DINER: Follow Along From The Inside During The 2012 Canadian Culinary Championships

by Andrew Morrison | I’m leaving early for Kelowna and the Canadian Culinary Championships (#CCC) this afternoon. It is Canada’s biggest cooking competition. It includes three bouts between the country’s best chefs over two gruelling days. We’ll of course be publishing during this time (and plenty), but I wanted to invite readers to follow along with the #CCC action on Scout’s social media accounts – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – which I’ll be feeding quite a bit with photos and updates. For the past five years, wine guru Sid Cross and I have shared the honour of being the Senior Judges representing BC at the annual competition. I’ve also enjoyed being the National Referee (I don’t get a whip or a whistle, but they did give me a gold toothpick once, for real).

All told, we get to see and taste some pretty outstanding plates of superness, not to mention have quite a good time. If you’re really into food porn and fetishize the hell out of competitions, be sure to keep abreast so that you might salivate profusely over all the deliciousness that comes our way in relatively real time.

Here are the competitors. Remember that each of the following defeated 10 other regional heavyweights to get this far…

Winnipeg | Michael Dacquisto – WOW Hospitality
Montreal | Jean-Philippe St-Denis – Kitchen Galerie Poisson
Calgary | Michael Dekker – Rouge
Edmonton | Jan Trittenbach – Packrat Louie
Vancouver | Rob Feenie – Cactus Club
Saskatoon | Anthony McCarthy – Saskatoon Club
Toronto | Jonathan Gushue – Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa
Ottawa | Marc Lepine – Atelier
St. John’s | Mike Barsky – Bacalao

Past champions…

2011
GOLD: Martin Juneau of Newtown in Montreal
SILVER: Jeremy Charles of Raymonds in St. John’s
BRONZE: Robert Clark of C Restaurant in Vancouver

2009
GOLD Mathieu Cloutier – Kitchen Gallerie, Montréal
SILVER David Lee – Nota Bene
BRONZE Matthew Carmichael – Restaurant 18

2008
GOLD Hayato Okamitsu – Catch Restaurant, Calgary
SILVER Frank Pabst – Blue Water Café
BRONZE Deff Haupt – Le Renoir

2007
GOLD Melissa Craig – The Bearfoot Bistro, Whistler
SILVER Anthony Walsh – Canoe
BRONZE Roland Ménard – Manior Hovey

2006
GOLD Makoto Ono – Gluttons Bistro, Winnipeg
SILVER Michael Blackie – Perspectives Restaurant
BRONZE Mark McEwan – Bymark

The #CCC actually starts each autumn, as each major city across the nation puts their top toques through a local meat grinder called Gold Medal Plates. Net proceeds are given to the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports athletes and high performance programs such as Own the Podium. To date, over $5 million has been raised.

In Vancouver, beating out Ensemble’s Dale Mackay (again) and Bao Bei’s Joel Watanabe this year was the grand maestro, Rob Feenie of the Cactus Club. This is Feenie’s second time to the national dance, and I reckon he’s mighty keen to take home the elusive gold. For an explainer as to how the whole shebang works, here’s a video diary I shot from a few years back at the competition in Banff, when Vancouver was being represented by Frank Pabst of Yaletown’s Blue Water Cafe. As you can see, winning ain’t easy, and Montreal’s been on a roll…

Months of efforts end on Saturday night. If you haven’t purchased tickets, our Twitter is where you’ll hear which chef won bronze, silver and gold (in that order) first, so keep in touch.

There is 1 comment

  1. Best of Luck Jonathan Gushue – Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa,I hired him from Culinary school in 1992.Four Seasons Minaki Lodge Ontario.

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