OTTAWA - A qualification event for the Canadian Culinary Championships

Event Chair: Denise Carpenter



Gold Medallist: Marc Lepine - Atelier. Paired with Hidden Bench Vineyards & Winery 2009 Chardonnay
Silver Medallist: Caroline Ishii - ZenKitchen. Paired with Cave Spring Cellars 2009 Estate Bottled Chenin Blanc
Bronze Medallist: Charles Part - Restaurant Les Fougères. Paired with Norman Hardie Winery & Vineyard 2009 Chardonnay


JAMES CHATTO'S REPORT (www.jameschatto.com)

Warm sunshine in mid-November (!) and Ottawa looked particularly stately and welcoming. Last night, we returned to the National Arts Centre for our Gold Medal Plates event (long ago sold out with around 500 attendees). Bidding was gratifyingly brisk during the live auction, the energy levels spiked thanks to inspiring musical performances from Jim Cuddy, Anne Lindsay and Kathleen Edwards. I love how the configuration of the NAC lets the chefs' brigades watch the stage during the second half of the evening, lining the balcony and grand staircase for the best view in the house.

Mixologist Dave Mitton from the Harbord Room in Toronto travelled with us to demonstrate some superb cocktails. This time I tried his awesome Pear & Cinnamon Sour made with Alberta Premium rye, cinnamon syrup, fresh pear puree, egg white and freshly grated nutmeg. Thick, rich but also refreshing, it was subtly fruity and tingled with the flavours of Christmas spices.

The judges have a private room of their own at the NAC (out of space-management necessity rather than choice) but it allowed us unusual freedoms in our discussions and commentaries. Senior Judge for Ottawa-Gatineau, Anne DesBrisay, led the team, ably abetted by author, educator and celebrity chef, Pam Collacott, author and Canadian culinary ambassador, Margaret Dickenson, by Judson Simpson, who is executive Chef at the House of Commons and National President of the Canadian Culinary Federation, and by last year's Ottawa-Gatineau champion, Chef Michael Moffatt of Beckta Dining & Wine.

It was our shared opinion, as the evening progressed, that the city had really raised its game this year. Most dishes were decidedly complex, and all of them looked sensational. But while we do award marks for imagination and presentation, we award more for taste: flavour even edging texture on our scorecard. Our bronze winner had flavour in spades, a dish from a previous gold medallist, Charles Part of Les Fougères in Chelsea, Quebec. He began with lambs from Berg en Dal farm, 25 minutes from his restaurant, roasting the little tenderloins to pink perfection, making a sausage from the fatted shoulder meat and minced roasted red pepper and slow-braising the shank, neck, rib and leg meat. This tasty mix of meats was stirred up with dreid cranberries and a touch of preserved lemon then wrapped in bright green spinach leaves. The lamb bones were turned, over several days, into a delectably savoury jus that underpinned all three elements. Sharing the plate were soft shards of fennel and red onion, a stripe of silky fennel purée and a little rampart of alternating dice of salty, pungent preserved lemon and creamy ewe's-milk feta from Folies Bergères. There was fennel seed and tarragon in there too, but the taste of the lamb sung through it all. The wine? Chef Part surprised us all by pairing the dish with a white – a minerally, judiciously oaked 2009 Chardonnay from Norman Hardie in Prince Edward County: it worked particularly well with the lemon and fennel flavours.

Our silver medal, for the second year in a row, went to Caroline Ishii of ZenKitchen, a vegetarian restaurant and one of Ottawa's finest. Chef Ishii described it as dedicated to the memory of her mother's home cooking when she was growing up in Japan – and also to the flavours of the fall. It was a dish of many components: a pan-fried gyoza dumpling stuffed with chopped shiitake and oyster mushrooms and a little kimchee beside a smear of subtly spiced "Japanese curry" sauce; a "lollipop" of rich, soft, grilled eggplant, salty and sweet beneath its yuzu-Asian pear dengaku sauce; a sturdy grilled onigiri rice cake folded around a stripe of shiso-umebochi pesto; a chunk of roasted kabocha squash with an apple-butter miso glaze; a most beautiful crimson square of tissue-thin pickled watermelon radish; a final garnish of a crispy wheel of lotus root dusted with matcha-wakame salt; and three dots of very spicy persimmon-mango-habanero hot sauce for those who wanted to turn up the heat. As I said, a complex dish with masses of autumnal flavours going on, but Ishii's refined aesthetic made a harmony out of all the flavours. Her wine was a personal favourite of mine, Cave Spring Cellars's 2009 Chenin Blanc, its lovely intensity reaching in and through the exotic ingredients.

