From farm to fork: The “great amazing” duck race returns

It’s not a race of ducks, but a race to cook it. Competitors are hoping to not look like quacks in the process.

On April 2 from 7:30am to 5pm, The Great Amazing Duck Race, run by King Cole Ducks’ family-owned and -operated duck farm, will enter its sixth year, inviting culinary students to participate in its farm to fork recipe competition.

Every year, second year students from Ontario colleges—including George Brown, Humber and Algonquin, to name a few—apply by submitting teams of two with a recipe for a duck appetizer and entrée for a chance to enter the duck cooking competition.

Ten final teams come to the farm on Warden Ave. to stay overnight. They are woken up at the crack of dawn where their egg-collecting race begins at the breeder operation. The students are then brought to the processing plant, where their knife skills are tested on how to cut duck breast in ways typically used in the restaurant trade.

Staff judge them on the quality of their cutting, as well as their speed and timeliness. Then the students are driven to the subway to go to Toronto’s Union Station, where a footrace to St. Lawrence Market, a hot spot for high-end ingredients, takes over.

After shopping for ingredients, participants race to George Brown College where the recipe and cooking portion starts. Students are judged by a variety of celebrity judges, including food editors and well-known chefs, and are graded on a wide variety of components including taste, appearance of food, and the items they add into their dish. The winners are awarded cash prizes for first, second and third place. All participants, however, are awarded Great Amazing Duck Race chef pants – a much sought after item at culinary schools only given to race participants.

“How can we connect with future chefs and be supportive of students in culinary programs? By sharing our farm to fork story to appreciate the connection between farmers and chefs,” said Patricia Thompson, the sales and marketing director at King Cole Ducks. “The students have been really enthusiastic, especially when they learn about farming aspects that tie dearly into their hearts. They learn that how you farm is important to the food you serve and is also important to your guests.”

The public is invited to watch the final cooking portion at the George Brown College glass labs, and sample duck products at the end celebration.

Agenda details will be shared at

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