New venue at Ottawa Convention Centre means more chefs, more ticket sales … more food!
Above L-R last fall’s Gold Medal Plates winners in Ottawa: Chef Jonathan Korecki, silver medal, from Sidedoor Contemporary Kitchen and Bar; Marysol Foucault, gold medal, chef/owner Chez Edgar in Gatineau; Katie Brown Ardington, bronze medal, chef de cuisine Beckta Dining & Wine. Foucault went on to the national finalist competition in February in Kelowna, B.C., where she unofficially placed fourth.
APR 23 14 – 4:45 PM — Gold Medal Plates moves to the Ottawa Convention Centre on Nov. 17 for its 10th edition in the nation’s capital, expanding the roster to 10 competition chefs from eight last year. And, boy, has the list of contestants been shaken up!
The venue change comes as something of a surprise, as last year organizers announced they planned to remain at the National Arts Centre by opening both upper and lower levels to food and drink contestants with their booths and teams, and then use the adjacent stage in Southam Hall for after-noshing entertainment, auctions, and presentation of the awards. Previously, the expansive stage remained dark while tables were crammed in the lower foyer, which restricted available space to mingle and be entertained.
The change would have allowed more chefs to compete, while doubling the number of guests at $350 a ticket to about 700.
But logistics and budgetary reasons made the NAC unsuitable; hence the move across the Rideau Canal to the convention centre where space is not an issue.
Invited participating chefs this year include:
• Steve Wall, Supply and Demand Foods & Raw Bar;
• Michael Radford, The Whalesbone Oyster House;
• Kyle Mortimer-Proulx, ZenKitchen;
• Katie Brown Ardington, Beckta Dining & Wine;
• Walid El-Tawel, Restaurant E18hteen;
• Pat Garland, Absinthe Café;
• Ryan Edwards, Taylor’s Genuine Food & Wine Bar;
• Kyrn Stein, Social Restaurant & Lounge;
• Pierre Lortie, Le Baccara;
• John Morris, Le Café, National Arts Centre.
Among the invited chefs, seven newcomers are Radford, Mortimer-Proulx, El-Tawel, Edwards, Stein, Lortie and Morris. Wall and Garland have competed in previous years, while Brown Ardington placed third last year.
Gold Medal Plates celebrates Canadian excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement in 11 cities across Canada in 2014. Invited chefs in each city compete to win gold, silver and bronze medals, culminating in a national three-day grand finale in Kelowna, British Columbia, in February 2015. Of the participating cities, nine galas are held where chefs compete before a paying audience for the gold prize, while in Montreal and Calgary the winners are selected by judges at a private party.
Founded in 2003, the competitions since 2004 have raised a total $8.2 million for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
In Ottawa, the regional event last year was won by chef/owner Marysol Foucault of Chez Edgar in Gatineau, who moved on to finish in an unofficial fourth place at the finals.
Judging again this year in Ottawa is head judge and Food writer/critic Anne DesBrisay; Sheila Whyte, owner Thyme & Again Creative Catering; James Chatto, Toronto-based national head judge; cookbook authors and TV personalities Margaret Dickenson and Pam Collacott; Judson Simpson, chef at the Parliamentary Dining Room. Joining the judges this fall is Foucault, as last year’s gold winner.