2016 Canadian Culinary Championships People’s Choice Winner Revealed

2016 Canadian Culinary Championships People's Choice Winner Alex Cheng


Friday, February 5, 2016

Kelowna, BC – The first of three challenging competitions is now completed at the 2016 Canadian Culinary Championships with Alex Chen from Boulevard Kitchen and Bar in Vancouver, representing British Columbia winning the People’s Choice award. The award does not affect the official judging scores for the ultimate title – the 2016 Canadian Culinary Champion – but it is a nice feather in the cap for Chef Chen.

“It feels good to win the People’s Choice Award this evening,” says Chef Chen. “We worked hard and it’s a nice way to end the first day of the competition. The win gives us an extra boost of energy and confidence going into tomorrow’s competitions but we know we still have two competitions ahead of us.

The Mystery Wine Competition is the first of three gruelling challenges for the competing chefs, each of whom has won the Gold Medal Plates competition qualifying event in their respective cities. Less than 24 hours before the Mystery Wine Competition, they were given the Mystery Wine – Gamay Noir from the Tawse Winery in the Niagara Peninsula along with a food budget of $500 with which to feed 400 guests. This morning they had to decide on the perfect dish to pair with the wine and then find all of the ingredients in Kelowna. Some of the chefs are familiar with local suppliers and shops such as Matthew Batey who was formerly the Executive Chef at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery and now competing representing the Nash Cut Off Bar in Calgary while others were not familiar at all. Either way, chefs needed to depend on their creativity and ingenuity and only time will tell if this was a distinct advantage or not.

David Lawrason, national wine advisor for Gold Medal Plates was instrumental in choosing the Mystery Wine for this year’s competition. “This Gamay Noir from Tawse Winery was a mystery indeed. When selecting the wine, it’s important to ensure three things: the wine will challenge the chefs and give latitude to do their own thing; it must be a wine that our 400 guests will enjoy drinking for 90 minutes and it will create mystery, debate and discussion. I heard a lot of great guesses tonight and some people even got the varietal right.“

The competition continues with the dramatic Black Box competition Saturday morning and the Grand Finale on Saturday night when the top three chefs will soon be standing on the podium.

A visit to the Okanagan Valley and wine region in Kelowna, B.C. is complimented by a stay at the Sparkling Hill Resort. With an exceptional spa offering guests an elegant retreat, the hotel only gets better with the freshest local ingredients used at the resorts two restaurants, PeakFine and Barrique & Java.

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