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Culinary grad hoping to plate a victory at prestigious international competition

August 15, 2019

A Winkler-born Red River College grad will represent Canada at a prestigious international culinary competition this fall.

Darnell Banman, who completed his Apprenticeship Cook training with a Red Seal designation in 2014, will face off against more than 20 chefs from around the world at the 2019 La Chaine des Rotisseurs International Young Chefs Competition, taking place in Calgary from Sept. 19–22.

Once there, he’ll be given four hours to create a four-course meal during a black box-style challenge in which chefs have to build menus using surprise ingredients. Banman (shown above, at centre) has some experience in this department, having won the national version of the same competition last October.

“It has a lot to do with telling a story — everything needs to make sense,” Banman told the Winnipeg Sun. “There needs to be colour, there needs to be texture and flavour. You don’t want to duplicate ingredients — you want everything to be different.”

Banman got his first taste of the culinary life while working as a dishwasher at a Winkler golf course. Shortly after moving to Winnipeg, he was hired at the St. Charles Country Club, where he trained under executive chef Takashi Murakami, a member of the Order of Canada and a 2011 recipient of an honorary diploma from RRC.

“The passion that people pour into the dishes — it becomes very addicting,” says Banman, who’s been training for next month’s event in the kitchen of the Winnipeg Squash Racquet Club, where he was recently hired as junior sous chef.

Now in its 43rd year, the Chaine des Rotisseurs competition was founded in Sweden to support and promote young chefs. The Calgary date marks only the second time the competition has taken place in Canada.

In addition to the gold medal, this year’s winner will receive a five-week culinary course in Paris and a set of professional cooking knives.

Photo credit: La Chaine des Rotisseurs International Young Chefs Competition