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Ten of the country’s best chefs arrive at Okanagan College Thursday to tour the Culinary Arts Department in preparation for this year’s Canadian Culinary Championships – the finale of the Gold Medal Plates regional events.
“This will give them some familiarity with where they’ll be working, and who they may need to approach among our staff once the competition gets underway on Friday,” said Culinary Arts Instructor Reinhard Foerderer, who is overseeing the competition this year.
One of the students anxious to find out who she’ll be working with is 21-year-old Cayman MacPhee, who is in her first year of study in the two-year Advanced Culinary Arts diploma.
“I think it’s going to be an amazing experience to get to work along side chefs of this calibre,” she said. “They’re going to be able to teach us so many things.”
A total of 19 students have volunteered to assist with the event, starting Thursday night with the wine selection taking place at Tantalus Vineyards. Another 50 students from Okanagan College’s Culinary Arts department will be assisting on the Friday night and all day Saturday, which includes the Black Box competition that takes place at the campus.
“It’s going to be an awesome experience for all of the students,” Foerderer said. “And with this being our third year, and having local chef Mark Filatow competing, that’s really adding to the excitement.”
The chefs’ tour gets underway at 3:15 p.m. Thursday.
Jonathan Rouse, who was recently named the Director of Wine, Food and Tourism at Okanagan College, said Filatow’s entry into this event says a lot about the quality of the culinary arts in this region.
“To have one of our own local chefs taking part is really a testament to the quality of food and wine that is coming from this valley,” Rouse said. “Hosting events like the Canadian Culinary Championships is a fine example of the kinds of things that can happen when these three powerhouse sectors –wine, food and tourism – work together.”
The competition begins Friday evening with a Mystery Wine Pairing at the Eldorado Hotel.
“Once again, the Mystery Wine Pairing event is already sold out, as is the Black Box competition,” said Lisa Pasin, Director of Hospitality and Travel and National Event Manager for the Gold Medal Plates. “When Kelowna was selected we were so pleased, and it’s clearly been a good choice for all those who take part.”
Competing chefs this year are from:
Kelowna – Mark Filatow – Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar
Edmonton - Nathin Bye – Wildflower Grill Restaurant
Canmore - Eden Hrabec – Crazyweed Kitchen
Regina – Milton Rebello – Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza
Saskatoon – Darren Craddock – Riverside Country Club
Winnipeg – Östen Rice – Wasabi Sabi
Toronto – Marc St. Jacques – Auberge du Pommier
Ottawa – Jamie Stunt – Oz Kafe
Montreal – Daren Bergeron – Fou d’Ici
St. John’s – Shaun Hussey – Chinched Bistro
On Saturday, the chefs will be at Okanagan College for the Black Box competition, followed by the grand finale Saturday night at the Delta Grand Okanagan Hotel.
For more information about the Culinary Arts program, visit www.okanagan.bc.ca/culinary.
Gold Medal Plates is a national celebration of Canadian excellence in cuisine, wine, entertainment and athletic achievement. Net proceeds from Gold Medal Plates, which is currently at $7.2-million, are given to the Canadian Olympic Foundation which supports Olympic athletes and high performance programs such as Own the Podium.