The Canadian culinary scene descended on Kelowna these past two days for The Canadian Culinary Championships (Gold Medal Plates), 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 BC's Alex Chen crowned Canada's new top chef. Here's the competition in pictures.
- Alex Chen, BC | Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
- Shane Chartrand, Edmonton | SAGE
- Blake Flann, Calgary | Canmore
- David Vinoya, Regina | Wild Sage Kitchen & Bar
- James McFarland, Saskatoon | University of Saskatchewan
- Mike Robins, Winnipeg | Sous Sol
- Lorenzo Loseto, Toronto | George Restaurant
- Briana Kim, Ottawa | Café My House
- Éric Gonzalez, Montreal | L’Atelier Joël Robuchon
- Barry Mooney, Nova Scotia | Gio
- Nick Jewczyk, St. John’s | The Fifth Ticket
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 Fort Beren's Pinot Gris), 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.
In addition to Friday's food competition, Gold Medal Pints, previously held in October, selected these brews for Gold, Silver and Bronze beers for Canada.
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? Feta cheese, Beausoleil oysters, whole rabbit, flax seeds, cripps apples, kohlrabi and frozen zinfandel grapes.
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.
Congratulations Chef Alex Chen! And to Éric Gonzalez for the silver, and Barry Mooney for the bronze finish. To all the chefs, well done!
All photography courtesy of Gold Medal Plates.