Moncton Winners

2018 Moncton Winners

Recent Winners

Gold

Irwin MacKinnon
Papa Joe’s

Pairing: Go Devil American IPA from Upstreet Craft Brewery, P.E.I.

Silver

Matt Pennell
Legends Restaurant

Pairing: 2015 Sparkling Rose Cuvée from L’Acadie Vineyards, Nova Scotia

Bronze

Alex Haun
Kingsbrae Garden

Pairing: 2016 Lola Rose Sparkling from Pelee Island Winery, Ontario

Best of Show Results

Gold

Mott’s Landing Brut Classic, New Brunswick

Silver

L’Acadie Vineyards 2015 Vintage Cuvee Rose, Nova Scotia

Bronze

Crooked from Verger Belliveau Orchards, New Brunswick

Moncton 2018 Photo Highlights

Click on the thumbnails to view full-size photos.

Moncton Competing Chefs (click photo to learn their stories)

We would like to thank all of the competing chefs this year and we encourage Canada's Great Kitchen Party supporters to visit their restaurants.

Alex Haun

Alex Haun

Kingsbrae Garden View Website

Representing St. Andrews

Q & A with Alex Haun
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
  1. I work in a 27 acre Garden, I love that we grow our own vegetables and herbs and harvest fresh fruit and edible flowers every day.
  2. I love the art displayed throughout the restaurant and gardens that inspire me.
  3. I love my team. I love that every day I work with people I consider my family. We serve our guests as though we are hosting you in our family home.
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?

I would say noodles and vegetables with my girl, watching a film and our pup between us.

I also love when my girlfriend and I host dinner parties, planning and executing a service at home is always a thrill but my favourite is the last minute dinner party. Someone unexpected shows up… and of course you’re obligated to host (at least we think so). Hurrying home for a 15 minute tidy and setting the dining room followed by scratching down a menu on the kitchen chalk board. The first hour is a rush. How will you get it all done and why did we offer to do this again? Then the wine settles you relax and it’s a perfect kitchen party with friends and memories

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Being a chef at the place I love most, inspiring young apprentices, perfecting dishes, hopefully teaching my own children about cooking, foraging and growing food.
Irwin MacKinnon

Irwin MacKinnon

Papa Joe's View Website

Representing Charlottetown

Javier Alarco

Javier Alarco

Water's Edge Bar and Grill View Website

Representing Charlottetown

Q & A with Javier Alarco
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
  1. The fact that we showcase and support our local suppliers at every chance.
  2. As we are a teaching kitchen we strive to elevate the skills and techniques that our future culinarians will use throughout their career.
  3. We all share in the creation of every plate that meets our guests.
What is your favourite thing about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party?
Having the opportunity to participate in both the West (Vancouver 2004 and 2005) and now in the East Competition!
Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I love Box Lacrosse. My son loves lacrosse also so now I coach his team.
Lisa Aronson

Lisa Aronson

5 Kings Restaurant & Picaroons Brewhouse View Website

Representing St. Stephen

Q & A with Lisa Aronson
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
I love my staff, our clientele and our relationship with Picaroons. It’s the perfect fit for us from the food to beverage and too many good times we’ve all shared together.
Where would you travel to on a culinary vacation and why?
I would want to travel the world. There is so much to see and taste out there that it’s hard to just pick one place.
What do you love about cooking for a living?
I love that not every day is the same. You're continuously learning and teaching, while being creative. After the day is done you get to leave with a sense of accomplishment.
Marc Surette

Marc Surette

Bistro 33 View Website

Representing Moncton

Q & A with Marc Surette
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?
I didn’t become a chef. A chef became me. I was lucky enough to be cooking with some of the best brigades an apprentice could ever have. The knowledge and the experience they shared with me, I can never repay, although I try in my own culinary ways.
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
  1. The people
  2. The jazz
  3. The challenge
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I see myself as the owner and operator of 3 other independent restaurants and a 100-employee production line manufacturing plant.
Matt Pennell

Matt Pennell

Legends Restaurant

Representing Moncton

Q & A with Matt Pennell
What do you love about cooking for a living?
Cooking is an escape, a mesmerizing trance of flavor and flame. It creates relationships, bonds and friendships that last a lifetime.
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
"Refrigerator Shakedowns"
What is your favourite thing about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party?
Cooking with fellow chefs and friends; the preparation to get there; the nervous and competitive juices pumping, and meeting new people from all walks of life.
Michel Savoie

