Neda Jandaghi, pastry student from Pearson School of Culinary Arts won the bronze medal at the Provincial Vocational Olympics held on May 3 and 4 at Place Bonaventure. Neda and her coaches worked for months to prepare for the competition. Her dedication and focus were obvious to spectators. Kara Woods, Assistant Centre Director at PACC Career Centre said “Neda’s commitment, work ethic, passion for pastry, and her smile won the hearts of many spectators this week.”
Neda immigrated to Canada three years ago. A home cook with a passion for pastry, she had previously taken some pastry classes in Iran. Neda decided to enroll in the Pastry program at Pearson School of Culinary Arts (PSCA), which is located at PACC Career Centre. Her goal is to combine Iranian and French pastries to produce some exciting and tasty new creations. Neda’s teachers, coaches and family came out to cheer her on as she competed in this prestigious event.
Neda’s coach, Vedrana Gregov, has been teaching at PSCA for six years. Like Neda, Vedrana is also passionate about pastry! This was Vedrana’s first experience coaching a student to go the Vocational Olympics. She enjoys the challenge of coaching because it allows both coach and student to use their imagination and creativity to reach new heights. Vedrana’s goal was to challenge herself and Neda to see how far they could go. She was thrilled with Neda’s bronze medal.
Along with Neda, Jingai Xu from Verdun Adult and Career Centre, and Ahmed Asif Arifi from Pearson Electrotechnology Centre represented Lester B Pearson School Board in the competition. As with the Pastry, competition was also fierce for Jingai and Ahmed. Although neither one took home a medal, their coaches were very pleased with their work leading up to and on the day of the competition itself.
Competing in the Vocational Olympics is not for the faint of heart. It takes months of practice, lots of focus, and stamina. The competition itself last two days. During these two days, over 15,000 visitors watched competitors as they worked. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the atmosphere was electric. To add to the stress of competition, it was noisy and temperatures were quite warm. To certain events, such as pastry, temperature and humidity play a big role in the end product. Maintaining your composure is a must. It’s very easy to get distracted. All three of our competitors demonstrated not only a very high skill level, but also poise and professionalism.
This was the 15th edition of the Quebec Vocational Olympics. Over 300 competitors participated in the event, which covered competitions in 38 trades. Of those who received medals, 44 will attend the Canadian Skills competition being held in Edmonton in June 2018.
Video summary of 15th Quebec Vocational Olympics: