Late change made as chef Walid El-Tawel from E18hteen restaurant steps down to accept job in Toronto
MAY 08 14 – 8:30 AM — Chef Stephen La Salle at The Albion Rooms, opened at Novotel Ottawa Hotel in April 2013 to replace the previous Trio restaurant, has agreed to compete in Ottawa’s regional Gold Medal Plates culinary competition Nov. 17 at the Ottawa Convention Centre.
The quick change was required a week ago when chef Walid El-Tawel of Restaurant E18hteen in the ByWard Market withdrew from the annual competition, after accepting a job at the new Montecito restaurant in Toronto.
According to a blurb on The Albion Rooms website:
Ottawa born and raised, Chef Stephen La Salle praises our small city as a “city that’s full of all my friends.”
“I love cooking in Ottawa, it’s so tight-knit, there is such a sense of community between chefs, suppliers, bartenders, proprietors and even diners. Doing farm to table is nothing new in Ottawa but it’s something I think is so essential to having your food tell a story.”
Chef Stephen calls his food “contemporary country Canadian. He pulls in different contemporary elements of Canadian cuisine with a country rustic style to produce plates that are modern but familiar. In paying homage to “Albion” (our British settlers) chef Stephen plays with subtle British undertones in the food that will definitely stand alone. This young chef and his team can’t wait to cook for you.
Now in its 10th year in Ottawa, the regional Gold Medal Plates lineup increases to 10 contestants this fall, from eight in 2013 when it was at the smaller National Arts Centre.
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;
• Stephen La Salle, The Albion Rooms;
• 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 La Salle, Radford, Mortimer-Proulx, 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.