. Pius X students were: Daniel Aldana Romero, Jeremy Charles, Kelly Dube, Douglas Gilletz, Christine Johnson, Pietro Laurieri, Patricia Leveilee, Adriano Materassi, Andree Perusse, Natalina Pintimalli, Rita Po, Maddalena Rainone, Stevan Venafro and David Watmore.
Over the years the general public has enjoyed the opportunity of sampling the St. Piux X Culinary Institute’s fine cuisine. Twice a week, the kitchen is open to the community, offering a full-course lunch in its restaurant for only $7. The meal includes an entree, soup or pasta, a main dish, dessert and coffee. It is prepared and served by the professional cooking students who are earning their Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS). The advanced students who are earning their Attestation of Vocational Specialization (AVS) began offering an evening meal as of Valentine's Day.
Choosing vocational training pays off for the students of this culinary school. Last year, St. Pius X had a 100 percent placement rate. Of the 45 graduating students in 1999-2000, each one found a job immediately.
To become a cooking student at St. Pius X, the prerequisites are minimal. One simply needs to have a Secondary school diploma or Secondary IV credits in English, French and Math. The program itself takes 1,350 hours to complete which is the equivalent of 10 months.
Becoming a world-class sous-chef doesn't cost much either. For $360, the aspiring chef's education is covered. That price includes tuition, supplies and textbook. A comparable education could cost up to $15,000 in a private facility. For many, the choice to study at St. Pius X is a life-changing one. "Many of our students are people who were dissatisfied with their professions," explains Centre Director Walter Ninzatti. "They see cooking as a second career, in which they can use their hands and get creative."
Michael J. Cohen