KELOWNA, B.C. — Chef Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar in Vancouver beat out 10 competitors to take top spot at this year’s Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, B.C.
Chen won the day with his finale dish, parfait of wild B.C. shellfish, “chowder” northern divine caviar, bull’s kelp “brioche” paired with Sea Star 2016 Ortega from Pender Island, B.C. “I feel great, I feel redeemed,” says Chen of his win. “We put in a lot of work this weekend and it worked out to be favourable for us. This feels so great for us.”
Along with bragging rights, Chen wins a trip to Africa or South America to see a Cacao Barry plantation and work with the chef there.
In addition to the finale on Saturday night, the chefs had to create a dish to pair with a mystery wine — on a budget of just $500 to feed 400 people — and a black-box competition, where they were handed seven previously unknown ingredients and had to create a dish.
The silver medal was awarded to chef Eric Gonzalez from L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Montreal. Chef Barry Mooney from Gio in Halifax won the bronze.
The event is also a fundraiser for Canadian Olympians and to date, more than $12 million has been raised. “Your support to help our Canadian athletes goes a long way, your encouragement helps motivate Canadian athletes,” says the evening’s emcee, Ashleigh McIvor, Olympic freestyle skiing gold medalist in 2010 Winter Olympics. “Tonight’s event has been spectacular.”