Allegra Jimenez, a culinary student representing British Columbia, won the national finals for The 2013 USA Pears Pear Excellence Canadian Culinary Student Recipe Competition on April 16.

Four judges made up the panel:

Frank Spagnuolo, senior produce category director, Loblaw Cos. Ltd.

Rita DeMontis, lifestyle and food editor, The Toronto Sun;

David Keenan, chef instructor, Liason College Barrie; and

Mark McEwan, owner and executive chef of Fabbrica.

“At first I wanted to do a Pear Wellington, but my brain wouldn’t stop there. I kept thinking of new ideas, and I love the classic combination of pears, wine, and cheese. Once I settled on this recipe, I practiced every day for two weeks,” Jimenez said in a news release.

The student created an appetizer of poached red anjou pears with Canadian prosciutto and a blue cheesecake garnished with crisp bosc pear chips.

On the side, Jimenez served a candied beet salad with a pear-fig vinaigrette seasoned with Vancouver Island Co. maple-smoked rock salt. The judges said they enjoyed it from start to finish and ate every bite, according to the release.

As a grand prize winner, Jimenez took home a cash prize.