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The 2019 Canadian Culinary Championships in Pictures

Hello Kelowna Staff | February 3, 2019
The 2019 Canadian Culinary Championships in Pictures
Chef Irwin MacKinnon’s Black Box Competition dish: sweet potato yoghurt saffron pureé, crusted mushroom, roasted chestnut, spicy candied fruit. Photo: Hello Kelowna.

The Canadian culinary scene descended on Kelowna these past two days for The Canadian Culinary Championships, recognized as one of the most intense national chef competitions in the country. "This is the biggest and most serious national competition for Canadian chefs," National Culinary Advisor, and all-around big-time food guy, James Chatto said. "Victory is a career-changer", he added.

The sold out competition finished up late Saturday night, and when all was said and eaten, and with the judges' marks tabulated, on the podium stood Yannick LaSalle of Quebec's Restaurant Les Fougères crowned Canada's new top chef. Here's the competition in pictures.

This Year's Competitors


Mystery Wine Pairing Competition

This competition took place Friday night. Chefs were given a mystery bottle of wine and challenged to create a dish with local ingredients that best complemented the mysterious vintage (spoiler: it was Mission Hill's 2016 Cabernet Franc), in a set amount of time and with a set budget. The best dish was awarded the "People’s Choice Award" for food and wine pairing.

Jason Morris’ Mystery Wine dish: beets smoked over Okanagan Vines, local goat yogurt, candied organic walnuts, cranberries macerated in apple cider, walnut oil vinaigrette. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Chris Hill's braised pork belly, squid ink agnolotti with salted ling cod, smoked tomato and pepper puree, olive, lemon herb vinaigrette, fennel, celery and chayole. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Dave Bohati's seared monk fish tail, brown butter carrot, cardamon puree, hamhock mushroom “Arancini,” smoked Atlantic mussel fennel, lobster jus & fat roasted peanut. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Davina Moraiko’s bacon and beef liver pate, currant and mystery wine gelee, onion and toasted rye streusel, pickled shallots, beets and beet greens. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Elia Herrera's pork shoulder, almonds, pine nuts, apricot, plantain, raisins, prunes, spices, fresh herbs, sherry vinegar, brown sugar and compressed green apples. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Freezin's ragu with lamb shoulder, chuck flat, smoked tomato, bacon fat hollandaise, charred cabbage, eggplant, parsley oil, picked onion and crispy potato. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Irwin MacKinnon’s roasted Alberta beef striploin, barley risotto, cauliflower-parsnip puree, horseradish, golden beet, sweet peas, chimichurri, veal reduction and black cherry balsamic. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Katie Hayes' date glazed pork belly, roasted squash, mushroom bacon ragu, butter poached leeks and crispy parsnip chips. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Thomas Carey’s Char Siu pork shoulder, charred eggplant, snow pea leaves, minted pear, cherry veal sauce, rosehip and hibiscus cracker. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Yannick LaSalle’s hommage to BC mushrooms with pancetta and gremolata. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
The winner for this event's People's Choice Award, Chef Takashi Ito and his seared pork belly and gnocchi winter squash puree, black sesame tenkasu. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party

The Black Box Competition

This Saturday afternoon Iron Chef/Chopped style competition had chefs reaching into a black box containing a small array of diverse foods, and they had to produce and plate a spectacular dish for the national judges – all in one very short hour. The ingredients? Chestnuts, quinces, saffron, sweet potatoes, lion’s mane mushrooms, buckwheat groats, and yoghurt - the first time this competition has been meat free.

