The Road to Gold: ACF Youth Team USA vs. Junior Culinary Team Canada

Huge congrats to ACF Culinary Youth Team USA and Junior Culinary Team Canada for their success in the Canada/USA Olympian Friendship Gala at Niagara College, Ontario, Canada, Jan. 6-10. Youth Team USA took home silver and Junior Team Canada garnered gold in the competition.

The two top youth culinary teams in North America participated in a friendly competition in order to practice techniques and prepare for the “culinary Olympics”, Oct. 25-29, in Erfurt, Germany.

“Our team members come from across the United States and we welcomed the opportunity to visit the home of Junior Culinary Team Canada,” said Kristyn Granahan, captain of ACF Culinary Youth Team USA. “Preparing for the ‘culinary Olympics’ with the Canadian team on their home turf and working alongside the team to prepare for a high-profile gala feast was a great way to begin our Olympic year.”

Both teams concluded the visit by preparing a six-course meal for a gala feast of champions held at the College’s NOTL Campus, Jan. 9. The sold-out dinner drew several dignitaries including U.S. ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman.


“It is a great source of pride for us to represent our country, and the fact that it opened the door for us to work alongside the top team from the United States on our own campus – in the spirit of learning and friendly competition – is a true honour,” said Ben Lillico, captain of Junior Culinary Team Canada. “Competition is a great way for us to enhance our skills and build on our learning experiences. We look forward to meeting them again in Germany.”

ACF Culinary Youth Team USA captain Kristyn Granahan accepts a welcome gift from Junior Culinary Team Canada captain Ben Lillico.

Each team was responsible for preparing alternate courses. The first, third and fifth courses were prepared by Youth Team USA and the second, fourth and sixth/dessert courses were made by Junior Team Canada. Both teams also prepared cold and hot hors d’oeuvres for the reception.

ACF Culinary Youth Team USA members competing, coached by Shawn Culp, CEC, MBA, were: Kristyn Granahan (captain), Jesus Olmedo, Tracy Morris, Megan Bamford, Lydia Ross and Marco Olivares.

View full photos from the event at Stafford DeCambra’s, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, ACF Youth Team USA manager, Facebook page here.

Help support ACF Culinary Team USA as they prepare to #GoForGold during the “culinary Olympics”at

Information for the event was sourced from Niagara College’s press release.