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The battle for the best baristas in both Eastern and Western Canada have been determined at the first-ever Western and Central Region Canadian Barista Championships.
The events celebrate the skills of the barista; the consummate artist of the espresso machine. In competition, baristi have 15 minutes to prepare four servings each of espresso, cappuccino and a signature drink of their own invention.
Stuart Ross of Bull Dog Coffee in Toronto took top spot at the first Central Region Canadian Barista Championship held at Classic Gourmet Coffee in Concord, ON, February 25, 2005. Stuart has been a co-owner of Bull Dog Coffee since it opened in December of 2003 on Granby Street in Toronto’s eclectic Church Street neighourhood. His winning signature drink was Triple Chocolate Maple Passion -- made with 3 different kinds of chocolate, maple syrup infused whip cream and a dash of chili, along with his espresso blend from Classic Gourmet Coffee.
This is the first time Eastern Canadians experienced the energy and excitement of a Barista Championship. Like The Iron Chef™, it has become a very popular spectator sport in the foodservice industry.
“This event was a battle between enthusiastic competitors,” says event organizer, Vida Radovanovic. “It provided the audience with an opportunity to learn about the high level of skill it takes to make a proper espresso beverage.”
Competitors are assessed by a panel of judges who have undergone rigorous training themselves. Judges compare both tasting and technical elements. They look at everything from how the competitors grind and press the coffee; extraction; cleanliness of the workstation; presentation; and taste. Finally, they evaluate the barista's performance, which often includes running commentary, a cool composure and even specially-selected background music.
In second place was Lisa McLaughlin of Zuccarini Importing in Toronto and third place went to Mark Krause of Espresso Post in Collingwood, ON. Among the other competitors were Phillip Hohol and Mathew Taylor of Balzac’s Coffee in Toronto, John Cupido of Fresh Start Coffee in Toronto, Brad Harder of Toronto and Phong Tran from Matter of Taste in Kitchener, ON.
On March 7 and 8, 2005 the Western Regional Canadian Barista Championship was witnessed by appreciative visitors to The Foodservice Expo held at BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, BC. This year’s winner was Zack (Zlatan) Lakic of Caffe Artigiano in Vancouver who competed against a pool of 10 talented baristi from across the West. Zack has been a barista for four years at Caffe Artigiano which operates five cafes in the Vancouver area. The café is home to two-time Canadian Champion and World Latte Art champion Sammy Piccolo. Zack is also known for his latte art talents winning first place at a latte art competition in Seattle while competing blindfolded. His signature drink was called Romanza and included bitter chocolate, sour cherries, vanilla whip cream and Black Cat Coffee espresso
Placing second in the Western regional was Lino Mastrangelo of Brazza Gelato & Coffee in North Vancouver, followed closely by Nicole Schulz of JJ Bean House of Coffee, Vancouver, BC.
The other competitors were Barrett Jones of Caffe Artigiano, Amanda-Rae Hergesheimer and James Neate of JJ Bean House of Coffee, David Crossman and Derek Lucas of Buon Amici’s Coffee from Victoria, BC, Nicholas Stepushyn of Union Club of BC from Victoria and Jimmy Oneschuk of Kitty Café in Saskatchewan.
The winner of each competition has secured a spot in the semi-final rounds at the Canadian National Barista Championship, June 13 & 14, 2005 at the Holiday Inn on King in Toronto to be held during the Canadian Coffee & Tea Expo 2005, Canada's largest trade show and educational forum for the coffee and tea industries. As the premier event in Canada, organizers are encouraging baristi from cafes and restaurants to sign up for the qualifying rounds of the National competition. Competition is open to both novices and seasoned operators alike, and some fabulous prizes are available to be won – including the winner’s trip to the 2006 World Barista Championship in Berne, Switzerland, courtesy of Krups, this year’s platinum sponsor of the Canadian National Barista Championship.
The regional competitions were organized by the Canadian Barista & Coffee Academy that also offered hands-on Barista Basics & Espresso Training and Advanced Barista Training & Latte Art and a Barista Jam in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The Academy will be offering more barista training classes on June 10, 2005 in Toronto.
The Canadian Barista Championship is endorsed by the Coffee Association of Canada and World Barista Championship (WBC). The 2005 Central Region Barista Championship was sponsored by Classic Gourmet Coffee, Zuccarini Importing/Elektra espresso machines and Gerhards Importers Canada/Monin Syrups. The Western Region Canadian Barista Championship was sponsored by Saeco, Oscars Syrups/Kerry Group Foodservice and Canterbury Coffee.
For further information visit www.canadianbaristachampionship.com; call 416-784-5210 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos available upon request.