Ara students take away prizes at Salon Culinaire

News News & events

23 May 2017

More than 80 cookery students, trainee chefs and people in the hospitality industry gave their best at the Southern Lights Salon Culinaire competition last weekend. It was Ara Institute of Canterbury student Joelle Snook who impressed the judges and took away the Trainee Chef of the year.

Joelle only decided one week in advance to participate, and isn’t regretting that decision. It is the second time she has won Salon Culinaire Trainee Chef of the year. In July she goes to Auckland to compete in the National Trainee Chef of the Year competition at the New Zealand Hospitality Championships.

 student cooking kitchen

Students working under pressure at Salon Culinaire.

Salon Culinaire is an annual competition, organised by Ara, Otago Polytechnic Cromwell and the Southern Institute of Technology for cookery students, trainee chefs and people in the hospitality industry to test their skills against each other.

“The competition is divided into different kitchen and restaurant classes and categories, including a live component where entrants prepare and present a dish, and a static component, including cold desserts and gateau’s which were prepared in advance,” Salon Director and Ara Cookery tutor Steve Le Corre says.

Ara student Torryn William won the Trainee Waiter of the year.

This year was the 19th edition and was hosted by Ara at the Timaru Campus.

Ara Institute of Canterbury winners:


  • Lyrza Denice Marayag (Decorated Gateau: open)
  • Cassandra White (Celebration Cake: open)
  • Joelle Snook (Cold dessert: open + HPC – Main course (Training)  + Salmon: training)
  • JingJing Xu (Soup: Training)


  • Christina Gibson (Decorated Gateau: open)
  • Mukesh Minhas (Bread Selection: open)
  • Amandeep Singh Sidhu (Bread Selection: open)
  • Mandeep Kaur  (Bread Selection: open)
  • Iza Pitoc (Bread Selection: open)
  • Tyler Aroha Wilson (Soup: Training)
  • Yukiko Afitu (Soup: Training)
  • Yongjiateng Hou (Salmon: training)
  • Richard Roberts (Salmon: training)
  • Yongjiateng HOU (Beef dish (open)
  • Kayla Doull  Barista (Training and senior schools)
  • Torryn Williams (Classic Cocktails (training)
  • Georgia-Rose Newton (Classic Cocktails (training)
  • Tyler Aroha Wilson (Classic Cocktails (training)


  • Christina Gibson (Celebration Cake: Open)
  • Ryan Jones (HPC – Main course:Training)  
  • Haiwen Xu (Fruit Flan: Training)
  • Edsant Obillo (Chicken Dish open)
  • Jackson Mehlhopt (Chicken Dish open)
  • Ben Crean Barista (Training and senior schools)
  • Torryn Williams Barista (Training and senior schools + Restaurant service: training)

Overall winners:

Southern Lights Trainee Chef of the year (training) Winner: Joelle Snook

Southern Lights Trainee Waiter of the year (training) Winner: Torryn William

Read more: Timaru Herald story and video

Read more: Ara Cooking programmes