Our gold medallist was competing for the third time, though he had never reached the podium before – Marc Lepine of Atelier, a young chef renowned as Ottawa's master of molecular cuisine. In the past, his dishes have seemed overly intellectual to some of the judges. Last night, he tempered his tastes a tad to please the crowd as much as astonish it – and the move paid off. At the heart of the dish was a perfectly seared Qualicum Beach scallop, gilded by the pan but trembling and opalescent at its heart. It basked in a thick, smooth purée of truffle-scented, aerated potato that hid the treasures beneath its surface – smooth, slippery pickled chanterelles, bacon and fennel, two crispy chorizo meatballs, celery that had been compressed with sambucca, a secondary sauce of lemon thyme and shallots… The flavours were well-judged in their intensity and I began to enjoy the realisation that I had no idea what I might find under the scallop. Across the top of the bowl (by serving it in a bowl, Chef Lepine made sure that we would eat the dish as he wished, tasting many things on each forkful instead of analyzing every separate element) across the bowl he set a crisp yellow paper that crumbled into shards and was made, by I know not what kind of monkey business, out of celery root. It was dabbed with caviar and white powdered bacon that tasted of maltose. As a final flourish, Chef squirted an atomizer of sambucca and lemon verbena over the top of the dish. His wine was one of many Chardonnays chosen last night – a delicious 2009 from Hidden Bench Vineyards in Niagara that played beautifully with the scallop.

And so it only remains to finish our campaign in St. John's on Thursday then our table will be set for the big game in Kelowna next year. Good luck to all our valiant contenders.


A White Wine Tour de Force

The chefs of the nation’s capital were part of a country-wide trend in choosing predominantly white wines to match their creations. There were only three reds poured.  All but one of the wines were from Ontario, so again riesling figured heavily on the menus, along with chardonnay. And the pairings with the white wines were quite bold with two of them matched to meat dishes.

I was joined on the judging panel by two prominent local wine experts. Rod Phillips is the wine columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, the author of several wine books, and judges several competitions. Janet Dorozynski is Wine Advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and standing judge for the Canadian Wine Awards. Both teamed up to create the Ottawa Wine Challenge, a competition for wines poured at the Ottawa Wine and Food Festival which ended the day before our GMP event. So thanks to Rod and Janet for staying the course!

The judging for Best of Show Award was not as easy as in other cities, with no unanimous choices. But with Painted Rock 2010 Chardonnay from British Columbia receiving two first-place votes, it was the winner.  Things became even closer thereafter, with Hidden Bench 2009 Chardonnay taking second-spot, and Château des Charmes 2007 Old Vines Riesling in third.  Hidden Bench Chardonnay was also paired with gold medal winning chef Marc Lepine of L’Atelier.

The other Chef Paired wines included: Trius 2010 Cabernet Franc, Angels Gate 2010 Gewurztraminer, Cave Spring 2009 Estate Chenin Blanc, Ravine 2010 Sand and Gravel Chardonnay, Norman Hardie 2009 Niagara Chardonnay, Huff Estates 2007 Merlot-Cabernet (drinking beautifully) and Lailey 2010 Pinot Noir.
The Celebration wines were an exact duplication of those poured in Toronto, so many thanks again to Tawse, Malivoire, Trius and Black Hills for their exceptional generosity in supplying two cities. In the VIP Reception guests enjoyed the slender, refreshing L’Acadie Vineyards 2008 Brut Prestige sparkler.


2011 Competing Chefs

Matthew Brearley - Castlegarth Restaurant
Matthew Carmichael - E18ghteen
Ross Fraser and Simon Fraser - Fraser Café
Michael Hay - Courtyard Restaurant
Caroline Ishii - ZenKitchen
Patricia Larkin - Black Cat Bistro
Marc Lepine - Atelier
Charles Part - Restaurant Les Fougères
Lili Sullivan - East and Main
Steve Wall - Luxe Bistro


2011 Judges

James Chatto
Anne DesBrisay

Margaret Dickenson

Judson Simpson

Pam Collacott

Chef Michael Moffatt



GOLD - MICHAEL MOFFATT - Beckta Dining and Wine : Paired with Fielding Estates Winery
SILVER - CAROLINE ISHII - ZenKitchen : Paired with Angels Gate Winery

BRONZE - ROSS & SIMON FRASER - Fraser Café : Paired with Hillebrand Estates Winery 

Gold: Chef Matthew Carmichael, Restaurant E18hteen
Silver: Chef Michael Blackie, Le Cafe at the National Arts Centre
Bronze: Chef Ben Baird, The Urban Pear

