Ottawa-Gatineau Winners

2018 Ottawa Winners

Recent Winners

Gold

Yannick LaSalle
Restaurant Les Fougères

Pairing: Meldville Wines, 2015 second edition, Cabernet Franc, VQA Lincoln Lakeshore

Silver

Daniela Manrique
The Soca Kitchen

Pairing: Thirty Bench 2016 Small Lot Chardonnay VQA Beamsville Bench

Bronze

Jason Sawision
Stofa Restaurant

Pairing: Domaine Queylus 2016 Cabernet Franc VQA Lincoln Lakeshore

Best of Show Results

Gold

Domaine Queylus 2016 Cabernet Franc

Silver

Stratus 2015 Red, Niagara

Bronze

Hinterland 2014 Les Etoiles Brut, Prince Edward County

Ottawa 2018 Photo Highlights

Click on the thumbnails to view full-size photos.

Ottawa 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.

Yannick LaSalle

Yannick LaSalle

Restaurant Les Fougères (Chelsea QC) View Website

Representing Ottawa

Q & A with Yannick LaSalle
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?
As a child I would find myself in front of a BBQ in family reunions helping with the burgers. When I got older, to get myself a student job I cooked in my hometown’s « chip stand ». I didn’t know I wanted to cook for living so I took a machinist program after high school. Again, I found myself cooking as a side job to make some money. I realized then that’s what I wanted to do with my career. I dropped out of my machinist course to join culinary school. My first stage at L’Escarbille in France at a 1 star Michelin confirmed that I was on the right path.
What do you love about cooking for a living?
I love the fact that all 5 senses are stimulated. What please me the most is being apart of creating happiness around the table.
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
Restaurant Les Fougères wouldn’t be the same without the wonderful owner’s Jennifer and Charlie Parts and the amazing team. I also enjoy the garden where I get to pick a few of my daily ingredients. The stunning dining room which is made with hyperlocal material and an open kitchen that leads us to connect with our regular clientele.
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
Sara and I appreciate eating fish on a Monday evening off. Different approaches to vegetables is a must on a daily basis.
Where would you travel to on a culinary vacation and why?
I’ve being to a few places in the world but California is where I found myself cooking the best food and feeling the most balanced which is very important in this stressful industry. This is why if I had to choose anywhere in the world, I would go back to California.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Hopefully owning my restaurant close to my family and still be traveling the world to learn and make new friendship with people that share the same passion.
If you were an Olympic athlete what sport would you compete in and why?
I would probably compete in snowboarding. Growing up I really enjoyed this sport where my friends and I would meet up on weekends and have a blast.
What is your favourite thing about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party?
To be able to share my passion with other top chef’s in the region while raising money for a great cause.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
Although I love to make people happy and encounter that everyday, I am constantly battling high anxiety.
David Godsoe

David Godsoe

Restaurant e18hteen View Website

Representing Ottawa

Q & A with David Godsoe
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?
Looking back on my life I feel I probably got my inspiration from my grandmothers, on both sides of my family they were amazing cooks, when I was with them I always ate proper, hearty meals, cooked perfectly and made with love.
What do you love about cooking for a living?
I love being able to cater to as many people as we do on any given night, knowing you have a restaurant full of guests, eating the food you’ve worked so hard to create is the most fulfilling part of the job. The days are long and the years are short in this industry, but positive feedback from a guest always makes it worthwhile.
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
  1. First of all is the team I get to work with day in and day out. It refreshing working with a team of like-minded individuals all with a focus on creating the best dining experience we can
  2. The food, being able to work with such amazing suppliers and high end products on a daily basis is incredible.
  3. The history. Having the opportunity to work in such a well-established restaurant such as e18hteen is amazing. We have a superstar list of alumni who have graced the kitchen at e18hteen and I’m excited to follow in the footsteps of some of Ottawa’s best chefs.
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
Definitely pasta, easily 2-3 times a week!
Where would you travel to on a culinary vacation and why?
100% Spain, El Celler De Can Rocca has been on my bucket list forever. I’m in love with the food culture there and I strongly believe they are among the best countries in the world when it comes to pushing the boundaries of cuisine.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Unlike a lot of Chef’s, I had my taste of ownership at a young age, I learned a lot from it. I find now that I have less of an appetite for owning a restaurant in the future, but it’s not out of the question should the right opportunity come up. I am very happy with E18teen and the group of restaurants we have and the opportunity I have growing with them. I won’t rule out moving to a bigger city though.
If you were an Olympic athlete what sport would you compete in and why?
Hockey would be ideal, but I’m not exactly built for it! I played for my whole life so I’m not terrible at least.
What is your favourite thing about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party?
My favourite thing is having the opportunity to cook alongside some of the city’s best chefs for a great cause. The event now has grown so much and it’s an honour to be invited this year!
Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
My girlfriend taught me about this personality thing called the enneagram. Which based on common personality types gives someone a number between 1-9. At first I didn’t think much of it but now I find I use it as a tool to better manage and lead my team.
James Bratsberg

James Bratsberg

MēNa View Website

Representing Ottawa

Q & A with James Bratsberg
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?

