Congratulations (and best of luck!) to first-year Culinary Arts student Janine Sumner-Traverse, who’s on her way to Vancouver to prove her pears have the most flair.
Sumner-Traverse, 25, is one of five regional finalists chosen to compete in the Pear Excellence Culinary Student Competition, an annual student recipe contest hosted by the Pear Bureau Northwest. The event requires students to showcase the flavour and versatility of pears, with points awarded for creativity, mechanics, appearance, inspiration, and the inclusion of at least one Canadian-grown ingredient.
The grand prize winner receives US $2,500, with an additional $500 going to their school for supplies or scholarships. Sumner-Traverse has already beat out competitors in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, taking top honours in the Prairie region with her mouthwatering recipe for pork tenderloin with pear and blueberry stuffing, and a red wine poached pear spinach salad with candied walnuts and pistachio-crusted goat cheese.
A former resident of Lake St. Martin First Nation, Sumner-Traverse is one of more than 1,400 people displaced by flooding in her home community. After taking up a new residence in a Winnipeg hotel, she opted to enrol in RRC’s Culinary Arts program — having already received some early training while cooking bannock, boiled pudding and fruit cake alongside her father as a young girl.
The finals take place April 8 in Vancouver. If she wins, Sumner-Traverse plans to use the prize money to help pay for her first apartment (as well as a much-deserved shopping spree). Click here for more information on the competition.