TORONTO — It was a time to “show your red” last night, as singer Jim Cuddy along with 30 Canadian Olympians cheered on 10 chefs leading up to the crowning of Canoe’s John Horne as the winner of Toronto’s Gold Medal Plates culinary competition, a program designed to raise money for the Canadian Olympic Foundation.
Horne found inspiration from his roots, preparing short ribs glazed with tree syrups (pictured) and paired with Jordan Station, Ont.-based Creekside Estate Winery’s 2012 Iconoclast Syrah VQA. “This is unbelievable,” said Horne of his gold-medal win at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. “The concept of tree syrups and fried maple leaves was such a perfect fit for Canada’s Gold Medal Plates.”
The silver award was presented to Damon Campbell from Shangri-La Hotel for his Nova Scotia lobster, potato gnocchi, forest mushroom, black truffle and lobster emulsion and the bronze award was presented to Jason Bangerter from Langdon Hall for his wild flower and herb-smoked game fowl, fermented berry and celery root.
The remaining Toronto chef competitors were Rob Rossi (Bestellen), Tyler Shedden (Café Boulud), Rob Gentile (Buca), Rob Bragagnolo (Marben Restaurant), Victor Barry (Splendido), Michael Steh (The Chase) and Alexandra Feswick (The Drake Hotel).
The competition, which began in Toronto, will culminate at the Canadian Culinary Championships where the top-ranking chefs from across the country will compete in Kelowna, B.C., from Feb. 6 to 7 for the national win. By then 100 chefs, and 5,000 event attendees will have contributed to the Gold Medal Plates, which is held in 10 Canadian cities. Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has raised more than $8 million for Canada’s Olympic athletes through donations, ticket purchases and auctions at the cross-country events.