A Gleneagle secondary cooking apprentice is off to the provincials after whipping up a gold medal dish at a regional skills competition last week.
Keagan Archer-Hastie, 17, took the top culinary arts prize for the central Lower Mainland for serving up the best pan-fried chicken with pan gravy, potato gnocchi and vegetable bouquetiere.
Besides the taste, Archer-Hastie was also judged on his timing, creativity, work habits and food presentation.
"It was really exciting to win," the Grade 12 student said from the teaching kitchen at his Coquitlam high school last Friday. "Now, I get the opportunity to go to the next level and represent my school. That's very cool and awesome.
"All my hard work is paying off."
A line cook at the Coquitlam Cactus Club, Archer-Hastie also works with Chef Frank Abbinante who is in charge of Gleneagle's ACE-IT program, which allows students to earn graduation credits and industry certification in professional culinary training; Abbinante has a side business called Chefs on the Run.
"He's one of the top apprentices I've had," said Abbinante, who has been at Gleneagle for six years, "and I have no doubt he'll do well next month."
But the competition heats up at the provincial level as Archer-Hastie will not only be asked to repeat his chicken dish but prepare an omelette florentine as well.
Gold winners of BC Skills Competition, to be held April 17 at the Tradex in Abbotsford, will advance to the 19th annual Skills Canada National Competition at BC Place from June 5 to 8 - an event that will see more than 500 secondary, post-secondary and apprenticeship students from across Canada compete in 40 trade and technology contests in an Olympic-style contest.
In 2011, Port Coquitlam's Miao Ling Lin, a hairstyling student at Vancouver Community College (VCC), was named a national silver medalist.
As for his post-secondary plans, Archer-Hastie said he'll finish his studies at VCC then work and travel around the world. "Eventually I want to own a restaurant. That's the dream," he said.