Ladies and gents, loosen your belts…
One week from tonight, on November 9th, 10 National Capital Region chefs will be duking it out at the 10th annual Ottawa Gold Medal Plates competition held for the second year in the Canada Hall of the Shaw Centre.
- James Bratsberg from MeNa
- Jean-Claude Chartrand from L’Orée du Bois
- Trisha Donaldson from Ace Mercado
- Jordan Holley from El Camino
- Jonathan Korecki from e18hteen
- Marc Lepine from atelier
- John Morris from le café at the National Arts Centre
- Tim Stock from Play FOOD & WINE
- Jon Svazas from Fauna
- Joe Thottungal from Coconut Lagoon
Nine of these chefs are from Ottawa. One is from Chelsea. Three have been GMP competitors in the past. Seven are newbies and, for the first time, these are from first-time-competing restaurants as well. (In past years, the chef might have been new to the competition, but the restaurant had been represented before.)
The youngest restaurant competing this year is Fauna — chef/owner Jon Svazas — which just turned one. The oldest is L’Orée du Bois, now in its 36th year. Which certainly makes it the most senior independent restaurant to compete in any Ottawa GMP, and I would guess possibly the oldest nation-wide as well. But it’s just a guess…
What’s not a guess is that this year’s lineup should yield some mighty tasty plates.
This will be a third year competing for chef Jonathan Korecki of restaurant e18hteen (and Sidedoor). Korecki has podiumed twice, taking silver in 2013 and bronze in 2012. It’s a second year for the National Arts Centre’s executive chef John Morris, who won bronze last year. Marc Lepine of atelier, you may recall, won gold in the 2011 GMP, and then went on to win it all at the national competition in Kelowna, becoming the 2012 Canadian Culinary Champion. Having sat out, as the rules say he must, for at least three years, he’s coming back for another kick at the can.
Some are from restaurants still in their infancy — Fauna, MeNa, Ace Mercado — and others from well-established places —atelier, Coconut Lagoon, Play Food & Wine and L’Orée du Bois. But only one will win gold and go on to the next level, representing our city at the Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna in February.
All the best to all the chefs in this year’s cook off. All for a cause, of course. The Gold Medal Plates, through its series of cross-Canada culinary competitions, raises funds to support Canadian Olympic athletes.
My thanks, as ever, to my fellow culinary judges: to Sheila Whyte, Chef Judson Simpson, Pam Collacott, Margaret Dickenson, GMP culinary advisor James Chatto, and this year we welcome chef Patrick Garland of Absinthe to the table, our 2014 GMP champion.