Michel Savoie

Les Brume du Coude View Website

Representing Moncton

Q & A with Michel Savoie
Where would you travel to on a culinary vacation and why?
Japan.... because the folks are that awesome.... not for the sushi’s!
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
Anything that takes time and lets me meditate and forget the outside world .....like ragouts, stews, homemade pasta.... comfort food.
What do you love about cooking for a living?
Cooking allows me to travel without leaving home and it makes my restaurant smell like a million dollars!
Tim Muehlbauer

Tim Muehlbauer

East Coast Bistro View Website

Representing Saint John

Q & A with Tim Muehlbauer
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?
Food has always been a part of my life. From recognizing how to perfect the best cinnamon toast, or cake in the easy bake oven, to watching grandma cook where she allowed me to help out when I could. This usually meant getting the cast iron pan ready for crepes or using a hand beater to make a sabayon for a sponge cake, a few tasks among many. Also I watched many cooking shows, Julia Child, Graham Kerr, Wok with Yan to name a few. Julia Child inspired me to de-bone Cornish game hens and stuff them with wild rice and all the trimmings for a party of 8 when I was 8. Being Danish, unbeknownst to me at the time, I learned how much culture is involved in food and its preparation. My Grandma always had a garden and did her shopping every day. I met this culture and respect for food and ingredients again in my first years working in a professional kitchen were in Europe. Cooking French Classical cuisine, while immersed in European surroundings really solidified my recognition of culture, the professional kitchen, and the integrity it takes to be a Chef.
If you were an Olympic athlete what sport would you compete in and why?
I spent many a winter at Whistler, and would love the chance to compete in the downhill skiing, particularly the Super G. The focus and strength to learn the course and feel out conditions on the day and then execute your plan would be a huge adrenaline rush. And yes, you are competing with many competitors, but you are also competing with yourself and challenging yourself to be better each time.
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
  1. My staff. They are dedicated, helpful, funny, sarcastic, and a positive bunch of people to be around.
  2. I can be creative and use my skillset every day.
  3. We have an open kitchen and you can always look either out into the restaurant or beyond to outside. We often have a chance to interact with our customers directly, not something that happens in many kitchens.
Trevor Rowe

Trevor Rowe

The Alma City Club View Website

Representing Moncton

Q & A with Trevor Rowe
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?
I grew up on a small farm where I was taught how important food was. My father, a great cook himself, always showed me how important it was to know how to grow it, butch it, prepare it and cook it. Everyone in my family can cook. Being a chef for me was always sort of a sub-conscience destination, everything I have done lead me to this path. Then I met Darren Bain my First Chef. He showed me the Basics of cooking but really he taught me how hard you have to work to be successful, a lesson I will never forget. Then came Tyler Mason. He showed me how different food could be and the importance of local food and how fun cooking is. Then I walked into C.C.C. Stephen Houston life at Little Louis Oyster bar, my Mentor. He taught me that there were no limits in food and that we can fuse different styles. My mind was blown. All of a sudden food was a blank slate and was only limited by my imagination. That’s when I knew I was going to do this for the rest of my life.
What is your favourite thing to cook at home?
I love to hunt and fish so I take great pride in preparing and cooking the meal. I’m not able to work with wild game in New Brunswick restaurants so I really enjoy doing that at home.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
In 5-10 years from now I would see myself as a chef of a large hotel. My end goal is to retire as an instructor; I love to share the knowledge of all the experience I have gained growing up in the restaurant industry.

Culinary Report

Moncton Culinary Report

By James Chatto

And suddenly it was September 29th and everyone was hurrying to Moncton, New Brunswick, for the first-ever iteration of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party! It is a series of events that stands upon the shoulders of a giant – a dozen years and $15 million raised under the old identity – but, like a super-hero reborn with a new name and a brand new spandex cape, last night it soared instantly into legend. The vibe is different from years gone by – a little more sassy and casual, faster – with a great deal less speechifying and much more music. If it’s coming your way in the weeks ahead, you are in for the treat of the year. This was the first time we had staged an event in Moncton and we drew our chefs and athletes from the entire province as well as from neighbouring Prince Edward Island; the sold-out crowd of 530 really didn’t know what to expect, but they had surely come to party. Our venue was the stunning, two-week old Avenir Centre. The night before, the Moncton Wildcats had won their first hockey game in the arena, but they covered the ice with boards for our event, glamorous celebration tables stretching between the blue lines.

