Takashi the people's choice

Madison Erhardt

UPDATE: 6:30 a.m.

Chef Takashi Ito of Aura waterfront restaurant + patio in Victoria was chosen as People’s Choice winner at Friday night's Canadian Culinary Championships wine pairing event.

Ito created a dish of seared pork belly and gnocchi, winter squash puree, and black sesame tenkasu to pair with this years’ mystery wine, 2016 Vista’s Edge Cabernet Franc from Mission Hill Family Estate in West Kelowna.
“Wow, I’m so happy what a great way to end the day,” said Ito.

The Mystery Wine Competition was the first competition in the two-day culinary triathlon.

Eleven chefs from across Canada received a bottle of the unlabelled wine and were tasked with trying to identify what varietal it was and create a dish that would pair with it. 

This chefs each were given a budget of $500 to feed the 400 guests and to shop locally to provide the ingredients in their dish.
"Tonight, we saw the diversity in the room show; chefs were creative, innovative and did a great job in pairing their dishes," said David Lawrason, national wine advisor for Canada’s Great Kitchen Party.
The competition continues today with the challenging Black Box competition at Okanagan College, and then they close off the competition with the Grand Finale at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort. 

ORIGINAL: 5 a.m.

The Delta Grand Okanagan Resort was packed Friday night with decadent food and mouth watering wines for the Canadian Culinary Championships' mystery wine pairing event. 

It was the first judged event of the weekend at the championships. 

Chefs are given a mystery bottle of wine and are challenged to create a dish with local ingredients that best complement the mysterious vintage, in a set amount of time and with a set budget.

"They had to buy every single ingredient today in Kelowna and use only taxis to go shopping and they could only spend $500 so that's a buck and a quarter per head," said National Culinary Advisor James Chatto. 

Guests had the pleasure of sampling these creations in a standup cocktail reception format.

Halfway through the night, those in attendance played ‘judge’ as they voted on the People’s Choice Award for the best food and wine pairing.

The Black Box Competition gets underway Saturday at Okanagan College. 

For a complete schedule and more information, click here

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