It’s official Ottawa! The competing chefs at this year’s Gold Medal Plates culinary competition on November 5th at the National Arts Centre will be:
Norm Aitken, Juniper Kitchen & Wine
Michael Blackie, National Arts Centre
Chris Deraiche, The Wellington Gastropub
Jason Duffy, ARC Dining and Lounge
Michael Hay, The Courtyard Restaurant
Jonathan Korecki, Sidedoor
Jamie Stunt, OZ Café
John Taylor, Domus Café / Taylor’s Genuine Food &Wine Bar
As is the practice, Chef Marc Lepine, of Atelier, last year’s Ottawa champion, and Winner of It All at the Canadian Culinary Championships this past February, will sit on the judging panel at the 2012 competition, helping crown a new winner, and be providing a bit of food for the VIP reception.
You will notice two things right off the bat. The numbers are down to eight competitors. Math is the reason. The Ottawa event peaks at 450 guests (Toronto and Edmonton, the largest of the gala fundraisers with something like 650, get ten chefs) and Gold Medal Plates, mindful of its mandate to raise money for Paralympic and Olympic athletes, has had to refine its policy with respect to number of chefs invited vis a vis number of tickets sold. We need over 500 guests in order to get our ten competitors of past years.
You will further note that, for the first time since 2008, there is no Gatineau chef this year. Jean-Claude Chartrand of L’Orée du Bois was invited, but said non merci for this year.
So there you have it. Whittling it down to eight was tricky. But I think it’s an impressive list. Balanced between the long serving, Granddaddy chefs (Blackie, Taylor) a couple of new-to-GMP chefs from well established, top notch restaurants (Deraiche, Duffy, Aitken, Hay) and some youngster newcomers with enormous talent and prospect (Korecki and Stunt). We try, every year, to achieve this balance, to give those who have competed in the past, a year to sit out, to permit some fresh faces to step up. There should be some very fine plates this year.
Let the games begin!