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Kelowna  

And the trophy goes to...

It was a hard fought battle of the taste buds.

In the end, chef Jihhee Lee of Calgary took the gold medal in the Canadian Culinary Championships held in Kelowna this weekend.

She spoke to Castanet Saturday night just before midnight, standing in front of her new BMW – her prize for the win.

“It was a really hard competition ... on, and on, and on,” said Lee right after she was crowned the winner at the Delta Grand hotel.

“I was really tired, but I did my best. When I’m in love with a flavour, I create my own dish.”

Her finale plate was 'Cha Ca La Vong,' featuring turmeric fish mosaic with dill, paired with the Bartier Brothers 2014 Gewurztraminer.

The honour comes with a two-year lease of a BMW 435i xDrive Gran Coupe, a gorgeous vehicle on display at the event.

Joe Thottungal, representing Ottawa, took silver. 

Eric Hanson, representing Edmonton, took bronze.

About 650 people attended the finale. It was filled with wine, food and entertainment.

Numerous Olympic athletes also took the stage, as the competition raised funds for those who represent Canada at the highest level of sport.

The two-day event started with a Friday evening Mystery Wine Competition where chefs prepared a dish they felt perfectly suited the mystery bottle of wine they had received less than 24 hours before. 

Then, the Black Box Challenge held at Okanagan College gave all 11 competing chefs only an hour to prepare their dish using seven mystery ingredients.



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