Honestly, I took a job as a dishwasher when I was young and fell in love with kitchens. I never really looked back. I fell in love with the craft.

I was also fortunate enough to have a great mentor when I started cooking, Matthew Cassidy. Took me under his wing, but never took it easy on me, made sure I never got away with anything. Taught me about having standards, and living up to them.

What do you love about cooking for a living?
Everything. The constant pursuit of perfection, it doesn’t exist - it’s just trying to get there that’s the point. The atmosphere, the stamina, the attention to detail, routine and focus. Cooking is as much taking care of other people as its a pursuit of personal betterment.
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
Creative control, being in an environment (the concept and the staff) where everyone is constantly moving forward, trying to make everything better.
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
Anything I can walk away from, cooking at home is about being around people & many glasses of wine.
Where would you travel to on a culinary vacation and why?
I had the opportunity to travel to London for a few months last year, and to San Sebastian. That was pretty great. I think next will be either France or Japan. Both places are pretty much where I get all of my inspiration from.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Maybe a little bit bigger of a kitchen, and a farm.
If you were an Olympic athlete what sport would you compete in and why?
Something to do with bike racing, growing up I used to bike a lot. That or luge, that seems pretty intense.
Kristine Hartling

Kristine Hartling

OZ Kafe View Website

Representing Ottawa

Q & A with Kristine Hartling
What do you love about cooking for a living?
My love of cooking stems from a love of gardening and for creative arts. You can see the influence in my veg-forward and fresh cooking style.
Steven Harris

Steven Harris

two six {ate} View Website

Representing Ottawa

Jason Sawision

Jason Sawision

Stofa Restaurant View Website

Representing Ottawa

Adam Vettorel

Adam Vettorel

North and Navy View Website

Representing Ottawa

Q & A with Adam Vettorel
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?
Working my way through High School and University in kitchens I got addicted to the pace and intensity of kitchen work. I would look forward to my next shift in the kitchen while studying. Applying to Law School I realized I would have to abandon work in the kitchen, and ultimately that was something I couldn't do.
What do you love about cooking for a living?
Cooking for a living allows the perfect balance between creative work and physical labour. In the morning you can read cookbooks with your coffee, and then you can spend the rest of your day banging pots and pans around.
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
My restaurant allows me to spend my workweek with an incredible team of people who are as excited to talk about food and cooking as I am. It allows me to introduce people to a version of authentic Italian food that they may have never seen before. My restaurant allows me to help host an incredible party, every night of the week.
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
I love to make pasta for my daughter at home.
Where would you travel to on a culinary vacation and why?
I would travel to Turkey on a culinary vacation. So many of the Venetian recipes I love benefited from the trade between the two empires. I would like to taste the originals. Also...They make the best coffee.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I honestly have no idea.
If you were an Olympic athlete what sport would you compete in and why?
I have played rugby for over 10 years, and was so excited when 7's was added to the Olympics. In a parallel universe I am breaking through tackles and kicking drop goals with a maple leaf on my chest.
What is your favourite thing about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party?
The lack of funding for our athletes has frustrated me for as long as I have been aware of it. I would never miss an opportunity to raise some money for people who dedicate themselves to showing the rest of the world what Canadians are made of.
Daniela Manrique