Gold: Chef Charles Part, Restaurant Les Fougères
Silver: Chef Matthew Carmichael, Restaurant E18hteen
Bronze: Chef Stev George, Olivea

Gold: Chef Michael Moffat, Beckta Dining & Wine
Silver: Chef Matthew Carmichael, Restaurant E18hteen
Bronze: Chef Ben Baird, The Urban Pear

Gold: Chef Michael Blackie, Brookstreet
Silver: Chef Hector Diaz, Arôme
Bronze: Chef Charles Part, Restaurant Les Fougères


James Chatto's 2010 Report (www.jameschatto.com)

Last night, Gold Medal Plates settled in to the National Arts Centre in the heart of Ottawa for the penultimate event of the regional campaign. I don’t think another guest could have been squeezed in but the mood was merry and energetic, enlivened by the 100-or-so sous chefs, cooks and accomplices who manned the chefs’ stations and then lined the mezzanine balcony, looking down on the splendour of the celebration tables. It’s the first time we’ve ever had a “peanut gallery” but it was a great place to enjoy the show put on by the athletes (led by Alexandre Bilodeau) and our genius troubadours Jim Cuddy, Anne Lindsay, Holly Cole and Aaron Davis.

The evening began with the VIP reception where last year’s local champion (and Canadian Culinary Championship bronze medallist) Matthew Carmichael served superb spot prawn tacos (divine with our Ontario bubblies). Then, promptly at six o’clock, the serious eating began. Without exception, this year’s dishes were imaginatively complex, elaborately garnished and beautiful to look at. The judges, sequestered for once in their own lair, were divided about the eventual order of the gold and silver medallists – but when the marks were finally totalled a clear winner emerged.

Our bronze medal was awarded to Ross and Simon Fraser, brothers, co-chefs and owners of Fraser Café. Their dish consisted of two major elements. To the right, a well seasoned, pan-seared fillet of ling cod was admirably moist and fluffy, sitting above a lightweight but appropriately spicy curry of fenugreek and brown mustardseeds in a delicate coconut sauce. Cubes of juicy white melon mitigated the chili heat in the curry. A crisp miniature papadom sat on the fish like a jaunty hat. On the other side of the plate, the chefs had julienned a cool, crunchy slaw of cucumber, carrot and radish and crowned it with a plump B.C. spot prawn – a delicious mouthful. While the two parts of the dish were unabashedly distinct they shared a most attractive balance of flavour intensities. The chefs chose the crisp, aromatic 2008 Artist Series Gewurztraminer from Hillebrand Estate Winery in Niagara, Ontario.

Taking the silver medal, Chef Caroline Ishii of Zen Kitchen presented the first-ever vegan dish in Gold Medal Plates history. It looked spectacular, topped with a crisp tube of fried, applewood-smoked yuba (dried soy milk skin) filled with fermented macadamia curd that tasted like richly nutty cream cheese. The principal element was a ragout of exotic mushrooms from local grower Le Coprin and a drum of polenta, creamy within, golden and crispy on the surface. A thin disc of beet-and-red-pepper aspic crowned the drum, which sat on two little sheets of seared green kale dressed with a kombu-plum wine vinaigrette. A conserve of fruity passilla peppers finished a most seductive dish. Chef Ishii’s wine was the crisp, refreshing 2008 Archangel Sparkling Pinot Noir from Angels Gate winery in Niagara, Ontario.

Our gold medal was won by Chef Michael Moffatt of Beckta Dining & Wine, who also won gold in 2007. His dish consisted of three separate components and Chef explained the order in which they should be eaten. To begin, a slice of bacon-wrapped rabbit terrine sat on a crisp horseradish cracker. “Making terrines is becoming a lost art,” pointed out one of the judges, but Moffatt has clearly mastered it. This one was packed densely with lean, tender meat and crowned with a little relish of pickled watermelon rind and some opal basil seedlings. The second part of the dish was a fork upon which was impaled the super-tender tentacles of a grilled squid which were wrapped tightly with freshly made herb linguine dressed with a rich, velvet-textured bonemarrow butter sauce. “When you’ve eaten it, use the fork for the third element,” instructed Chef Moffatt, referring to slices of duck breast, seared to give just the right amount of texture to the skin while rendering down the fat beneath it but leaving the tender flesh attractively pink. Hidden beneath the duck lay some crunchy, intensely flavourful kimchi of cabbage, green bean and garlic scapes. Chef Moffatt turned to a generously fruity, off-dry aromatic white for his pairing – the 2008 Pinot Gris from Fielding Estates in Niagara.

