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Kelowna  

Canada's best chef crowned

Chef Ryan O’Flynn of Edmonton emerged victorious at the Canadian Culinary Championships, Saturday night in Kelowna.

The competition was fierce, the determination evident, as 11 of the nation's best chefs competed for top honours at the Delta Grand hotel.

O’Flynn, of the Westin Edmonton, won with his terrine of pine smoked Alberta river sturgeon and cured Quebec foie gras, wild North West Territory morels, textures of Okanagan apples, and toasted brioche, paired with Sandhill Small Lots 2013 Viognier. 

“It feels great!" he said of the win. "It means a lot to the city. I'd like to thank the students of the Okanagan College. Thanks also to the Delta Grand – they treated us like royalty. Just great hospitality through and through. Thanks also to Starwood and Westin for supporting me.”

The silver was awarded to Chef Antonio Park of Park Restaurant in Montreal, while Chef Kristian Eligh of Hawksworth Restaurant in Vancouver took the bronze. 

Their dishes were: sablefish and lobster chowder in a bread bowl paired with Meyer Family 2012 Micro Cuvee Chardonnay, Old Main Road for the bronze; bibimbap – roulade of julienne vegetables, nine-hour braised shiitake and cauliflower, spinach, chicken boudin blanc, gochujang sheet, quail egg and crunchy, assorted wild rice for silver.

The two-day event started with a Friday evening Mystery Wine Competition in which chefs prepared a dish they felt suited a wine they received less than 24 hours before. Chefs were given $600 to shop for ingredients to provide a small plate for the 500 guests in attendance. The crowd chose Chef Mark McCrowe of Aqua Kitchen/Bar in St. John’s as People's Choice winner.

Head judge James Chatto was impressed with this year’s competitors. 

"It was a fascinating competition. Going in, I felt we might have had the strongest lineup of chefs ever," he said. "We were not disappointed. Their ingenuity and sensitivity in the Wine Matching Challenge wowed the judges, and our new format for the Black Box gave each chef more of an opportunity to be creative, rather than just racing the clock. And then the Grand Finale... Kelowna gave the Championship massive support and hailed our brilliant new Champion with unforgettable energy and delight."

Barney Bentall and Spirit of the West frontmen Geoffrey Kelly and John Mann along with guitarist Matthew Harder entertained the crowd.

The event, a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic team, was also attended by Olympians Josh Dueck, Dominick Gauthier, Jennifer Heil, Kevin Hill, Adam Kreek, Marie-Eve Marleau, Curtis Myden, Jeff Pain, Maelle Ricker, Kristi Richards, Kelsey Serwa and Simon Whitfield.

"This event shines the spotlight on Kelowna, and we are thrilled to see the Canadian Culinary Championships thrive here. The city has truly embraced this competition in so many ways," said ​Stephen Leckie, co-founder of Gold Medal Plates.

This will be held in Kelowna until 2020 and so far has raised $9.5 million for Canada's Olympians.

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