They’ve all accepted the invitation and I’m delighted with the lineup of competing chefs for 2016. This year marks the eleventh Gold Medal Plates, taking place on November 7th at the Shaw Centre. And here they are:
Kevin Benes from Carben
Michael Blackie from NeXT
Marc Doiron from town
Mike Houle from The Village House (Wakefield)
Daniela Manrique from The Soca Kitchen
Jamie Stunt from Soif (Gatineau)
Jon Svazas from fauna
Joe Thottungal from Coconut Lagoon
Adam Vettorel from North & Navy
Richard Wilson from The Pomeroy House
This is a big year for our city, because we can boast – for the second time, and that makes it an especially big boast – to harbouring the Canadian Culinary Champion.
Marc Lepine of atelier took gold at GMP 2015 and then gold again at the Canadian Culinary Championships last February (repeating his performance of February 2012), handily out-cooking the chef competitors from ten other Canadian cities. He will join the judging panel this year for the vexing task of passing sentence on the ten competition plates of his fellow chefs.
Not all fellows. One woman competitor for 2016. She is the Soca chef and co-owner Daniela Manrique.
Manrique will be in the fine company of four other rookie competitors. Kevin Benes, from Carben, Mike Houle from The Village House in Wakefield, Adam Vettorel from North & Navy, and Richard Wilson from The Pomeroy House. The fact that all of these restaurants are new or newish to the Ottawa/Gatineau restaurant landscape is telling of just how quickly they made an impression.
As for the other half of the roster, the silver and bronze medallists from last year’s Gold Medal Plates have been re-invited. So that’s Jon Svazas of Fauna, and Joe Thottungal of Coconut Lagoon, a second year at GMP for both these chefs.
Jon Svazas & team Fauna, GMP 2015. Photo credit Chris Klotz
Jamie Stunt has competed in Gold Medal Plates once before. He won the event in 2012 (with a plate of yak paired with a glass of beer) and then went on to a silver medal at the national competition in 2013. That was when Stunt was at Oz Kafé. He’s now competing with Soif bar a vin in Gatineau, and if sommelier/owner Véronique Rivest lets him pair his GMP dish with beer this go-round I’ll be gobsmacked.
This will be town chef Marc Doiron’s second time competing at GMP, and Michael Blackie’s fourth. Blackie won gold way back in 2006, when he was executive chef of the Brookstreet Hotel. He competed under the National Arts Centre banner in 2009 and again in 2012. Four years on, he’s been invited to represent NeXT, his restaurant and event space in Stittsville.
So two chefs from Gatineau this year, one from the ‘burbs, five brand new to the competition and five who know the ropes. Aren’t we hungry!