Eating & Drinking

Ottawa chef Marc Lepine doing battle at Canadian Culinary Championships

Ottawa chef Marc Lepine, left, and his team, sous chef Jason Sawision and chef de partie Justin Champagne, are competing in the Canadian Culinary Championships this weekend. Photo by Anne DesBrisay, Ottawa Magazine.


The Canadian Culinary Championships are underway in Kelowna, B.C., where Ottawa is being represented by Atelier’s Marc Lepine.

The competition features 11 winning chefs from Gold Medal Plates contests across Canada in a high-stress battle for kitchen supremacy. Judges evaluate the chefs’ work based on taste, texture, presentation, technical elements, compatibility with a specific libation, and what Ottawa Magazine‘s restaurant critic Anne DesBrisay calls “the wow factor.”

And Lepine knows how to wow, having won the 10th annual Gold Medal Plates competition in November and returning to Kelowna as a former winner — Lepine took the national title in 2012. But Lepine is one of six returning champs at this year’s event, facing stiff competition from chefs representing top restaurants across Canada.

Judges had an opportunity to savour the chefs’ food in the highly anticipated “black box” event on Saturday afternoon. The black box event always gets lots of buzz and is described by contest organizers as  “an Iron Chef”-style contest.

“Chefs will receive only 10 minutes’ notice and a black box containing a small array of diverse foods” before having to produce and plate an award-winning dish for the judges, the event’s website explains.

The mysterious black box at the Canadian Culinary Championships — chefs were on the clock to prepare its contents. Photo by Anne DesBrisay, Ottawa Magazine.
The mysterious black box at the Canadian Culinary Championships — chefs were on the clock to prepare its contents. Photo by Anne DesBrisay, Ottawa Magazine.

 

Chef Marc Lepine examines contents of the black box. Photo by Anne DesBrisay, Ottawa Magazine.
Chef Marc Lepine examines contents of the black box. Photo by Anne DesBrisay, Ottawa Magazine.

The contents this year? Ground elk, squid, peanuts, capers, seaweed, salsify, and red lentils. From this mix, Lepine chose to prepare a squid and seafood salad.

Chef Marc Lepines dish from the black box portion of the competition. Photo by Anne DesBrisay, Ottawa Magazine.
Chef Marc Lepine’s dish from the black box portion of the competition. Photo by Anne DesBrisay, Ottawa Magazine.

The contest continues tonight with the winner expected to be announced after midnight, Ottawa time. DesBrisay is a senior judge at the championships and will be reporting on the final result as soon as it is announced. Watch this site for the big announcement, and return  Sunday, when DesBrisay will have all the behind-the-scenes info on the big competition, the winners, and all the best plates.

Canadian Culinary Championships, 2016.
Canadian Culinary Championships, 2016.