2023 Chefs Gallery

We are very pleased to introduce our 2023 competitors! These talented and daring bakers will present their prized cookie creations for a loonie-a-taste at the annual Highlands School Culinary Arts Cook-Off & Auction fundraiser — Cookie-Off Edition on April 22, 2023!

Stay tuned for updates as we're still accepting registrations — visit our Competitors & Chefs page to sign up! 

Theresa Yaremchuk

Theresa Yaremchuk, Home BakerTheresa is currently a Preschool Teacher and a mother of two daughters, in grades 5 and 9. Her family moved to the Newton area in November 2020 and this is their second year at Highlands School. Theresa enjoys baking and does the majority of her baking at Christmas time to share with others. She is participating in the Cook-Off Cookie Edition for the 2nd year and is really looking forward to helping the school raise funds.

Doreen Prei

Chef Doreen PreiA Michelin-star trained, award-winning chef, Doreen has cooked in private restaurants and hotels in Germany, Ireland, and Canada. She completed her training in Berlin, Germany at First Floor Restaurant, before moving to Dublin where she cooked at the Four Seasons Hotel, Chapter One, and Gordon Ramsay at the Ritz Carlton. Finding her way to Edmonton, Alberta, Doreen was the restaurant chef at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, Chef de Cuisine and Executive Chef at Zinc Restaurant and Catering at the AGA, Chef of Culinary Development at the Edmonton Petroleum Club, and taught cooking classes at Get Cooking. Doreen was the opening Executive Chef at May at the Art Gallery of Alberta and Corporate Chef at Passionate Hospitality Group.

Chef Prei consulted at numerous restaurants in Canada. She successfully competed and won many competitions throughout Canada and the US. She recently won her episode on the Food Network show Fire Masters which is available to watch on Amazon Prime, Season 1, Episode 16. Currently, she holds a position as Director of Culinary Services at Revera The Churchill in Edmonton, Alberta. You can listen to her food column every Thursday at 4:40 pm on CBC Radio Active at 93.9 FM. She also specializes in food consulting, cooking with kids, and wine maker’s dinners.

Erica Box

Chef Erica Box, Red Balloon Sweets Co.Erica completed her culinary arts and pastry training at Vancouver's Northwest Culinary Academy. After working in a number of Vancouver hotspots, she spent a year working in Spain's prestigious two Michelin-star, Mugaritz.  Since her move to Edmonton in 2012 Erica has baked with Duchess Bakeshop, District Cafe, and Bakery, and is the owner of a small handmade caramel company called Red Balloon Sweets Co..

Currently an Instructor at Atelier by Duchess, Erica enjoys teaching a wide variety of hands-on baking classes 3 nights per week. She is also an enthusiastic home baker and enjoys spending her days off making sourdough, croissants, and treats for her family. Outside of teaching at Atelier, her two young kids keep her and her husband busy and happy. You might catch her running through the river valley, perusing the aisles of cookbooks at your local EPL Branch, or popping up a booth at a local market.

Maria Bubalo

Maria Bubalo, A Worthy Cookie

Creative baking has been an artistic outlet for Maria Bubalo for as long as she can remember. Growing up in Europe, Maria watched the women in her family make incredible sweets from scratch for every special occasion. Now that she has a family of her own, there is no shortage of special occasions needing equally special treats. Prior to opening the cookie studio, Maria spent 15 years in a corporate sales career where she grew her passion for facilitating workshops and customer service. Even though she traded her briefcase for an apron, helping corporate professionals with their promotional needs, still lies dear to her heart. Maria understands that it can be a challenge to source meaningful gifts and entertainment activities while navigating a complex business environment.

A Worthy Cookie is an online cookie studio specializing in bespoke personalized French macarons, sugar cookies, and cupcakes. They are pleased to support the YEG business community with desserts that feature logos and images for corporate and special events. The studio also offers mobile sugar cookie decorating workshops for groups looking for a creative, indoor team-building activity in the Edmonton region. Maria is proud to be a small business in the YEG area and is happy to support community projects that focus on improving the well-being and success of teenagers and children.

Vikram Redgaonkar

Vikram Redgaonkar, Highlands Golf Club

Vikram Redgaonkar is the Executive Chef at Highlands Golf Club which overlooks Edmonton's beautiful river valley. Previous to Highlands Golf Club, he was a Sous Chef and Chef de Partie at The Westin Edmonton, Head Chef at PURE Canadian Gaming, First Cook with Marriott at River Cree Resort, and a cook at Cafe de Ville. You may also recognize Chef Vikram as he's unlocked veteran competitor status with the Culinary Arts Cook-Off having competed annually since 2018.

Ashley Benson

Ashley Benson, Bloom Cookie Co.

The idea for Bloom grew from a warm house filled with friends and food. A desire to make food that included everyone, regardless of allergies or dietary restrictions.

In 2011, after a long career in the Travel industry, owner Ashley Benson decided to turn her beloved hobby of baking cookies into a small business that allowed her to stay home and raise her daughter. With so many of her friends and family having egg, dairy & nut allergies or vegan diets, Ashley recognized that there was a space in Edmonton for high quality, great tasting cookies free of common allergens. After a few different name options and market tests, Bloom Cookie Co. was born! Bloom began selling in farmers markets in and around Edmonton, and soon grew to offering wholesale options to numerous cafés around town. In 2018 Bloom opened their first storefront on 124th Street.

Lilli Thompson

Lilli Thompson, Great North Cookie Co.

Lilli Thompson is the Owner and Founder of Great North Cookie Co. She was born in the UK and moved to Canada in 2015 and now has two beautiful daughters. Before moving to Canada, she owned a successful cake business called "Lilli's Cakes" for five years - at just 15 years old she was running a five-star food hygiene rated business! She's very excited to finally re-launch her business in its own new version and is primarily selling gourmet soft cookies with the hopes of expansion in the near future. Baking and decorating have been a passion of Lilli's since early childhood — a fond memory of hers is frequently baking with her Gran. As she entered her teenage years, she grew a strong passion for fondant decorating. After finishing high school in the UK, Lilli immediately started an apprenticeship in the food industry and gained her certification to be a chef.

Great North Cookie Co. believes in the value of homemade, handcrafted quality baked goods. Not only do they warm the home, but their goods will definitely warm your heart. Your taste buds will be happy!