Canada’s greatest sportscaster, Scott Russell was our dazzling emcee, introducing a room full of Canadian athletes led by Marnie McBean (multi-medalist and athlete mentor) PEI born Heather Moyse (bobsleigh), Derek Druoin (athletics)  and another local favorite, pro baseball player Rheal Cormier. And did I mention there was music! The great Jim Cuddy and his friends and relations gave us a rock concert of four sets such as we never saw in the old days, ending the evening with a powerful and joyous energy that had a hundred people dancing in the aisles while the chefs and athletes joined the band on stage. Jim brought an amazing lineup of stars, featuring the legendary Barney Bentall, the delightful Danny Michel, New Brunswick’s very own incredible chanteuse Lina Boudreau, goddess of the fiddle Anne Lindsay, rockin’ guitarist extraordinaire Colin Cripps, Juno-nominated Devin Cuddy on keyboards, Sam Polley powering it on rhythm guitar, and Sam’s own band-members adding a rhythm section that took everything to a new level, with Tally Ferraro on bass and Gianni Ferraro on drums.

By the time that side of the show got going, the guests had already sampled the dishes from our nine competing chefs. I was enormously impressed by the levels of quality, imagination and impeccable detail on every plate. For a scallop lover, it was a positive orgy of pleasure with all but two chefs including superb local pétoncles in their creations. Who could judge such riches? I’ll tell you who. We have two Senior Judges for our New Brunswick/P.E.I. competition, both leading lights of the culinary community and both chef instructors at NBCC – Chef Evan Smith and Chef Emmanuel Charretier. Also joining us on the panel was Chris Aerni, chef and owner of the Rossmount Inn in St. Andrews, NB. Long ago in Ottawa, he and I sat together on the Governor General’s Awards in Celebration of the Nation’s Table – and it was an honour to sit with him again. As it was to judge alongside Susan O’Keefe – lawyer, mentor, passionate culinarian and co-owner and co-chair of the annual World Wine & Food Expo – the largest wine event in Atlantic Canada. The expert team was rounded out by local superstar Chef Stefan Mueller, Executive Chef of the Windjammer Dining Room in Moncton’s Delta Beausejour hotel. My profound thanks to all of them for volunteering for KP duty!

The marks we awarded were close – gold and silver separated by less than one percentage point – but our final decision was unanimous. Taking the bronze medal was Chef Alex Haun of Kingsbrae Garden in St. Andrews, NB. He chose to work with some splendid steelhead trout, presenting the fish in three separate ways, braiding any number of rich flavours and varied textures. One element offered a finger of cured trout (nice and firm and the colour of Pacific salmon) set on top of a dab of bacon-butter hollandaise on a sturdy, crunchy turnip-and-potato pancake. Beside that was a dainty phyllo cup brimming with a gently flavoured horseradish cream, a pillow for exemplary trout roe, the tender eggs looking like a scattering of rubies. The third component was a slice of moussy, pungent smoked trout paté set on a flaky pastry cracker and topped with green cattail pearls. Garnishes galore added visual appeal – purple flower petals, red amaranth seedlings, cured and crumbled salted egg yolk like golden powder, a single nasturtium leaf and a crunchy chicharon to provide yet another textural hit. There was a lot happening and Chef made a fine choice with a bubbly that proved to be universally refreshing – Pelee Island Winery’s 2016 Lola Rose Sparkling – its inherent fruitiness amplified by the flavours of the dish.

We awarded the silver medal to Chef Matt Pennell of Legends, in Moncton. Visually highly dramatic, his plate was based by a large but paper-thin slice of a terrine of octopus “bacon” that was delicately textured, subtly delicious and looked as beautiful as porphyry marble. Beside it towered a mound of scallop aguachile, something like a creamy ceviche, with chopped raw scallop tossed with a sauce scented with plenty of fresh lime juice and chilies from Chef’s own garden. A golden fried polenta puck on the plate was a perfect foil to the aguachile, and held its own secret – dried “sea truffle” – a local barnacle-type seaweed that brought a unique marine flavour to the cornmeal. Finishing touches each added their own relevant nuances to the dish – dots of tangy apple-basil gel; even smaller dots of sapid fennel purée; arugula and lemon basil microgreens scattered over the scallops; and a single roasted organic grape tomato (what a wickedly juicy little flavour bomb). One last detail was also the most flavourful, packing a real umami punch – nibs of cured and dehydrated black olives that kicked in beautifully when dragged into the aguachile. Chef’s chosen wine was another brut rosé bubbly, the always delectable 2015 Sparkling Rose Cuvée from L’Acadie Vineyards in Nova Scotia – biscuitty, fruit-forward and sophisticated.

