Canada’s Great Kitchen Party a delicious success in OttawaPublished on October 12, 2018

  • Daniela Manrique Yannick LaSalle Jason Sawision

  • Chef Jason Sawision of Stofa Restaurant

  • Chef Daniela Manrique of The Soca Kitchen

  • Daniela Manrique - silver medal dish of Hamachi crudo and roasted Secreto Iberico

  • Jason Sawision of Stofa Restaurant bronze medal dish of glazed duck breast with Nam Prik black eyed peas and duck sausage

  • Yannick LaSalle - gold medal dish of duck with beets red currants black walnuts and black garlic mustard

  • Chef Yannick LaSalle of Restaurant Les Fougeres

Let’s call it one of the most delicious rebrandings ever. Canada’s most prestigious culinary competition, formerly called Gold Medal Plates, is now Canada’s Great Kitchen Party and the Ottawa edition took place at Shaw Centre on October 11. Ten of our city’s finest chefs duelled to reach the podium, with the gold medallist now set to join competitors from ten other cities at the Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna in February. The other winners, of course, are the young rising stars who will benefit from the funds raised to support B2ten (sport), MusicCounts and Community Food Centres Canada. As always, our Ottawa chefs turned out remarkable plates reflective of our city’s flourishing food scene and surely made the judges’ job quite difficult this year.

Last year’s silver medalist, Yannick LaSalle of Restaurant Les Fougeres, took this year’s top honours with a lovely duck magret accented with local beets, red currants, black walnuts and black garlic mustard. It paired beautifully with Meldville Wines’ 2015 second edition Cabernet Franc from Niagara’s Lincoln Lakeshore region.

The Soca Kitchen’s Daniela Manrique, in her second appearance at the competition, delivered a flavourful, silver medal winning plate of Hamachi crudo with roasted Secreto Iberico pork, a Pedro ximenez wine and black garlic vinaigrette, crispy capers, kaffir lime compressed pearl onions, Acadian caviar and more. The accompanying wine was Thirty Bench’s 2016 Small Lot Chardonnay from Niagara’s Beamsville Bench.

First time competitor Jason Sawision of Stofa Restaurant secured bronze with an impressive dish of Hudson Valley miso-honey glazed duck breast, Thai chili seasoned black eyed peas, duck sausage and dashi duck jus. It was paired with a 2016 Cabernet Franc from Niagara’s Domaine Queylus.

There were three other rookies at the Canada’s Great Kitchen Party. Restaurant e18teen’s Dave Godsoe offered a trio of tender and tasty treats all featuring Wagyu beef from Kingston’s Otter Creek Farms. His wine pairing was a bold 2017 Syrah from Niagara’s Big Head Winery. Oz Kafe’s Kristine Hartling presented tender braised wild boar shoulder, corn cream, cinnamon cap mushrooms, plum preserve and more, paired with The Grange of Prince Edward County’s 2013 Estate Grown Cabernet Franc Reserve. Kris Kshonze of Soif bar à vin went bold with only a minimum of protein on his plate, composed of whey-glazed roasted pumpkin, ground cherries, chanterelle mushrooms, smoked fish roe and sea asparagus. The pairing was a beautiful honey-tinged sparkling wine called Beezz de Fun from Desrochers’ Ferme-Neuve in the Hautes-Laurentides region of Quebec.

The returning competitors included Adam Vettorel from North and Navy who riffed on one of his restaurant’s popular dishes, serving up potato Mantovani (a stuffed pasta) in potato skin with a Parmesan broth, accompanied by Hinterland Winery’s 2014 Les Etoiles from Prince Edward County. Rich Wilson from Gezellig presented a pretty dish of BC Humboldt squid, aguachile, whipped avocado and smoked oyster mayonnaise, paired with Southbrook’s 2016 Triomphe Riesling from Niagara. Mena’s James Bratsberg delivered duck in the form of a pistachio-stuffed duck breast and a duck leg and fois gras croquette, accented by a sauce Périgueux and accompanied by a wine from Niagara’s Stratus Vineyard. Last year’s bronze medalist, Steve Harris of two six {ate}, offered a playful plate reminiscent of the finest charcuterie boards, featuring house-made cheese, Vietnamese-style goat meat bologna, white kimchi cucuamelon, pickled mustard greens, goat bone jelly and a whole lot more. His pairing was Trail Estate’s 2017 Sin Fermented Gewürztraminer from Niagara’s Four Mile Creek.

While the food was spectacular, it was nicely accented by the efforts of emcee Scott Russell and the live entertainment provided by legendary Canadian rockers Tom Cochrane and Barney Bentall. Rounding out the stage show was a most impressive parade of Olympians and Paralympians. The rebranding seems to have produced a slightly more relaxed vibe that suits the spirit of a kitchen party very well.

Read more about this year’s competitors in the September 2018 edition of Ottawa At Home.

Paula Roy

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