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Local student cooks his way to provincials

A Cold Lake High School student is headed to the Skills Alberta provincial championships after cooking the best dish in the region.
Cold Lake High School student Austin Rehman-Stenz captured first place at the Skills Alberta zone culinary competition in Lac La Biche.
Cold Lake High School student Austin Rehman-Stenz captured first place at the Skills Alberta zone culinary competition in Lac La Biche.

A Cold Lake High School student is headed to the Skills Alberta provincial championships after cooking the best dish in the region.

Austin Rehman-Stenz beat out four competitors at the zone competition in Lac La Biche on March 22 to take home the region's top prize and earn his place among the top young cooks in the province.

“It was really exciting. I had a lot of fun,” said Rehman-Stenz. “I have always cooked around home and really enjoyed doing it.”

Rehman-Stenz had three hours to prepare mussels with provencal sauce, pork tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, sautéed spinach with carrots and potato dauphinoise.

“It was a little bit nerve racking. I was on a time limit and was trying to get all of this stuff done,” said Rehman-Stenz. “You have to be on task and focused.”

After successfully cooking and plating all of his food he took a quick second to look around and judge his competition. At first glance he didn't have his dish ranked above the rest.

“I felt pretty confident looking at the others. I knew it was good but I didn't think it was a first place dish,” said Rehman-Stenz. “I was surprised to hear it was.”

The judges had a different opinion of his dish and awarded it first place, giving Rehman-Stenz the chance to move on to the provincial cooking competition.

The Cold Lake Royal will be heading down to the Edmonton Expo Centre on May 11 and 12 to compete against some of the other top young cooks in Alberta. Although Rehman-Stenz won the zone championships, he isn't put any pressure on himself heading into provincials.

“I'm just going down there to learn where I am and where I need to be. I'm going to have fun and enjoy it,” said Rehman-Stenz. “(Being a cook) is what I want to do when I grow up. So this will be good to get the feeling of what it is going to be like being in a kitchen and how much pressure is going to be on me.”