Korae Nottveit made history by winning the gold medal in culinary at the World Skills Competition! She became the first Albertan to win the gold medal for culinary, and just the second Canadian to do so.
While Nottveit's impressive win happened back in October 2022, she just recently had the chance to celebrate with her family and friends, as she currently works in a California hotel as a sous chef. At the celebration she was surprised also winning the Best of Nations Award for Canada.
The contest took place in Lucerne, Switzerland, and Nottveit said she was quite nervous, but found confidence in knowing she had the skills to belong on such a big stage.
"I was kind of freaking out, especially the first day. Just kind of getting into the groove of it because it's like everyone is so intense and the judges are walking around just watching you constantly."
"It was just a constant reminder to myself, like just talk to myself, like 'you know what you're doing, you've got this, you've trained, just calm down'."
Nottveit's skills were put to the test, as she was tasked with making a variety of dishes over the course of the four day long competition. On the first three days she made various dishes which included potato roasted in quail egg, a bread basket, Russian salad, chicken kiev, a vegetarian buffet, and a dessert which had to include chocolate, Bavarian cream, and cake. The fourth and final day was a skills test, where Nottveit didn't have to make dishes, but instead was judged by how quickly she could make meringue, and if she could make a Hollondaise sauce in under 10 minutes, among other skill tests.
"It was also how clean are you in the process? How's your hygiene? Are you labeling everything? Are you communicating with your dishwasher? With the judges? Everything like that."
It was a long contest that put both Nottveit's skills and mental fortitude to the test, so hearing that all her hard work paid off with a gold medal felt like a surreal moment to her.
"I started crying. I remember they called my name and everybody was cheering for the previous two competitors that went up for third and second place and I couldn't hear if they quite called it. But my coach just started screaming in the back, just cheering and I was like 'Oh my God, it was me,' so I went up and the entire time I'm like 'is this really happening? Did they call my name?'"
"It's just a moment of extreme joy and pride."
Nottveit currently works as a sous chef in California, and hopes to one day open a fine dining restaurant in Michigan, as she said there aren't too many nice restaurants there so she could be the first, and her fiancé is also from Michigan so it would be a great location to settle down. Before that, she plans travelling for different jobs to try and get as much experience and exposure to different cooking styles as she can.
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