Daniela Manrique

The Soca Kitchen View Website

Representing Ottawa

Q & A with Daniela Manrique
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?
My greatest inspiration for becoming the chef, and ultimately the person I am today, is my mother. It is through seeing her entrepreneurial drive, strive for perfection, passion for art, and caring nature, that I’ve been able to carry these characteristics to my every day life and my personal passion and love of food.
What do you love about cooking for a living?
I love having the opportunity to bring family, friends, and people together to share quality time over food creations I design to fill the senses and bring flavours together to make people happy.
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
  1. Seeing the smiles and hearing the laughs of our guest’s over our food.
  2. The closeness of team feel of our Soca Family
  3. How different Soca is in terms of the variety and type of food we serve from anything I have done in the past.
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?
BBQ, because my husband does a great job at it.
Where would you travel to on a culinary vacation and why?
Given the opportunity, I would love to travel to India to taste all their fresh breads, relishes, spices.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
We would love to expand our business allowing us to reach an even greater demographic and grow the Soca family.
If you were an Olympic athlete what sport would you compete in and why?
As a child I was always fascinated by figure skating. I found it magical.
What is your favourite thing about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party?
As a chef, given the fact that we are always so busy during peak times when people relax, I love the opportunity to talk to other chefs and the opportunity to share in some good, fun, quality time with our culinary community. And of course I love that it’s all for a good cause.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I don’t cook much at home.
Kris Kshonze

Kris Kshonze

Soif bar à vin View Website

Representing Ottawa

Q & A with Kris Kshonze
Tell us about who or what inspired you to become a chef?
I became a chef because I enjoyed being part of a team working together for a collective goal. I was also fortunate to have worked for good chefs that inspired me along the way.
What do you love about cooking for a living?
I love cooking for a living because everyday is a new challenge. I like trying to get a little bit better at my job everyday. I also love the jus.
Please tell us three things you love about your restaurant.
Three things I love about my restaurant: my colleagues, wine and food.
Where would you travel to on a culinary vacation and why?
As far as culinary destinations go I was fortunate enough to visit family in Poland this past summer, It was truly amazing but only gave me a taste to go back.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
I would like to say that my life would be calmer in 5-10 years but I think deep down I love stress, taking on too much and things being just chaotic enough.
If you were an Olympic athlete what sport would you compete in and why?
I have never been much of an athlete but I imagine that it is like cooking in the sense that the public is only aware of the moments in which you are actually competing/serving food. The training, the preparation makes up the much greater part. As such I would probably choose cycling I could train all day and still love it.
What is your favourite thing about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party?
My favourite thing about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party is being able to bring the team at the restaurant to do something we are not used to doing, going through the preparation, and the feeling of accomplishment together I find really rewarding.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
Something that most people don’t know about me is that I am really good at telling jokes.
Rich Wilson

Rich Wilson

gezellig View Website

Representing Ottawa

Culinary Report

Ottawa Culinary Report

By James Chatto

Ottawa was unseasonably warm but smothered in thick fog as we flew in on Thursday afternoon and headed off to the Shaw Centre, spiffy venue for the much-anticipated debut of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party in the nation’s capital. It promised to be a stellar event, with sports guru extraordinaire Scott Russell stepping up as MC, and 19 elite athletes in attendance, including Curt Harnett, Camille Bérubé, Adam Van Koeverden and Todd Nicholson. Sport is a major pillar of our Kitchen Parties. So is music. Tom Cochrane held the audience spellbound when he opened with his song Big League, with a new third verse as a tribute to the Humboldt Broncos – just one of many unforgettable moments from him, his fellow headliner, Barney Bentall, and guitarist Bill Bell, backed by Tally Ferraro on bass and Gianni Ferraro on drums. By the end of the evening, the crowd was on its feet, dancing in front of the stage to Life is a Highway and Something to Live For. It was a triumphant night on every level with the energetic vibe carrying over into eager bidding when our unique and irresistible trips came up for auction.

            Without a doubt, the merry mood was also inspired by the splendid food created by our ten competing chefs. Ottawa’s culinary scene is excitingly eclectic and sophisticated these days and choosing only ten is always a challenge for our Senior Judge for Ottawa-Gatineau, author, critic and fount of gastronomical wisdom, Anne DesBrisay. Joining us on the judging panel was a very high-powered posse: industry leader and owner of Thyme and Again Creative Catering, Sheila Whyte; Chairman of the Canadian Culinary Federation and executive chef of the House of Commons, Judson Simpson; the only chef in history to be named Canadian Culinary Champion twice, Chef Marc Lepine of Atelier; publisher, food writer and culinary historian, Dr. Janet Boileau; and last year’s gold-medal-winner, Briana Kim, chef-owner of Café My House.

