Taste Canada Cooks the Books – Team Pius

Last week we spoke about Frankfurters, today we speak of burgers! The burger was the recipe we were being tested on, all making the same thing, it was the details that mattered, the discipline to follow the recipe to the letter and the perfect execution of each task at hand.

Taste Canada Pius In-House competition

It was all our first culinary competition and definitely not our last! I personally had a blast, I was in my zone, taking my time on each task, checking my list twice to ensure that I followed the authors instruction even if I knew there were ways to better what I was making and it was difficult not to deviate, but that’s exactly what we were being measured on, our ability to follow.

Grill them sliders

I’ll interrupt the Taste Canada topic for a moment to bring you a decadent dish I plated the other day that might have been a little over the top of what our Chef asked for us… I heard get creative and I decided to go all out on my burger, no expense spared! There was a case of mangoes on their last days so I decided to make them the stars of the show, mango chutney as the sauce and mango wedges as a side. Someone had mentioned deep fried pickles… SO I said, why not roll my mango wedges in panko and coconut to then deep-fry in duck fat!? As I looked through the cream cheese and lone jalapeno spoke to me… They might as well have rolled off the shelf into my hands, a quick roast on the grill, sliced in half, cleaned out and stuffed with cheese and a slice of candied bacon. Where did that BACON come from? Bacon weave scraps from the cover that could cover the burger to come once it was done taking it’s bath in a steady 150F to reach it’s point where I’d shock it in an ice bath before sending it on the grill for it’s finishing touch… To me, it seemed normal, something I’d do at home to feed folks coming over… perhaps I shouldn’t be left to run freely when there is a walk in fridge in the area…

Sous VIde Burger

Back to Taste Canada! After sending in my plate for the tasting panel a little over a minute late I stepped out of my zone and started cleaning up while asking everyone how they thought they did, finding things I could have done better. You could tell everyone was on edge to find out the results of who would get to go represent the school at the Toronto Food and Wine show in September. We had our final interviews prior to leaving and stepped out feeling at ease yet with a huge discomfort… Why? Well… the judges scores would only be told to us the following week, too much time to think it over for some of us, I heard one of the candidates was having trouble sleeping due to all that stress!

Team Roastbusters

On the following week we were summoned to a classroom to find out who would get to go! Seeing as all the competitors performed so well, it could be anyone, there wasn’t anyone that had performed poorly enough to not consider competition. After being told that we all did great and that we should all be proud to have participated at this level we finally got to hear who Pius Culinary Institute would be sending to Cook the Books in Toronto! I was pleased to hear the top three were from the team that struts the Roastbusters patch on their shoulders!


Olivia was the first name to come out! This young lady is a talented cook and baker that is making her second appearance on this blog, the first being when there was still snow on the ground and she gracefully accepted to make an amazing cake!


Nick’s name was called and he came to attention! A second team Roastbusters member headed to the Toronto Food and Wine! This man is gonna make a fine asset wherever he ends up deciding to work, his work forming the team name and logo, his work on our two editions of Restaurant Day and other work at school has made this guy essential to me and imagine it will be the same at his future job!


The third member headed to Toronto is yours truly, El Buho! I made the top three and look forward to honing my skills for the competition, enjoying the experience of whats to come and making the most if it as I usually do for anything and everything. I’ve rambled long enough and will leave you with links to check out and a weekend trip to Toronto to schedule!

Olivia Instagram

Nick Instagram

Toronto FOOD and WINE Festival

Taste Canada Cooks the Books

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