After baking for a big hotel, the AGO, a small bakery in France and another in Riverdale, Kent Lin returned for one morning to where it all began – the kitchen at Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute.
On March 11, Lin was among the many judges watching high school students sautée, bake, and weld their way to the top of the TDSB’s 25th tech skills contest.
“It helps to hone certain things,” said Lin, recalling the pastries he baked again and again before winning the city finals and then a silver at provincials back when he was a student at Danforth.
In another class, tech teacher and floristry judge Penelope Dunlop watched a trio of students rush to arrange a cascading wedding bouquet under time.
“We try to marry in-class work with the real world,” she said, noting that some of her students have already done paid floristry work before graduating.
Speaking over the whir of a paint-blending machine, auto-painting judge and BASF sales rep Kirk Edwards said students who stick with the trade have bright careers ahead.
“There’s lots of opportunity,” he said. “What shop owners are seeing now is the tradesmen they have are all ageing, and they have no young kids coming up.”
But after the March 11 contest, there are at least two Danforth students who may be on the way – Junaid Bhikha and Mimmasha Basher, who won gold and bronze in auto-painting, were among the 14 Danforth students to win medals. Bhikha, together with fellow Danforth gold medalists Corey Boudreault (Culinary Arts), Tristan Carreau (Job Skill Demonstration), Rudy Cho (Graphic Design) and Jordan Cardinelli (Auto Collision and Repair) will have a chance to compete at the Ontario Technological Skills contest in Waterloo this May.