Jesse McCleery

Jesse McCleery

Chefs ready to leave it all on the plate

11 chefs will be aiming for gold in Kelowna as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance.

Chefs from across the country have landed in Kelowna, ready to battle it out and reign supreme in the annual Canadian Culinary Championships.

The 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships presented by Deloitte are taking place this weekend.

The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance.

Each of the eleven chefs competed in their home city/province at a Gold Medal Plates event in the fall of 2016 to earn a spot to come to Kelowna.

“These competitions are a test of skill, creativity and endurance. Each chef has been training for months for this weekend. Our judging team is very excited for this years’ competition as we once again have some incredibly talented and creative chefs competing,” says James Chatto, National Culinary Advisor and Head Judge.

On Thursday, chefs will be welcomed at the CCC’s opening reception where they will each receive a bottle of a mystery wine.

The next morning they are tasked with the challenge of shopping locally for ingredients and ultimately creating a dish that will complement the mystery wine.

They will have been given only $500 for the ingredients and must create a dish that will impress the national judges and the 400 guests in attendance.

The guests will enjoy the dishes from each of the 11 competing chefs while sipping on the mystery wine.

“It is always so amazing to see the variety of tantalizing dishes that have been created, and yet each chef had the same wine to work with,” says David Lawrason, the Gold Medal Plates national wine advisor.  “This is an event not to be missed!”

The second competition is the black-box competition where the chefs are secluded into a room until it is their turn to compete.

Chefs are called one at a time and are presented with a box of seven ingredients sourced from across Canada.

Each chef has 10 minutes to determine what dish they will create using the seven ingredients and then he or she has 50 minutes to prepare their dish and present to the judges.

The final competition is the Grand Finale where the chefs will create their ultimate dish to wow the judges and the guests paired with a Canadian beverage.

Most of them have shipped the ingredients with them as they traveled across Canada to Kelowna.

The finale closes with the announcement of the top three medal winners being called to the podium and the bragging rights for one to be called the Canadian Culinary Champion.

The winner will also walk away with a two-year lease on a 2017 BMW 430i xDrive Gran Coupe.

There are limited tickets available for the Mystery Wine Pairing and can be purchased online at or by calling 778-883-3448; the Grand Finale on Saturday is sold out.

Chefs Competing at the 2017 Canadian Culinary Championships:

  • BRITISH COLUMBIA:  Jesse McCleery – Pilgrimme, Galiano Island
  • EDMONTON:              Eric Hanson – Prairie Noodle Shop
  • CALGARY:                 Jinhee Lee – Foreign Concept
  • REGINA:                   Garrett (Rusty) Thienes – Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market
  • SASKATOON:            Scott Torgerson – Radisson Hotel Saskatoon & Aroma Resto Bar
  • WINNIPEG:               Jesse Friesen – Pizzeria Gusto
  • TORONTO:                Amanda Ray – Canteen Restaurant
  • OTTAWA:                  Joe Thottungal – Coconut Lagoon
  • MONTREAL:              Sophie Tabet – Chez Sophie
  • HALIFAX:                 Mark Gray – Battery Park Beer Bar & Eatery
  • ST. JOHN’S:             Ruth Wigman – Oppidan

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