So our team of gastronomic gladiators for next February’s Canadian Culinary Championship is almost complete. Martin Juneau from La Montée in Montreal, Andrew Fung from Blackhawk Golf Club outside Edmonton, Robert Clark of C in Vancouver, Dan Walker of Weczeria Food and Wine in Saskatoon, Frank Dodd of Hillebrand Winery restaurant in Niagara, Duncan Ly of Hotel Arts Raw Bar in Calgary and now Michael Moffatt of Beckta Dining & Wine in Ottawa will line up against whoever emerges as the winner of our last event in St. John’s on Thursday night. The excitement grows.


The Gold Medal Plates Wine and Beverage Report 2010
By David Lawrason

The sold out, eight-city 2010 Gold Medal Plates tour showcased the products of a record 62 Canadian wineries, cideries, sake producers, breweries and distillers –  with 17 participating in more than one city, and five in three or more cities.  They donated over 400 cases to be enjoyed by over 4,500 guests coast to coast.  My deepest thanks to the industry for its support and largesse for supporting what has become the largest national showcase for Canadian wine.

Seven wineries will be accompanying their Gold Medal Chefs to the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, B.C. in February.  There are eight cities competing in Kelowna but B.C.s Road 13 Winery has pulled off the impossible by winning in two cities – Edmonton and Saskatoon. Other CCC wineries are Black Hills and Tantalus from B.C.;  Hillebrand Trius, Fielding Estate and Ravine from Ontario, and La Face Cachée de la Pomme from Quebec. 

The winning wineries do not have to use the same wine that won gold, but they must work with the chef to find a great match within their portfolio.  The food and wine pairing is scored by the judges and in a close race with so much talent in the room, it could make the difference.   The tension will be running high.
I was particularly pleased by two new developments in the 2010 campaign.  In keeping with other dramatic improvements in the Celebration program, the wine quality jumped this year as donors generously came up with some of Canada’s top wines for hundreds of guests.  Laughing Stock Vineyards of B.C. poured its 2007 Portfolio in Edmonton and Saskatoon, and La Vieux Pin opened  its 2007 Merlot in Vancouver and La Stella 2007 Fortissimo Calgary. Malivoire Wine Company of Niagara poured its 2009 Gamay and Guilty Men White in Toronto and Ottawa.  Up to 20 cases were donated to the Celebrations in each city.

Rickards Red also generously donated their range of Canadian brews to the Celebrations and VIP Receptions in all cities.

For the first time Gold Medal Plates welcomed new, small Canadian distillers to festivities.  We were particularly thrilled to test drive Victoria Gin in martinis served at the VIP Receptions in Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.  This small Vancouver Island based distillery is just breaking into markets across the country and promises to be back nationwide in 2012.  In Toronto and Ottawa we also poured a new Canadian “white” rye whiskey called White Owl, by Alberta’s Highwood Distillers. Thanks very much to Ontario agent Woodman Wines and Spirits for arranging this special cameo appearances.

In another departure for 2010, Canadian sparkling wine producers who won medals in the Canadian Wine Awards were approached to donate their gold and silver medal winning wines to the VIP Receptions.  The east-west mix was excellent with Hillebrand Trius Brut from Niagara offered in most cities, as were B.C.’s See Ya Later Ranch Brut and Sumac Ridge Steller’s Jay Brut – both Vincor properties.  B.C.’s Blue Mountain Brut was poured in Vancouver and Toronto. L’Acadie Brut from Nova Scotia was poured in St. Johns and Toronto as well.  Grange of Prince Edward 2007 Brut was shown in Toronto and Ottawa, and Henry of Pelham Cuvee Catharine was also  poured in Toronto. 

But as always it was the chef/winery pairings that provided the real fireworks and stoked much of the conversation.  Here are the list of wineries, with the chefs and restaurants, city by city, with the Gold, Silver and Bronze medalists heading each section.   Cities are listed in the chronological order of the date the their competition was held.