Who won the gold? Who will be Moncton’s first champion and the first contender for next February’s Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna? Chef Irwin MacKinnon of Papa Joe’s Restaurant in Charlottetown, P.E.I. He began by painting a broad runway of toasted-miso-butternut-squash purée across the plate. At one end he set a whole, immaculately seared scallop, pale and quivering inside its golden crust and dusted with a tiny suggestion of black garlic salt. Beneath it was a spoonful of slaw made with a medley of finely julienned vegetables and flavoured with sesame and ginger. At the other end of the squash purée highway, a piece of beef rib bone served as a plinth for a glossy, spherical parcel of deeply flavourful, admirably moist braised P.E.I. beef short rib, wrapped in a membrane of savoy cabbage. Strewn between these two edifices (the apotheosis of surf ‘n’ turf) were all sorts of treasures – supple golden chanterelles Chef had foraged himself then lightly pickled; softly roasted miniature candycane and golden beets; fresh sweet peas and their seedlings, bringing their own lively green taste. Yellow dots of spicy sweet potato purée and black dots of fermented black garlic purée were the ideal condiments. Two lotus root chips brought crunch and visual appeal. As a dish, it united so many of the region’s best culinary ingredients – and Chef’s beverage match was inspired – the forthright, citrussy, hoppy Go Devil American IPA from Upstreet Craft Brewery, P.E.I.’s latest microbrewery.

Chef MacKinnon will be warmly welcomed in Kelowna – our first champion of the year, from our first-ever visit to Moncton, for our first-ever Kitchen Party. As for me, the enormous tattoo of the three-letter acronym by which our organisation was known in years gone by (inked in navy blue copperplate script in a place that only my wife and my tailor have ever seen) must become a souvenir of the past, its place on my life-list of acronyms now taken by “KP” – shortened acronym for “Canada’s Great Kitchen Party!”

 

Beneficiaries:

Sport –  B2ten:  supporting elite level sport in Canada

Music – MusiCounts: Musical instruments provided to JMA Armstrong High School

Food –   CFCC:  Kitchen Mentor program at the Natoaganeg Community Food Centre on Eel

Ground First Nation

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Wine/Beer/Spirits Report

Moncton Wine, Beer and Spirits Report

New Party, New Wines, New Brunswick

By David Lawrason

On September 29 Canada’s Great Kitchen Party debuted in New Brunswick. It was also the debut of Moncton – New Brunswick’s largest city – on the national culinary scene. It was also the first time that New Brunswick wine had been served at one of our events. And not only that, a New Brunswick wine waltzed off with Best of Show honours and will make an appearance at the Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna, B.C. in February.

But the new Moncton event is not just about New Brunswick. There were also competing chefs and beverages from Prince Edward Island not far away across the spectacular Confederation Bridge.

The winning wine was Mott’s Landing Brut Classic, a traditional method sparkling wine that underwent second fermentation in the bottle to create the bubbles (as is done in Champagne). It is a blend of two grapes that I had never seen combined in sparkling wine – Frontenac and L’Acadie Blanc – both high acid, winter hardy hybrid varieties that are the foundation of New Brunswick’s young wine industry in one of Canada’s most challenging wine climes.

When I visited tiny Mott’s Landing in the St. John River Valley the next day I learned that winemaker Sonia Carpenter had honed her skills through oenology studies and practical experience in New Zealand, as a second career after being an environmental scientist in Canada with a specialty in agricultural pest management.

But perhaps I am moving too fast.  For those reading a Kitchen Party wine report for the first time, I should explain that within each city event we conduct a separate Best of Show competition of wines, ciders, beers and spirits to highlight the generous donation of the producers. We gather local wine media, sommeliers, retailers and aficionados to taste all the wines and rank their top five.

