Chefs in Ottawa face off in a culinary contest

November 24 2014

Last week, ten of Ottawa's top chefs competed in a cook-off as part of a fundraising event to benefit Canadian athletes.

The annual Gold Medal Plates event - which celebrates Canadian excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement - challenges 100 tops chefs from across the country to create a dish and pair it with a Canadian wine. There are several regional competitions and the winners from each then face off in the Canadian Culinary Championships next year.

Gold Medal Plates co-founder Karen Blair told CTV Ottawa: "We knew Canadian chefs were incredible, we wanted to just really put a highlight on them."

This year's winner was Chef Patrick Garland of Absinthe Cafe. He served up quail breast stuffed with foie gras, braised thigh croquette, cinnamon cap mushrooms, frittered shallot, confit grapes and a Gewurztraiminer reduction.

Judge James Chatto said that the competition had a very strong showing. "All of the judges agreed on the 1,2,3,4 chefs but some of us had them in a different order," he said.

"When we talked about it, discussed it, we had a clear winner by several percentage points, which is quite a big margin for Gold Medal Plates," he explained, adding: "It was a gorgeous dish, some classical things on the plate. There was a lot of imagination."

The silver medal went to chef Steve Wall of Supply and Demand, who offered aged raw beef with elder capers, onion and soft herbs.

According to the Ottawa Citizen, this dish featured high-quality ingredients with a simple presentation and a combination of salty and acidic garnishes that complimented the meat.

Finally, the bronze medal was awarded to chef John Morris from Le Cafe at the National Arts Centre. His dish featured sweetbread-crusted Alberta veal fillet, smoked vine tomato filled with PEI mussels and taragon pesto, mussel broth and veal marrow butter sauce.

The Ottawa Citizen reports that this was a 'clean' and 'straightforward dish' that reflected the flavours and foods of Canada well.

Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has raised more than $8 million in support of Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes.