DesBrisay Dines

Just announced! The 11 chefs competing at this year’s Gold Medal Plates

I’m delighted to announce the 10 chefs who will be facing off this fall at the 2017 Ottawa-Gatineau Gold Medal Plates, a cross-country run of events that celebrates Canadian distinction in food, wine, and sport — all in support of Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

Gold Medal Plates is also a national cooking showdown, held in 11 cities coast to coast. It pairs gifted chefs with Canadian wineries and breweries in a competition that awards gold, silver, and bronze medals to the most striking, most interesting, most delicious plates, and to the chefs (and their restaurant teams) that made it.

Those 11 gold medal chefs (from St John’s, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa/Gatineau, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver/Victoria) are then invited to compete at the Canadian Culinary Championships in February in Kelowna, BC.

Ottawa has done remarkably well at the national level. Indeed, we are the only city in the history of the competition to have a double win at the CCC: chef Marc Lepine of atelier won gold in 2012 and again in 2016. Other Ottawa/Gatineau chefs who have podiumed at the national event are: Joe Thottungal (2016), Jamie Stunt (2013), Matthew Carmichael (2009), and Michael Blackie (2006). That’s a total of six medals over the 10-year history of the Canadian Culinary Championships. Not too shabby…

Chef Marc Doiron's unique risotto dish presented at the 2016 competition
Chef Marc Doiron’s unique risotto dish presented at the 2016 competition

So now, which of these chefs will bring home the seventh?

Here, Ottawa, are your 2017 Gold Medal Plates competing chefs and the restaurants they represent:

From Carben, Kevin Benes

From Social, Jeff Bradfield

From Town/Citizen, Marc Doiron

From Fairouz, Walid El Tawel

From Two Six {Ate}, Steve Harris

From Riviera, Jordan Holley

From Café My House, Briana Kim

From Les Fougeres, Yannick La Salle

From La Maison Conroy, Kyle Mortimer-Proulx

From Soif, Jamie Stunt

Jamie Stunt and Marc Doiron won silver and bronze, respectively, at last year’s GMP, so they get an automatic invite for a shot at the top prize. (Gold medalist Joe Thottungal gets a spot at the judges table.) Stunt also won gold in 2012, and silver at the 2013 CCC, when he led the kitchen at OZ Kafé. Kevin Benes of Hintonburg’s Carben restaurant will also be a second-time competitor. Les Fougeres, the long-running Chelsea restaurant, has competed at both the regional and national levels in the past under co-owner/chef Charles Part, a wily veteran of this event. But this will be a first-time for chef Yannick LaSalle who now helms Les Fougeres’ kitchen. First time, too, for the new-ish La Maison Conroy in Aylmer, though not for its chef Kyle Mortimer-Proulx, who competed in the 2014 GMP.

As for the balance of the slate, chefs Jeff Bradfield, Walid El-Tawel, Steve Harris, and Briana Kim are all newbies to this competition.

Chef Joe Thottungal’s won gold with this halibut dish in 2016
Chef Joe Thottungal’s won gold with this halibut dish in 2016

I’m proud of this talented field of chefs, and expect some tasty, inventive plates.

Joining me at the judging table will be James Chatto, GMP’s national head judge; Judson Simpson, executive chef of the House of Commons; and Sheila Whyte, owner of Thyme & Again Creative Catering. We welcome to this year’s panel chef Marc Lepine of Atelier (four-time GMP competitor, and two-time champion at both city and national levels) and chef Joe Thottungal, last year’s GMP winner (and this year’s silver medallist at the Canadian Culinary Championship).

Margaret Dickensen and Pam Collacott have retired from GMP judging duty. I am so grateful to them both for the many years they volunteered their time, their palates, their wisdom and their company to this competition.

Thursday, November 9th at the Shaw Centre should be a delicious night. All the details are here.