            We awarded the bronze medal to Jason Sawision of Stofa Restaurant. At the heart of his dish were two thick slices of aged Hudson Valley duck breast, cooked sous-vide, pan-seared then glazed with miso honey and finished with a dusting of pink peppercorn, dried orange zest and coriander seeds. He also turned duck leg meat into a miniature sausage pungently flavoured with lemongrass, kaffir lime, galangal, soy and red curry paste and set it beside a mound of black-eyed peas tossed in Thai Nam Prik sauce. Other treasures included a single baby bok choy, petals of pearl onion pickled in black Chinese vinegar, and a big, juicy hen of the woods mushroom. Three other big flavours added further variety – a sweet-sour preserved orange marmalade, a salty fermented black bean mayo and some tangy green perilla and mustard greens. A crispy nori and tapioca spiral became a jaunty garnish and Chef finished the dish by pouring a little dashi duck jus onto the meat, thick as a demiglace and packed with umami. The wine he chose to accompany the dish was the Domaine Queylus 2016 Cabernet Franc from Niagara’s Lincoln Lakeshore VQA, its spicy notes echoing some of the Asian flavours in the dish. The judges agreed it was an excellent choice.

Daniela Manrique of The Soca Kitchen won the silver medal with a dish she called “Mar + Tierra.” The Mar was a thick slice of spectacularly rich, raw hamachi belly; laid across it, the Tierra turned out to be a thinner cut of roasted Secreto Ibérico ham shoulder dusted with porcini powder. Both these flavour-bomb proteins were set on a soft purée of orange-coloured rocoto chilies that brought a pleasing heat to the party. Other chilies – aji amarillo, to be precise – perfumed a dab of stiff crema with the texture of ricotta, topped with a delectable moment of Acadian caviar. And here was a spoonful of lightweight vinaigrette sweetened with Pedro Ximenes and black garlic. And there a tiny ring or two of compressed pearl onions, pickled with kaffir lime. Crispy capers, a hint of lemon zest and some chopped dehydrated Kalamata olives upped the pleasure ante even further. The dish called for a wine that was light on its feet but at the same time rather profound. Chef found those precise qualities in the fabulous Thirty Bench 2016 Small Lot Chardonnay from Niagara’s Beamsville Bench VQA.

We awarded the gold medal to the chef who had won silver last year – Yannick LaSalle of Restaurant Les Fougères in Chelsea, Quebec. He explained that the inspiration for this year’s creation came from the red currants growing in the restaurant’s garden. Two or three of these tart crimson jewels appeared whole on the plate, part of a sauce made with red currant vinegar and sweet, earthy beet syrup. Chef drizzled a spoonful around the dish as he set it down and it pooled and beaded in the sheen of hazelnut oil on the plate. The beets returned as a vegetable, having been lightly poached with lemon verbena then grated and pressed with tangerine marigold, also from the garden at Les Fougères. We are all accustomed to treating protein as the heart of a dish but in this case it was so well balanced and integrated into the whole that it did not dominate. Tucked away, almost, beneath the other ingredients were slices of cured duck breast, each with a new moon of soft white fat at its rim. Chopped crispy duck skin added textural variety, as did crisp loonie-sized potato chips seasoned with black garlic salt. More black garlic became a purée, spiked with grainy mustard – the sort of condiment they have on charcuterie boards in heaven. Quebec black walnuts provided the coup de grace, shaved over nasturtium and marigold leaves, echoing the nuttiness of the hazelnut oil. The dish had exemplary intellectual integrity – very much to do with a certain place and a certain time of the year. It was also absolutely delicious. And the wine match was brilliant, its acidity alluding to the red currants, its spiciness perfect with the walnuts – Meldville Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Franc from Niagara’s Lincoln Lakeshore VQA.

Huge kudos to Chef LaSalle who will be coming to Kelowna in February – and to the peerless team behind the Ottawa-Gatineau Kitchen Party who made this one of the most memorable events we have ever staged in the city. Next week, we’re off to Edmonton, Halifax and St. John’s… I can’t wait!

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Wine/Beer/Spirits Report

Ottawa Wine Report

By David Lawrason

Niagara “Bordeaux Reds” Shine in the Capital

On a foggy, mild October night the Shaw Centre on the Rideau River was glowing from within as hundreds gathered for the first Kitchen Party held in Ottawa. And fittingly some of the glow was from some heartier Niagara red wines made from the so-called Bordeaux varieties – particularly cabernet franc -assembled at the chef stations, and on the tables during the Celebration.

And was an intrugiing, complex Domaine Queylus 2016 Cabernet Franc that waltzed off with the Best of Show honours this night.  The Runner-up was Stratus 2015 Red, consider one of Niagara’s icons, and the second runner up was Hinterland 2014 Les Etoiles Brut, a sparkling wine from the leading bubbly producer of Prince Edward County.