The Competition Wines, Chefs and Restaurants

MONTREAL    October 19
La Face Cachée de la Pomme Dégel  Martin Juneau - La Montée  (GOLD)
Osoyoos Larose 2006, Marc-André Royal - Le St-Urbain (SILVER)                
Malivoire 2008 Gamay, Michel Ross - MAS Cuisine (BRONZE)
Junmai Nama Nigori Sake, Darren Bergeron – Decca 77                 
Nichol Vineyard 2006 St. Laurent 2006, Derek Damann – DNA 
Quail’s Gate 2009 Dry Riesling, Alexandre Gosselin - Bar & Boeuf            
Stratus 206 White,  Alexandre Loiseau – Cocagne           
Lailey 2007 Cabernet Franc Francis Pouliot – Laurie-Raphaël, Hôtel Germain 

Road 13 2008 Jackpot Pinot Noir 2008, Andrew Fung - Blackhawk Golf Course  (GOLD)
Tinhorn Creek 2009 Gewurztraminer , Michael Brown  - Pradera, The Westin  (SILVER)
Wayne Gretzky 2005 Vidal Icewine,  Shane Chartrand  - L2 Fantasyland Hotel  (BRONZE)
La Stella 2009 Unoaked Chardonnay,  Paul Campbell  - Café de Ville  
Mission Hill 2007 Shiraz,  Christophe Ithurritze - Sage Restaurant   
Hillside Estate 2009 Gewurztraminer, Susan Kellock - Skinny Legs and Cowgirls   
Quail’s Gate 2008 Old Vines Foch, Tracy Lydtser                - Dish      
Le Vieux Pin 2007 Merlot, David Omar - ZINC       
Cedar Creek Estate 2008 Chardonnay,  Paul Shufelt - Hundred Bar and Kitchen  
Sandhill 2005 Barbera Small Lots, Jan Trittenbach  - Packrat Louie Kitchen & Bar  


Black Hills Estate 2009 Viognier , Robert Clark - C   (GOLD) 
Tantalus 2009 Riesling, Dale Mackay  - Lumiere                 (SILVER)
Foxtrot Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir, Neil Taylor - Cibo Trattoria (BRONZE)               
La Stella 2009 Pinot Grigio Vivace,  Darren Brown - Coast            
Sandhill 2009 Small Lots Viognier ,  Quang Dang - Diva at the Met  
Aces Okanagan Estate Pocket King , Stuart Klassen  - Delta Grand Kelowna 
Painted Rock Red 2007 Icon, Nick Nutting - The Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino
8th Generation 2009 Chardonnay Frizzante, Nico Schuermans  - Chambar            
Quail’s Gate 2009 Pinot Noir, Roger Sleiman , Quails Gate Winery, Kelowna
Laughing Stock 2007 Portfolio,  Cam Smith & Dana Ewarts - Joy Road, Penticton

Road 13 2008 Rockpile, Dan Walker - Weczeria Food & Wine  (GOLD)
Black Hills 2008 Nota Bene 2008, Ryan Marquis - Delta Bessborough (SILVER)
Peller Estates 2008 Pinot Blanc, Anthony McCarthy -  Saskatoon Club (BRONZE)
Tree Brewing Hop Head IPA, Malcolm Craig - Beer Bros. Bakery & Cuisine, Regina
Morning Bay 2005 Merlot, Kevin Dahlsjo - Sublime Catering, Prince Albert  
Noble Ridge 2007 Pinot Noir, Tim Davies - Willow on Wascana, Regina 
Orofino 2009 Riesling, Lee Helman - Truffles Bistro
Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series 2006 Merlot, Leo Pantel - Conexus Arts Centre, Regina  
Cave Spring 2008 Pinot Noir, Rusty Penno - The Boffins Club
Lake Breeze 2009 Pinot Gris, Peter Phillips - Riverside Country Club

Trius Red 2008,  Frank Dodd,  Hillebrand Winery, Niagara (GOLD)
Hidden Bench 2008 Estate Chardonnay, Lorenzo Loseto – George (SILVER)                            
Henry of Pelham 2007 Baco Noir Reserve,  Michael Steh               - Reds    (BRONZE)
Tawse 2009 Pinot Noir, Ted Corrado - C5                                
Cave Spring 2008 Chenin Blanc, Jonathan Gushue - Langdon Hall, Cambridge
Southbrook 2007 Poetica Cabernet Merlot, Jamie Kennedy - Gilead Bistro        
Organized Crime 2008 Cabernet Franc , Lora Kirk - Ruby Watchco            
Konzelmann 2007 4 Generations Merlot,  Martin Kouprie - Pangaea                                         
Norman Hardie 2008 County Chardonnay,  Anthony Walsh - Canoe                          
Stratus Red 2006, Anne Yarymowich - Frank                         

