A local film production company is taking the spotlight today as their work is being featured by Telus.
Kelowna's Render Digital Media, filmed and produced the television series on Canada’s most intense culinary competition – available on television and YouTube today.
“The competition was fierce, the determination was evident – as 11 of Canada’s best chefs competed for top honours during the most gruelling two-day, three-competition weekend,” says Pamela Tomlinson, producer at Render Digital Media Ltd.
“This three-episode series will follow each chef’s experience as they navigate the complexities of the three competitions.”
With 11 chefs, three gruelling events and one champion, the Canadian Culinary Championships is considered the ultimate celebration of Canadian excellence in food, wine, entertainment and athletic achievement.
“It is exciting because it is local, it is neat to see your own city on a well put together television show,” says Tomlinson. “It is very high stakes, even if you are not a huge food buff, this show is actually very character driven and the chefs are hilarious, it is very entertaining.”
The television series itself was made possible by a community programming grant from Telus.
“The Canadian Culinary Championships have been in Kelowna for many (five) years now, so we partnered up with them as a production company to make their competition into a television show, and then Telus came on board to sponsor it,” explains Tomlinson.
For the local film and production company, getting the gig was quite the coup.
“This is a huge opportunity for us,” says Tomlinson. “A lot of the time those grants would go to a Toronto based company, so for our company to get that grant, have it funded and to be able to work with Gold Medal Plates was definitely a big win for us.”
“We had a 17 person crew over a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” explains Tomlinson. “We had five cameras and production assistants, a lot of it was local, we had a few in from Toronto to work on it – and then the audio and all the editing was done in Kelowna, within our company.”
They started pre-planning the project in January and finished the submitted project to Telus in late May.
“It was a blast. It was very, very high action – it was intense,” say Tomlinson. “You have all these chefs running around and their only focus is to win the competition, so when you add an extra 17 person crew into the kitchen it becomes pretty hectic, but it was really amazing to see the passion the chefs have to do it.”
The television series is broken down into three episodes featuring each of the three events.
In the first episode, 'The Wine Pairing Challenge', 11 chefs run around Kelowna desperately trying to make a special dish for nearly 500 people on a limit budget to match an unlabeled bottle of wine.
For the second episode, 'The Black Box', chefs receive only 10 minutes notice, and a black box containing 10 ingredients of diverse foods before having to produce and plate one spectacular dish using six of the 10 ingredients for the national judges.
The final episode, 'The Grand Finale', shows the final night of competition where anything goes.
“Chefs create their best dish for guests to sample, paired with a great wine from their regional winery partner. By evening’s end, Canada’s Champion Chef of 2015 will be crowned,” says Tomlinson.
You can watch episode one above, watch the entire series on YouTube or check out your Telus Optik 'on demand' for the episodes on TV.
This is the first year the show has been produced and Tomlinson hopes to do it again at next year's championships.
The Canadian Culinary Championships will be held in Kelowna until 2020 and so far has raised $9.5 million for Canada's Olympians.