A pair of local culinary students help competing chef, Briana Kim, of Cafe My House in Ottawa, prepare her dish for Friday night’s Mystery Wine Pairing reception at the Delta Grand Hotel and Resort in downtown Kelowna. The event if one of the highlights of Gold Medal Plates, upports Canada’s athletes through the ultimate celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Celebrated in eleven cities across Canada, Gold Medal Plates a competition to crown a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in each competing Canadian city, and subsequently nation-wide at the Canadian Culinary Championships, held annually in February. (Erin Christie/Morning Star)

B.C ‘s Alex Chen Canada’s new top chef

Chen takes gold at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna Saturday night

  • Feb. 4, 2018 12:00 a.m.

Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in Vancouver is Canada’s top chef—the 2018 Canadian culinary champion.

Representing B.C., Chen is no stranger to the podium at the Canadian Culinary Championships. He placed third at the championships in 2016 in Kelowna.

Chen, a classically French-trained chef, took gold with a parfait of wild B.C. shellfish chowder, northern divine caviar and bulls kelp brioche dish that the head of the judging committee described as including “the whole Pacific Ocean.”

Clutching his trophy after his win, Chen said he felt really good about his effort in the three-event competition that crowns the top chef in Canada each year.

He said his first time in the competition two years ago he knew it would be difficult, but coming in this year though it may be easier the second time around. He said he was wrong.

“It wasn’t,” said Chen.

But he added he and his team, including four Okanagan College culinary arts students who assisted him and his sous chef, managed to get back on track when things went “sideways.”

“That happens in all competitions,” he said, adding this weekend’s Canadian Culinary Championships will be his last competition.

video

He paid tribute to the OC students who assisted him and the other 10 chefs in the competition this year, saying he felt there are some “real superstars” amongst them.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” he said.

In addition to the finale on Saturday night, the chefs in the competition have to create a dish to pair with a mystery wine—on a budget of just $500 to feed 400 people—and a black box competition, where they were handed seven previously unknown ingredients and had to create a dish.

As for the key to his overall victory? “I think we really cooked from the heart,” said Chen.

Eric Gonzalez of L’Atelier De Joel Robuchon, in Montreal, finished second with foie gras and Alberta bison loin with haskap, blackberry puree, butternut squash and truffle.

Barry Mooney of Gio, in Halifax, representing Nova Scotia, took third with a smoked pork consume, ham hock terrine, scallop, foie gras mouse, pickled carrot, haskap gelee and spiced tuile.

Nine of the dishes in the competition were paired with wines from B.C., Ontario and Nova Scotia, while one was paired with a sake from Ontario and another was paired with a brown ale from Newfoundland and Labrador.

RELATED: 11 of Canada’s top chefs land in Kelowna

tag