TORONTO — The Gold Medal Plates championship qualifying round took over Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre earlier this week, with Jonathon Gushue earning top honours among 10 of his Toronto peers.
Gushue, the grand chef at Langdon Hall Country House Hotel and Spa in Cambridge, Ont., based his winning creation on brussel sprouts. A proponent of foraging for forgotten ingredients, Gushue delicately separated the sprouts and gently sautéed them in butter. The chef used each leaf as a miniature serving bowl, spooning delicacies such as duck-egg yolk and dollops of smoked-trout caviar onto Virginia oysters from P.E.I. The molluscs were prepared sous-vide with leek, pine, canola, vinegar and sea salt. The entire dish rested on an ultra-smooth purée of salsify and apple.
“My team worked very hard to make our dish the best it could be, and I’m thrilled our efforts resulted in gold. Now, I’m looking forward to taking this to the next step and competing for the national title,” said Gushue, who competes in the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, B.C., next February.
Rob Gentile, of Buca Toronto, took silver medal honours with his creation of Tortelli D’oca — a goose offal and porcini-filled tortelli, adorned with cured goose carpaccio. Curing the fowl with salt, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest for 24 hours, Gentile’s creation was presented with fried goose skin, filberts and rosemary leaves. Bright red and yellow made the plate pop, as he swirled the noodle with a vincotto reduction, the dazzling amber colour came from his sauce made with Peking duck egg yolk.
Michael Steh, chef at Reds bistro and wine bar, was honoured with a third-place finish. His dish was composed of deep-fried brioche with scallop mousse and smoked duck breast; onion and cheddar soup topped with an apple tuile; and eggshell filled with “coconut bacon.”
Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has generated a combined net total of more than $5 million for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Celebrated in nine cities across Canada, the event brings together some of the country’s best chefs and wineries.
photo 1 courtesy of Martin Tan
photo 2 courtesy of Cindy La