Contender in the kitchen

The Canadian Culinary Championships return to Kelowna Feb. 3-4.

Eleven of the best chefs from across the country have competed to represent their regions in Kelowna.

The Gold Medal Plates grand finale will take place at the Delta Grand Hotel, with the crowning of the national champion.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Canadian Olympic Foundation. 

Castanet is featuring an exclusive series of bios on the competing chefs leading up the event.

Mark Gray – Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery, Halifax

Born in Halifax, Mark Gray has been working in the culinary industry since the age 16.  

He began washing dishes at Il Mercato in Bedford, N.S.

After graduating from high school, he moved to Canmore, Alta., where he became sous chef at The Drake Inn, while also working under chef Michael Lyon at The Wood Steakhouse & Grill.   

Moving back to Halifax in 2009, he took the co-executive chef position at the Hilton Garden Inn, alongside chef Brenan Madill. 

After nine months, he decided to take a step back to focus on learning the craft and began working under chef Graeme Rupple at the Brooklyn Warehouse.  

In 2011, he earned his Canadian Red Seal certification and also completed the Culinary Arts program at Nova Scotia Community College, becoming head chef at the Brooklyn Warehouse.

He's earned the titles of best restaurant in Halifax, bronze and silver in the Coast's Best of Food Awards, a Taste of Nova Scotia Prestige Award and best restaurant as voted by the Chronicle Herald. 

His second endeavor, ACE Burger Co., took the title of best burger in Halifax in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and the newly opened Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery was named best new bar in 2016. 

Gray also won gold in the Gold Medal Plates Halifax regional competition in 2016 and was named provincial chef of the year in 2015.

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