Best chefs go head to head

Kelowna is ready to host the nation's best chefs for the Canadian Culinary Championships.

The tasty event returns this week with a welcome reception at the Laurel Packinghouse Thursday evening, followed by two days of competition.

During the reception, each chef will be introduced and will be given a bottle of this year's mystery wine that will play a key role as the chefs match wits.

Friday's events get underway with a wine tasting for judges and media by the West Side Wine Trail Association and Scenic Sip Wineries Association at the Delta Grand Hotel.

That's followed by the mystery wine pairing competition.

Chefs are given a mystery bottle of wine and must create a dish with local ingredients that best complements it – in a set amount of time and with a set budget. During the event, guests will taste the mystery wine and vote for "people’s choice." A silent auction of rare wines and other experiences will also be featured.

On Saturday, the black box competition happens at Okanagan College's culinary program kitchens.

It runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The winner will be crowned at the grand finale that evening at the Delta Grand.

Guests will sample tastes from the competitors and also enjoy entertainment by Canadian musicians Johnny Reid and Danny Michel.

It's the seventh year for the Gold Medal Plates event in Kelowna, which serves a dual purpose as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Team.

“The Championships are one of the most significant culinary competitions held in Canada, attracting many of our top culinary talents," said event chairwoman Judy Burns. "We are proud to have the opportunity to showcase to all of our guests locally and from abroad, the bounty Kelowna and the Okanagan has to share."

This year's competing chefs are:

  • Jesse McCleery – Pilgrimme, Galiano Island, representing B.C.
  • Eric Hanson – Prairie Noodle Shop, Edmonton
  • Jinhee Lee – Foreign Concept, Calgary
  • Garrett Thienes – Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market, Regina
  • Scott Torgerson – Radisson Hotel Saskatoon and Aroma Resto Bar, Saskatoon
  • Jesse Friesen – Pizzeria Gusto, Winnipeg
  • Amanda Ray – Canteen Restaurant, Toronto
  • Joe Thottungal – Coconut Lagoon, Ottawa
  • Sophie Tabet – Chez Sophie, Montreal
  • Mark Gray – Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery, Halifax
  • Ruth Wigman – Oppidan, St. John’s

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