CALGARY   Nov 12
Tantalus 2008 Pinot Noir,  Duncan Ly - Raw Bar Hotel Arts (GOLD)
Noble Ridge 2007 Pinot Noir, Shaun Desaulniers  - Belgo               (SILVER)
Laughing Stock 2009 Chardonnay, Justin Leboe  - Model Milk  (BRONZE)      
Laughing Stock 2007 Meritage Blend,  Jared Alvey - Petite                             
Black Hills 2007 Carmenere,  Cam Dobranski  - Muse                      
Black Hills 2009 Alibi,  Chris Grafton - Murrieta’s              
Summerhill Pyramid Pinot Noir Brut,  Charlie Holschuh - Bavarian Inn  
Sandhill Estate 2007 Three , Andrew Keen - Chop Steakhouse and Bar 
Henry of Pelham 2006 Select late Harvest Vidal, Bob Matthews - La Chaumière   
Desert Hills Winery 2009 Gamay, Paul Rogalski  - Rouge               

OTTAWA   Nov 16
Fielding Estates 2008 Pinot Gris,  Michael Moffatt - Beckta Dining and Wine  (GOLD)
Angels Gate 2008 Archangel Sparkling Pinot Noir, Caroline Ishii - Zen Kitchen (SILVER)
Hillebrand 2008 Artist Gewurztraminer,  Ross & Simon Fraser  - Fraser Café (BRONZE)
Niagara College 2007 Dean’s List Meritage,  Ben Baird - The Urban Pear 
Vineland Estate 2008 Chenin Blanc, Charlotte Langley - Whalesbone Oyster House
Cave Springs 2009 Gewurztraminer,  Marc Lepine - Atelier                           
Norman Hardie 2008 County Pinot Noir, Steve Mitton - Murray Street  
Sandbanks Winter Harvest 2008 Vidal, Charles Part - Les Fougères, Gatineau 
Rosehall Run 2008 Pinot Noir, Michael Potters - Harvest, Picton  
Casa-Dea 2009 Chardonnay,  Rene Rodriguez - Navarra                

ST. JOHN’S  Nov 18
Ravine Vineyards 2008 Merlot,  Jeremy Charles – Raymonds (GOLD)
Shiver Vodka (Nfld), Tak Ishiwata – Basho (SILVER)
Prospect Winery 2007 Haynes Barn Merlot Cabernet,  Roary MacPherson - Sheraton Hotel  (BRONZE)                   
Peninsula Ridge 2008 Viognier, Mike Barsky - Bacalao    
Domaine de Grand Pré 2009 Millot-Pete Luckett Vnyd,  Jason Lynch  - Le Caveau, Wolfville
Tangled Garden Damson & Basil liqueur & Iceberg Gin, Stephen MacDonald -Oliver’s Restaurant          
Trius 2008 Dry Riesling, Mark McCrowe  - Aqua                  
Storm Coffee Porter,  Steve Vardy - Atlantica




GMPThe ballroom of the Hilton Lac Leamy smelled fantastic. The chefs' stations - some soaring, some simple - ringed the room. Tucked in one corner, a comfort cassoulet; in another, a dome of gellied lobster bisque set on a carpaccio of rabbit. There were plates of wild boar and venison and octopus, and many wonderful treatments of parsnip. All ten competing chefs rose to the glittering occasion, and the sold out crowd ate and drank remarkably well.

Chef Charles Part of Les Fougeres in Chelsea, Quebec, winner of the Ottawa-Gatineau Gold Medal Plates competition of 2008, seared a luscious hunk of Baffin Island Arctic Char for the guests at the VIP reception, glazing the fish with maple, and setting it, bronzed and micuit on a parsnip puree laced with sherry.

GMPAwarded the bronze medal this year was Chef Ben Baird of The Urban Pear. His dish was composed of two meaty parts - a clean and refreshing beef tartare, and a gorgeous bone marrow creme brulee, the custard beautifully executed. The two elements were united with a bridge of beef jerky, and beneath, by a rich, gentle-giant of a sauce, brightened with dribs and drabs of carrot jus. To match the dish, the Triomphe Cabernet Merlot, 2005, from Southbrook Winery.

The silver medal was awarded to Chef Michael Blackie of Le Cafe at the National Arts Centre. A dish of many pretty elements, none finer than the 'hemisphere of lobster bisque', the corral dome quivering and splendid, a luscious nugget of lobster meat punched into its core, set on thin leaves of cured rabbit, and draped with a polonaise 'flick' of hard cooked egg, parsley, and citrus zest. His wine match, a Chardonnay-Seyval from Vignoble Les Pervenches, was the lone Quebec wine in the competition.

