Grew up in the kitchen

Canada's top chefs return to Kelowna Feb. 1-2 to battle for the title of best in the nation at the Canadian Culinary Championships.

The competition includes a Mystery Wine Pairing Competition, Black Box Competition, and Grand Finale at the Delta Grand Hotel. Tickets are available at http://www.greatkitchenparty.com/.

Leading up the event, Castanet is featuring profiles of the 11 competing chefs.

Winnipeg – Jesse S. Friesen, The Merchant Kitchen

Jesse Friesen has grown up in the restaurant business, working in restaurants since the age of 13. Jesse started off bussing tables and washing dishes, quickly, he realized he wanted to be in the kitchen for a living.  

Over 10 years since his introduction to the restaurant industry, gaining much experience at many popular Winnipeg Restaurants, hotels and private clubs, Jesse started off his kitchen management as the sous chef at The Lobby on York, a prestigious steak house in downtown Winnipeg. He quickly rose through the kitchen ranks to the position of Executive Chef. 

Jesse then took an opportunity to be Executive Chef of a Winnipeg based restaurant group. This group successfully operates Pizzeria Gusto & The Merchant Kitchen along with a few other projects in the works.

An avid competitor, he is a member of the Provincial Culinary Team that competed at the IKA Culinary Olympics in Germany in 2016. The team brought home three bronze medals and three other outstanding achievement awards. He has also competed twice at Gold Medal Plates in Winnipeg. In 2015, he received the silver medal for a dish of cured scallops pairing with Jay Stellar Sparkling. In 2016, Jesse received the gold medal for his dish of southern tuna tartare paired with Quail’s Gate Riesling.

In the spring of 2018, he was awarded “Chef of the Year” by the Canadian Culinary Federation. One month later he was awarded “Winnipeg’s Best Chef” from the Winnipeg Night Life Awards.

This past November, he took home the gold medal at the regional qualifying competition for the CCC, Canada’s Great Kitchen Party. Jesse is the only Chef in Winnipeg to win the competition twice.

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