Saturday night the Delta Grand Hotel in downtown Kelowna was dedicated to celebrating the best chefs in Canada.
Over 640 people, in black-tie affair, attended the sold out event.
Although food and wine were the focus of the event, what came of the competition was an exciting announcement for Kelowna itself.
Kelowna is currently in its fourth year of hosting the Canadian Culinary Championships and the food community, hotels, and Tourism Kelowna crossed its fingers to be able to extend the hosting agreement.
To a cheering crowd on Saturday night, Co-Founder Stephen Leckie and General Manager of the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, Daniel Bibby, announced that Kelowna would indeed be the home of the Canadian Culinary Championships for an additional 5 years.
“We’re thrilled for the news that we will extend the CCC in Kelowna for another 5 years,” said Daniel Bibby.
“Kelowna is a worthy and enthusiastic home of this national culinary competition. We are confident that we will be able to announce the new sponsorship agreement in the next few weeks to keep this great event in our community.”
The competition itself was fierce and delicious. The eleven chefs, each representing their own province and territory were determined to take top spot.
After two grueling days of competition the new champion was crowned, Chef Lorenzo Loseto of George Restaurant in Toronto.
His winning dish was Ahi Tuna with Carrot and Pear, paired with the wine of his choice the KEW Vineyards Old Vine Riesling from Niagara.
“I’m at a loss for words. It feels like all the years of hard work have been recognized tonight. Just to be with these amazing chefs – I couldn’t look at the other dishes because it made me nervous. It means so much in such great company,” shared Chef Loseto’s as he took the trophy.
Chef Danny St Pierre from Auguste in Montreal took the bronze, and the silver was awarded to Chef Duncan Ly of Yellow Door Bistro in Calgary.
The two-day event started with a Friday evening Mystery Wine Pairing where chefs prepared a dish they felt perfectly suited the mystery bottle of wine they had received less than 24 hours before.
It was Laughing Stock 2012 Blind Trust White from the Okanagan Valley, BC.
James Chatto, Gold Medal Plates’ National Culinary Advisor and Head Judge, was very impressed with this year’s competitors.
“It was a great weekend at the CCC with every chef showcasing their best – inspired and inspiring. The first two contests were very tight – impossible to call – which meant that this year the Championship was going to be decided on the final dish. And so it proved. We have a brilliant new champion. All the chefs performed magnificently. Their sous chefs, too, gave a master-class in how you support your chef.”
The music talent was also top notch. Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies and Barney Bentall headlined the entertainment.
Guests were also greeted and schmoozed by Olympians in attendance. The event is a direct fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation.
The athletes included:
- Julia Murray, Olympian, Ski-Cross
- Gabriel Bergen, Olympic Silver Medallist, Rowing
- Christine Girard , Olympic Bronze Medallist, Weightlifting
- Kristi Richards, Two-time Olympian, Freestyle Skiing
- Curtis Myden, Olympic three-time Bronze Medallist, Swimming
- Darcy Marquardt, Olympic Silver Medallist, Rowing
- Richard Hortness, Two-time Olympian, Swimming
- Jeremiah Brown, Olympic Silver Medallist, Rowing
- William Dean, Olympian, Rowing
“This is the first Canadian Culinary Championships Grand Finale that I have attended and I am so proud to see the chefs putting their hearts into their work. You can feel the energy in the room! It is great to be a part of this and see how hard these chefs work to achieve success just as athletes do for their sport; it’s a great alignment,” shared Julia Murray.
As well as indulging in amazing food and wine, Saturday night guests were able to bid for items during the live auction, with proceeds going to the Canada’s Olympic team.
Some of the items up for bid were experiences hosted by Olympians and celebrities and included cycling in Tuscany or Provence with Jim Cuddy or Ed Robertson, and hiking in the Scotland Highlands with Chef de Mission Steve Podborski (2014 Sochi Olympic Games).
“I salute Kelowna and all of the Okanagan for supporting and helping to sell out all three of our events. The contributions of the Okanagan wineries was also incredible. This event shines the spotlight on Kelowna and we are thrilled to see the Canadian Culinary Championships thrive here. A huge salute to the many volunteers, committee members and chairs for leading such an excellent Championships!” boasted Stephen Leckie Co-Founder of Gold Medal Plates.
This memorable two-day event held in Kelowna for the last four. To date the proceeds from Gold Medal Plates and the Canadian Culinary Championships given to the Canadian Olympic Foundation has been over $8.2 million.