VIU Culinary Student Wins Silver at Skills Nationals

VIU Culinary student and Skills Canada national silver medallist Kaya Peters (l) worked with Chef Joerg Gabler over many long days to prepare for the Skills Canada competition.

June 5, 2015 - 3:45pm

Vancouver Island University (VIU) Culinary student Kaya Peters was prepared and organized going into the Skills Canada national culinary competition, looking forward to the moment when the judges would dig into her trio of chocolate desserts.

Judging completed and silver medal awarded, Peters was pleased that her passion for cooking combined with months of training had paid off.

“My desserts worked out exactly as I planned them,” said Peters, who began the Culinary program just four months before her national silver win at the Skills Canada finale in Saskatoon May 27-30. She had earned the opportunity to advance to the national level after winning the gold medal in the provincial competition at the end of April.

Peters, who grew up on her family’s working farm in Grindrod, near Salmon Arm, also prepared a vegetarian appetizer plate that her coach and Culinary instructor Chef Joerg Gabler said really impressed the judges with its homemade soft lemon cheese and bold flavours.

“She had the right touch, the right feel for it,” said Gabler. “It was a big surprise for everybody with all the flavours that were created on the plate, because she didn’t follow the traditional route in a lot of her recipes.”

The appetizer featured her soft lemon cheese stuffed into fresh made then deep fried cannoli, finished with candied walnuts and deep fried celery leaves. Her trio of chocolate desserts would appeal to the most discerning chocophile, with its raspberry green tea semifreddo on a white chocolate brittle; a milk chocolate ganache between almond orange Florentine cookies; and a dark chocolate orange brandy mousse with black pepper.

Gabler said he worked with Peters through many 10-hour days to perfect her techniques and recipes, and observed the young woman excelling at every challenge he put before her.

“She is very determined and very creative and the more she struggles, the harder she works,” he said. “That’s been the driving force behind her success so far, and I think it will lead to a great career path down the road. We definitely expect to hear a lot about her in the future.”

Peters will head to Mission Hill Estate Winery in Kelowna for a co-op work experience over the summer, then return to complete the Culinary program in February 2016.

While she’d like to combine a cooking career with travel upon graduation, her long range plan could see her back home and closer to her roots.

“I’m very interested in local sustainable food, so eventually I’d like to work in a place that caters to local organic, sustainable produce,” she says.

Peters’ silver medal is the third Skills Canada national medal in three years, said Chef Debbie Shore, Culinary Arts program chair.

“We’re very proud to have had four secondary and post-secondary students in three consecutive years win gold at provincials, followed by three podium finishes at the Skills nationals.”


For more information on the Culinary Arts program at VIU, see

For more information on Skills Canada, see



Shari Bishop Bowes, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P:250.740.6443  C: 250.618.1535 E:

Tags: Student Success