Although on the scene for the last five years, Domaine Queylus is hitting its stride with recent vintages. It is owned by Quebec-based partners who hired experienced Niagara winemaker Thomas Bachelder to launch the project. He in turn hired Kelly Mason to assist, and she is now taking over the day-to-day winemaking duties. The winning Tradition Cabernet Franc indeed had a very traditional elegant French styling, with complex flavours typical of this grape.  Three cabernet francs, a variety now becoming entrenched as the best red for Niagara, were entered this night.

More on the winners and other wines in a moment, but first an explanation of the judging.

Within each city event we conduct a separate Best of Show competition for 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. The winning wine goes on to the Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna to compete for Canada’s Great Kitchen Party Wine of the Year.

Each chef is responsible for selecting their wine and soliciting a donation, as the wine and food pairing is very much part of the culinary judges’ considerations. The wines served on tables during the Celebration are donated to the Kitchen Party by winery sponsors.

Mission Hill Family Estate winery from B.C.s Okanagan Valley is our national sponsor this year, donating to seven cities!  This is one of the largest, most dynamic wine companies in Canada, and from their Five Vineyard wines, through their Reserves and new super-premium wineries like Checkmate and Martin’s Lane they making some of the best wines in B.C.  In Ottawa we enjoyed their excellent 2016 Reserve Chardonnay that two judges, myself included, placed in their top five.  We also enjoyed their 2016 Five Vineyard Pinot Noir and 2016 Five Vineyard Cabernet Merlot.

We also had new regional sponsors as well. Niagara’s A Foreign Affair donated its intriguing 2016 Conspiracy Ripasso, a red made from partially dried grapes in the tradition of Italy’s Amarone, giving it a smoother texture than often achieved in Ontario reds.  It too is based largely on cabernet franc,

This year, on the competition floor, local brewers from each city also participate in the Craft Brewers Showcase. Many thanks to Overflow Brewery, Halycon Barrel House and Tooth and Nail Brewing Co. Guests loved the opportunity to taste and talk to the Brewery representatives.

Four Ottawa wine authorities assisted me in judging. Many thanks to Janet Dorozynski more stepping into to lead the judging when my flight was delayed by the fog. She is a good friend and fellow judge with the National Wine Awards of Canada, who also helps promote Canadian wine around the world through Global Affairs Canada

Rod Phillips, formerly wine columnist for the Ottawa Citizen has just published a great new book “The Wines of Canada”.  Steve Robinson of Atelier is one of Ottawa’s recently passed the very difficult to obtain Master Sommelier accreditation.  Diane Willis is a certified sommelier and writer frequently involved in wine events in the Capital Region.

Now back to the other wines!

The first runner-up, Stratus 2015 Red, is a bold, sturdy blend of several varieties, that has become renowned for it complexity, depth and ageing ability, made in the Bordeaux tradition by French-raised J.L Groulx.  The second runner-up was a dazzling, precise sparkling wine – Les Etoiles 2014 – made by Hinterland, a Prince Edward County pioneer in making traditional method bubbly. In my opinion the scintillating 2014 is the best vintage to date.

Other reds enjoyed this evening included Meldville 2015 Cabernet Franc Second Edition from veteran winemaker Derrick Barnett, the wine that accompanied Gold Medal Chef Yannick from Restaurant Les Fougeres to the podium, based on a successful pairing with his duck magret.  The Grange of Prince Edward served a maturing 2013 Cabernet Franc from magnums – always a classy move – while Big Head Wines of Niagara poured a youthfully vigorous, complex 2017 Syrah.

Two whites were poured by chefs, including Thirty Bench 2016 Small Lots Chardonnay by Silver Medal winning chef Daniela Manrique from The Soca Kitchen; and Southbrook 2016 Triomphe Riesling, a powerful, dry riesling that reminded me of Alsace.

And finally, one of the most adventuresome beverages of the night was a sparkling mead called Beezz de Fun by Desrocher D Ferme Nueve in Quebecs’s Haut-Laurentides. It poured bone dry with great tension and flavours that veered into the unusual.

Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks again to our sponsors for making the Ottawa Kitchen Party truly great.

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Sponsors

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

Contact

Sue Holloway – Operations
57 River Garden Private
Ottawa, Ontario K1V 1M8
P: 613-286-3936
E: ottawa@greatkitchenparty.com

Julie Klotz – Sales
4790 Massey Lane
Ottawa, Ontario, K1J 8W9
P: 613-852-5553