City Bites

Coconut Lagoon is being overrun… by other chefs! Star lineup for resto takeover

As Coconut Lagoon Chef Joe Thottungal, who took home gold in the Ottawa segment of November’s Gold Medal Plates competition, preps for the upcoming Canadian Culinary Championships, his fellow chefs are planning the “takeover” of his kitchens.

Chef Joe heads to Kelowna, B.C., for the Culinary Championships on February 3 and 4. That’s when some 14 fellow chefs will swoop in, keeping Coconut Lagoon open while he goes for gold against top chefs from around the country.

Organizer Marc Lepine, who won the Canadian Culinary Championships in 2016, has put together a stellar lineup of chefs. For you, fine diner, it’s a once-a-year opportunity to be wined and dined by seven chefs at one sitting.

The details: Dinner begins at 6 p.m. on both Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4. Seven chefs; one mouth-watering menu, priced at $65; only 50 seats available each night; a guaranteed dining experience. Reserve through Coconut Lagoon.

The chefs: It’s a stellar lineup of chefs on each of the two nights. You likely know them all, but City Bites has included a quick one-line primer just in case. The beauty will be in the magic that happens with all these superstars rubbing shoulders in one kitchen.

 Friday, February 3

  • Chris Deraiche — This night should be no prob for the Wellington Gastropub chef, who changes up his own menu on a nightly basis.
  • Michael Holland — Known as the Pastry Overlord, the Holland’s Cake and Shake owner may just surprise with a Gold Medal Plates-themed dessert. Here’s hoping.
  • Briana Kim — She designs a vegan menu for Café My House and is equally recognized for killer cocktails. It’s  win-win.
  • Jamie Stunt — The man behind the match-up of impressive small plates to sommelier Veronique Rivest’s wine picks at Soif Bar à Vin is a Canadian Culinary Championships alumnus with a second-place finish in 2013.
  • Steve Wall — Will the owner of Supply and Demand cook up some superior seafood?
  • Kevin Benes — The owner of the much-lauded Carben Food + Drink on Welly West is known for daringly pretty plates. Can’t wait!
  • Stephen LaSalle — Not sure how the busy chef from Market hotspot hotel Andaz is finding the time, but we’re thrilled he’s on the bill.

Saturday February 4

  • Marc Doiron — Did you know the chef/owner of Town has just opened a new restaurant around the corner by the name of Citizen? Maybe he’ll show off a recipe from there.
  • Adam Vettorel — The chef at North and Navy is known for his Italian cichèti. Here’s hoping his starters are on the menu.
  • Mike Radford — He’s the guy coming up with all the great new dishes at Whalesbone and Elmdale Oyster House so seafood may make an appearance.
  • Jonathan Korecki — The superstar chef from Sidedoor disappeared a few months ago for a well-earned break. Looks like he’s back in town, reinvigorated, and re-inspired.
  • Jon Svazas — Perhaps the man behind Fauna and Bar Laurel is planning to push some Spanish-themed snacks?
  • Jordan Holley — Riviera, Datsun, El Camino? Which cuisine will inspire Holley’s backroom endeavours is anyone’s guess.
  • Arup Jana — Please chef, bring Allium’s Monday Night tapas menu to Coconut Lagoon!

City Bites Hot Tip: Just one. Book immediately! Heck, book for both nights. The chef takeover only happens once a year and will give you food for thought for the next 12 months. Besides, what else are you doing on a Friday or Saturday night in February?