In Moncton I was joined by wine authority Bill Vance, chairman of the World Wine and Food Expo in New Brunswick – the largest wine event in Atlantic Canada. His wife and Expo Co-chair Susan O’Keefe joined us as well, while doubling as a Culinary Judge. Colette St. Pierre is an independent wine educator and consultant in Moncton, and her son Stefan is now launched as a winemaker and sommelier, a Brock University grad having just returned from managing an award-winning wine program at a five-star restaurant in Oman.

I must also thank Craig Pinhey of Rothesay NB – a friend, colleague and leading Atlantic Canada wine and beer critic and judge – for connecting me to all these fine folks.  He was not able to attend but promises to attend next year.

We gave all the wines, ciders and beers a good vetting, with lots of discussion and I want to thank the judges for filling in all kinds of local information on the wines, ciders and beers, that I not encountered previously.

I was reminded often that New Brunswick is first and foremost ‘beer country’.  Indeed local beers shone this night, with the powerful 6.6% alcohol and complex orangey and spicy Upstreet Go Devil IPA paired with gold medal winning chef Irwin MacKinnon of Papa Joe’s, both products of Prince Edward Island. Upstreet also poured on the event floor in Craft Brewer Showcase alongside Forhorn Craft Brewers. And Picaroons Brewhouse delivered a creamy yet fresh Dooryard Wheat Ale nicely paired with a scallop dish by Chef Lisa Aronson of the associated 5 Kings Restaurant in St. Stephen.  Spirits were represented by Blue Roof Distillery of Malden NB  who poured their signature vodka cocktail.

And back to the other wine winners.

This night Mott’s Landing garnered three of five first place votes – including mine – giving it the lead.  Two points behind with two first place votes, the runner up was L’Acadie Vineyards 2015 Vintage Cuvee Rose from Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley.  Winemaker Bruce Ewart has been on the leading edge of Nova Scotia’s spectacular sparkling wine charm offensive, producing a handful of award-winning traditional method bubblies.  His lovely sparkling rose was paired with the silver medal winning dish by chef Matt Pennell of Legends Restaurant in Moncton.

In third place, yet another sparkling wine, but this time it was a sparkling apple wine called Crooked, from Verger Belliveau Orchards south of Moncton. Later I visited the largest apple grower in New Brunswick as well, and was totally impressed by their operation, and their portfolio of excellent ciders and fruit wines.  They also poured a hugely impressive hard apple cider called SCOW that is taking the Maritimes by storm.  I personally voted it in second place.

In all, five New Brunswick producers donated to the event.

Dunhams Run contributed Long Reach White, a supple, generous yet fresh blend from an ambitious, thoroughly modern winery that opened in 2011 in the St. John’s River Valley. With 18 acres of it is among the largest wineries in the province, with another tract soon to be planted. Their portfolio included grape wines, fruit wines and intriguing meads.

Magnetic Hill is larger in terms of production, with the province’s largest winery facility just finishing construction for the 2018 harvest, and a rapid rise to 10,000 case production from estate and purchased fruit.  It is perched just above the famous Magnetic Hill theme park in Moncton with almost six acres planted on a fine south-facing slope, and more to come nearby. Magnetic Hill has a slate of fruit and hybrid-based grape wines, pouring their very popular Cranberry wine at the Kitchen Party event nicely paired with a duck breast by chef Marc Surette of Bistro 33 in Moncton.

And Richibucto River Estate Winery well north of Moncton donated its 2016 Marquette, a very winter hardy red hybrid developed in Minnesota that has become the most popular red grapes in the cooler regions of Canada (beyond Niagara and the Okanagan Valley).

Other donated wines from outside of NB included the eclectic Pearl Morrisette 2013 Cuvee Blackball Riesling from a Niagara winery making wines outside the box, plus more commercial wines like Pelee Islands pretty new sparkling rose called Lola, and an off-dry riesling gewürztraminer Niagara blend called Open.

Another red came from Nova Scotia and figured fourth in the scoring – Devonian Coast Four Skin is a full-bodied blend of four hybrid red varieties led by a grape called Castell that I have always liked.

It was a great evening and I look forward to returning next year. Now onto to Ottawa on October 11th.

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Sponsors

Thank you to the "Kitchen Party" sponsors and supporters who provide vital support to the project!

Contact

Ben Champoux
759, Main Street, Suite 202, Moncton, NB – E1C 1E5
P: 506-227-5793
E: moncton@greatkitchenparty.com