GMPOur gold medal winner, by a clear margin, was Chef Matthew Carmichael of Restaurant E18hteen. He gave us a pretty line of sea treats set on a smear of curry sauce, bookmarked with little roasted radishes (one stained with turmeric, the other left rosy pink.) In the lineup, a square of loup de mer, crisp skinned and wet fleshed, a nubbly dumpling of rock shrimp crowned with pearls of caviar, and in centre of the plate, a remarkably tender cut of octopus, set on a gentle round of sausage. Threaded through the various elements was the sparkle of kaffir lime leaves. Closson Chase's Chardonnay (2007 South Clos Vineyard, 100% Prince Edward County) seemed a seamless match.

Chef Carmichael now carries on to compete in the Canadian Culinary Championships in Vancouver in late November. Congratulations to him, and to all the competing chefs.

James Chatto
National Culinary Advisor
Gold Medal Plates


By donating over 325 cases of wine to the seven city Gold Medal Plates culinary competitions and the Canadian Culinary Championships this fall, the Canadian wine, beer and spirits industry has contributed close to $100,000 in support of Canada's Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Sixty-five wineries stepped up to either pair wines with the competing chefs or provide Canadian Wine Awards gold medalists to VIP receptions at the events. Please see the list of donating wineries, city by city, below or at https://www.goldmedalplates.com.

The list includes wineries owned by Vincor Canada, official wine sponsor of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Sponsorship however was not involved in deciding which wines were served by the chefs or at the VIP receptions. Each chef selected their wine independently as the success of the food-and-wine pairing was part of the judges' scoring process.

Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has raised over $3.5 million dollars for Canada's Olympians. The program is designed to encourage and showcase Canadian excellence in the areas of sport, food and wine and entertainment, and has evolved to become the leading culinary competition in Canada!

The Winners in 2009

After local competitions in St. John's, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, the 2009 Gold Medal Plates campaign ended with the Canadian Culinary Championships in Vancouver on November 28.

The 2009 Canadian Culinary Champion is Mathieu Cloutier of Kitchen Galerie in Montreal, who paired with Huff Estate 2007 South Bay Chardonnay from Prince Edward County in Ontario. The silver medalist was David Lee of Nota Bene in Toronto, who paired with 13th Street 2008 June Vineyard Riesling from Niagara. Completing the sweep for Ontario wine, the bronze went to Matthew Carmichael of Restaurant 18 in Ottawa, who paired with Closson Chase 2007 South Clos Chardonnay, also from Prince Edward County.

The winery that won the gold in its respective city competition was automatically invited to the Canadian Culinary Championships as a partner with the competing chef. The other participating CCC wineries included the Okanagan's Road 13 which took gold in both the Calgary and Vancouver competitions, Joie Farm (its 2008 Rose took the gold in Edmonton and was also poured in Vancouver) and Hillebrand Estates (its Trius 2006 Red from Niagara took the gold in St. John's).

The Mystery Wine Pairing Competition

One of the most exciting elements of the Canadian Culinary Championships was a Mystery Wine Pairing held at the trendy Republic nightclub in Vancouver. The chefs were given an unlabeled bottle and had 24 hours to shop, prepare and serve a matching dish to 200 guests. Montreal's Mathieu Cloutier was the People's Choice winner of this leg of the competition.

The Mystery Wine was revealed to be Black Hills 2008 Alibi, a crisp, complex sauvignon blanc and semillon blend that provided great refreshment with all the chefs creations then dovetailed beautifully with the best of the evening. Black Hills donated 10 cases to this event, plus another four cases to the Vancouver event, making this premier Okanagan winery the largest single donor to Gold Medal Plates 2009. Many thanks to winery President, Glenn Fawcett, who also generously donated to the Live Auction.

Canadian Wine Awards Gold Medalists Showcase

This year, Gold Medal Plates also teamed up with the Wine Access magazine Canadian Wine Awards to provide an opportunity for almost 2,000 VIP guests to taste gold medalists from the 2009 Awards programs. Wineries that had won gold were asked to donate six bottles to one or more cities, and most came through with flying colours. Those wineries are also listed below, and complete results of the Canadian Wine Awards can be found in the December issue of Wine Access magazine now on newsstands.

The Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards participating wineries:

Burrowing Owl, BC
Fielding Estate, ON
Hillebrand (Trius), ON
Kacaba Vineyards, ON
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery, BC
Quail's Gate Winery, BC
Road 13 Vineyards, BC
Rosehall Run Winery, ON
Sandhill Wines, BC. (CWA Winery of the Year)
See Ya Later Ranch, BC
Seven Stones, BC
Stag's Hollow, BC
Thirty Bench, ON
Thornhaven Estates, BC

The Wines - City by City

St. John's
Trius 2006 Red, Niagara Peninsula, ON - GOLD
Norman Hardie 2007 Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County, ON - SILVER
Prospect Winery 2008 Larch Tree Riesling, Okanagan Valley, B.C. - BRONZE
Domaine Pinnacle Apple Ice Wine, QC
Iceberg Vodka, NL
Inniskillin 2007 Cabernet Franc, Niagara, ON
Mission Hill 2008 Pinot Blanc, Okanagan Valley, BC
Peninsula Ridge 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, Niagara, ON
Rodrigues Markland Cottage Sedna Vodka, NL

Huff Estates 2008 Merlot, ON - GOLD
Malivoire 2007 Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, ON - SILVER
Rosehall Run 2007 Cuvée County Chardonnay, Prince Edward County, ON - BRONZE
Black Prince 2005 First Crush Chardonnay, Prince Edward County, ON
Creemore Springs Brewery, ON
Norman Hardie 2007 Pinot Noir, Prince Edward County, ON
Val Caudalies 2008 Vidal Demi-Sec, QC
Wayne Gretzky No. 99 Estates 2007 Merlot, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Wayne Gretzky No.99 Estates2007 Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, ON

Closson Chase 2007 South Clos Chardonnay, Prince Edward County, ON - GOLD
Vignoble Les Pervenches 2007 Chardonnay Seyval Blanc, QC - SILVER
Southbrook 2005 Cabernet Merlot, Niagara Peninsula, ON - BRONZE
Angel's Gate 2007 Riesling, ON
Cave Spring 2007 Riesling, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Chateau des Charmes 2006 Cabernet-Merlot, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Coyote's Run 2007 Red Paw Pinot Noir, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Peller Estates 2007 Meritage, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Stratus 2007 Wildass White, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Tawse 2006 Echoes White, Niagara Peninsula, ON

13th Street 2008 Riesling June's Vineyard, Niagara Peninsula, ON - GOLD
Daniel Lenko 2007 Gewurztraminer, Niagara Peninsula, ON - SILVER
Cave Spring 2007 Estate Riesling, Niagara Peninsula, ON - BRONZE
Chateau des Charmes 2007 Riesling and 2006 Gamay Noir, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON
Closson Chase 2007 South Clos Chardonnay, Prince Edward County, ON
Fielding Estate 2008 Pinot Gris, Beamsville Bench, ON
Henry of Pelham 2007 Baco Noir, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Hidden Bench 2007 Terroir Caché, Beamsville Bench, ON
Mission Hill 2006 Reserve Merlot, Okanagan, B.C.
Organized Crime 2008 Riesling Reserve, Beamsville Bench, ON

JoieFarm 2008 Rose, Okanagan Valley, BC - GOLD
Kettle Valley 2008, Chardonnay, Naramata, BC - SILVER
Road 13 2007 Syrah 2007, Okanagan Valley BC - BRONZE
Cedar Creek 2006 Meritage, Okanagan Valley, BC
Gehringer Brother PR 2007 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC
Malivoire 2008 Ladybug Rose, Beamsville Bench, ON
Mission Hill 2006 S.L.C Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC
Meyer Family Tribute Series Bill Reid 2007 Chardonnay, Naramata, BC
Morning Bay 2006 Pinot Noir, Pender Island, BC
Quails' Gate 2007 Old Vine Fosch, Okanagan Valley, BC

Road 13 Vineyards 2007 Syrah, Okanagan Valley, BC - GOLD
Quail's Gate Vineyard 2007 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC - SILVER
SAP Vampire Maple Lager - BRONZE
Black Hills 2007 Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC
Blue Mountain 2008 Gamay Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC
Gray Monk Estate Winery, 2007 Riesling, Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Laughing Stock Vineyards 2008 Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC
Nk'mip Cellars 2007 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC
Osoyoos Larose 2004 Petalos, Okanagan Valley, BC

Road 13 2008 Viognier Roussanne Marsanne, Okanagan Valley, BC - GOLD
Tantalus 2008 Riesling, Okanagan Valley, BC - SILVER
Black Hills 2008 Alibi, Okanagan Valley, BC - BRONZE
Blasted Church 2008 Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley, BC
Clos du Soleil 2007 Meritage, Similkameen Valley, BC
8th Generation 200 Riesling, Okanagan Valley, BC
Joie Farm 2007 Reserve Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley, BC
Le Vieux Pin 2008 Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Okanagan Valley, BC
Stoneboat 2007 Pinotage, Okanagan Valley, BC
Wild Goose 2008 Autumm Gold, Okanagan Valley, BC

For more information contact:

David Lawrason
National Wine Advisor
Gold Medal Plates
Phone: 613-885-4489
Email: [email protected]