DesBrisay Dines

ANNE’S PICK: Announcing the competing chefs for Gold Medal Plates 2013 — Anne DesBrisay’s behind-the-scenes analysis

Last year's winner, Oz Kafe's Jamie Stunt (centre), is flanked by Arc's Jason Duffy (left) and Sidedoor's Jonathan Korecki

The point of this pick is threefold. To tell you the lineup of competing chefs for the 2013 Ottawa-Gatineau Gold Medal Plates just announced, to tell you a bit about each of them, and to suggest that if you aren’t familiar with any one of them (and even if you are) get out to their restaurants to test their wares – each brings a lot to the table.

Seven months from next week, at the National Arts Centre on November 18th, these eight chefs will be dishing up their most awesome effort for a few hundred guests and a panel of judges.

Here’s the list:

From Beckta Dining and Wine, Katie Brown

From The Wellington Gastropub, Chris Deraiche

From Town, Marc Doiron

From ARC Lounge.Dining, Jason Duffy

From the Carleton Grill, Sheraton Hotel, Frédéric Filliodeau

From OdileMarisol Foucault

From Sidedoor, Jonathan Korecki

From NavarraRené Rodriguez

These are all restaurant chefs, accessible to the public and with the support of a team (some small, others sizeable) behind them. Four of these chefs have competed in past GMPs.  Jonathan Korecki and Jason Duffy both podiumed last year. We invited them back, as we like to do, for another crack at it, and perhaps the chance to represent Ottawa at the Canadian Culinary Championships in February. We have the pleasure of Chris Deraiche (The Wellington Gastropub) competing for a second year as well. And we haven’t seen René Rodriguez at this competition since 2009, when his Navarra was but a baby, not the seasoned restaurant it is today.

Executive chef Michael Moffatt won gold in 2010 for Beckta Dining and Wine, but this will be Beckta Chef de Cuisine Katie Brown’s first go-round. First time too, for Marc Doiron of Town Restaurant and for Gatineau’s Marisol Foucault, who will represent her second restaurant, the teeny tiny Odile.

Finally, and also new to Gold Medal Plates competition, but hardly unseasoned in the art of culinary competition, is Frédéric Filliodeau of the Sheraton Hotel’s increasingly impressive Carleton Grill. French-born, his career has taken him to many kitchens in France and Canada, including to Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, where he was Executive Chef during a period when Signatures was really one of the region’s finest French restaurants.

So there you have it. Some chefs from humble places, some with the might of a hotel chain behind them. But if we’ve learned one thing from Gold Medal Plates competitions, it’s that the dark horses are not to be discounted. Sometimes the chef from the tiniest restaurant takes home the gold… and then goes on to make us proud at the national level.

Marc Lepine, from the 22-seat Atelier, stood tallest on the Ottawa podium and then took the title handily of ‘Canadian Culinary Champion’ for 2012. And earlier this year Jamie Stunt, from the little OZ Kafé, won the silver medal at the CCC, propelled by a dish of yak bolstered with a bottle of  beer. You should’ve been there!

Anything goes, as they say. Book a table, folks, and best of luck to them all!