Chestermere chef, Korae Nottveit, showcased her talents at the WorldSkills Competition 2022 Special Edition in Lucerne Switzerland, bringing home a gold medal in cooking.
The WorldSkills Competition includes more than 60 skill areas, with competitors who qualified during the 2022 Skills National Competition.
Over four days, Nottveit produced a fried potato, fresh brioche, and chicken Kiev.
Nottveit’s last day was a skills test, as the judges wanted to see if she could whip a meringue by hand, make pasta dough by hand, and make hollandaise sauce in a certain amount of time.
“Each day was timed. I had four and a half hours to complete everything I needed to complete including a half hour set up and a half hour clean down,” Nottveit said.
To prepare for the competition, Nottveit focused on planning the menu, organizing her timeline, how she would organize all the food products, and then practiced any chance she got.
“I knew I was going to Worlds about fourth months before, and in that time period to practice for it, every time I was at work and had to do precision cuts or butcher a protein down, I treated it like I was in competition and was being judged on it,” Nottveit said.
Although Nottveit was prepared for the competition, she did run into unexpected challenges while competing, such as dealing with a new food product, plating, and doing fine work.
“When you’re doing super fine work or you start plating your plate, the judges will all congregate and start watching you at that time. I can get really nervous and start shaking so bad I can’t put the food onto the plate,” Nottveit said. “I needed extreme mental focus just to control that shaking and make sure I got done what needed to be done.”
Going forward, Nottveit is working to improve herself at work and find new opportunities that allow her to grow and learn as a chef.
“I want people to see my story and realize that I’ve taken every single opportunity that has been presented my way, whether it was taking that next job, or staying a little bit late with my chef at work to work on a project or a new menu item,” Nottveit said. “That’s gotten me to where I am today, the attitude of saying ‘Yes’ and putting my head down and going for it.”
Cooking first began as a hobby for Nottveit, but it quickly evolved into a career path, when she would cook for her friends and family.
“I saw how happy they were, and thought it was a great feeling because I made them all really happy, and that’s when it formed into more of a career path for me,” Nottveit said.
Without the ongoing support of SAIT instructor and coach Michael Dekker, Nottveit wouldn’t be where she is today.
“Coach Dekker has been working with me for four years and got me started on this whole thing,” Nottveit said. “I wouldn’t be where I am without him.”