What's inside the box.
Chef Irwin MacKinnon’s sweet potato yoghurt saffron pureé, crusted mushroom, roasted chestnut, spicy candied fruit. Photo: Hello Kelowna
Chef Davina Moraiko’s pickled quince and saffron gastrique, yam and yoghurt, roasted chestnut, pod crumb, mushroom and oat cake. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Chris Hill’s veggie taco with fried sweet potato, chestnut and seed salsa, saffron and quince jam, jalapeno crema, stewed mushrooms. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Elia Herrera’s saffron risotto, roasted chestnuts, sweet potato glazed quince, roasted mushroom, fresh yoghurt, mint. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Jason Morris’ vegetable mille feuille, mushroom chutney, saffron broth. Photo: Hello Kelowna
Chef Takashi Ito’s Chinese mushroom and grain dumpling, yam and saffron quenelle, stone fruit chutney, chestnut yoghurt pureé. Photo: Hello Kelowna
Chef Yannick LaSalle’s sweet potato crusted with buckwheat, quince, lions mane, chestnut sofrito, saffron yoghurt being judged. Photo: Hello Kelowna
Chef Bohati's ravioli of saffron dough, yam purée with yoghurt, pickle fried mushroom, quince jam, pickled chestnut. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Katie Hayes' sweet potato purée, herb yoghurt, ravioli with chestnuts, fruit butter sauce and crunchy garnish. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Jesse Friesen’s saffron tortellini with fruit and yoghurt, grates chestnuts, sauce fungi and seed seasoned yam fries. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Thomas Carey’s brown butter with roasted lion mushroom + grain crust, pureé saffron and quince, lemon lime yoghurt, shaved chestnut salad, sauté sweet potato. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party

The Grand Finale

For Saturday night's final competition, chefs created their best dish for guests to sample, paired with a Canadian wine, beer or spirit from their regional beverage partner.

Chef Bohati's "Smoked Brant Lake AB Wagyu Beef Cheeks” with kabocha squash, Jerusalem artichoke, marrow and Saskatoon berry. Paired with Tantalus Wine's 2016 Pinot Noir. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Chris Hill's “After the Fire” featuring confit duck leg, wild boar sausage, aerated foie gras, parsnip, beetroot, morel, cabbage, sour cherry, birch syrup salsify bark, juniper jus, new growth flowers. Paired with Meyer Family Vineyard's 2017 Pinot Noir. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Elia Herrera's pork belly, mole negro, cazuela tamal, habanero pepita salsa and orange. Paired with Mirabel Wine's 2017 Rose of Pinot Noir. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Freezin's mousseline lobster, pickerel cheek, celery root, horseradish, shimeji, gnudi verde, bisque. Paired with Blue Mountain Winery's 2015 Gold Label Brut. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Davina Moraiko’s pork blood sausage with barley and lardo, fermented cabbage, apple, kale, pork crackling, 'no boats on sunday' cider hollandaise. Paired with Red Rooster Wine's 2016 Riesling. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Jason Morris’ “Mosaïque Canard de Région” avec ses petits légumes et son foie Mosaic duck region with small vegetables and liver. Paired with Ontario's Izumi GENCHU Nigori Sake Junmai. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Katie Hayes’ wild Newfoundland moose with Amherst Cove veg. Paired with Tawse Winery's 2015 Grower’s Blend Cabernet Franc. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Irwin MacKinnon’s certified island beef short rib, demi glace, Blue Dot Reserve carpaccio, lobster mousseline, lobster bisque, layered vegetable terrine, ADL cheddar and crispy potato. Paired with Four Winds Brewing Co's Featherweight IPA. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Takashi Ito’s sake poached spot prawn, seared scallop, soft boiled quail egg, shrimp okonomiyaki, octopus sheet, prawn head karaage and togarashi aioli. With Fraser Valley Junmai Nigori Renaissance Artisan Sake. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
Chef Thomas Carey’s poached Sober Island oyster with sunchoke soubise, braised oxtail and foie gras torchon. Paired with Benjamin Bridge 2017 Wild Ferment Cabernet Franc Rose. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party
The winner! Chef Yannick LaSalle’s fennel with sea buckthorn, eastern township duck magret «Le Rougié» and Quebec saffron. Paired with Meldville Wines' Chardonnay 2016 Barrel Select. Photo: Canada's Great Kitchen Party

When the night was all done, Les Fougères' Chef Yannick LaSalle prevailed over the 10 other top Canadian chefs during competitions. "I am so happy I just can’t stop smiling," the young chef at the Chelsea, Que. fine-dining restaurant said after his victory. "My team did a great job and I’m so honoured to be here."

In addition to the prestige of winning, LaSalle will receive a trip to West Africa or South America to visit a Cacao Barry chocolate plantation.

LaSalle’s winning dish was a small plate consisting of fennel with sea buckthorn, Eastern township duck magret “Le Rougié,” Quebec saffron. Saskatoon chef Christopher Hill came second and Calgary chef Dave Bohati came third in the culinary championships.

See last year's 2018 Canadian Culinary Championships in pictures.

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