Winners from Canadian Culinary Championships 2019
Chef Yannick LaSalle – Les Fougères
Paired with 2016 Barrel Select VQA Chardonnay, Meldville Wines.
Chef Christopher Hill – Taste Restaurant Group
Paired with 2017 Pinot Noir, Meyer Family Vineyards
Chef Dave Bohati – Murrieta’s
Paired with 2016 Pinot Noir, Tantalus Vineyards
What is the Canadian Culinary Championships?
12 gold medal winning chefs from across Canada
The Canadian Culinary Championships is the grand finale of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party events that are held annually in the fall. Staged in twelve cities, the events are a celebration of the pillars of Canadian culture – sport, music and food with a purpose of providing young Canadians the opportunity to be extraordinary in the same pillars. High performing athletes are provided the support they need to compete on the world stage. Musical instruments are purchased for schools, enabling students to discover the magic of music. And kids learn from leading Canadian chefs how to grow, cook and share healthy food addressing food security for all youth. Canada’s Great Kitchen Party and the Canadian Culinary Championships support B2ten, MusiCounts and Community Food Centres Canada.
In each of the twelve cities, 8 – 10 chefs compete with a dish of their choice paired with a Canadian wine, beer or spirit. To be invited to compete locally is a notch in the belt. To get on the podium is very difficult. To win gold is a major achievement! To be crowned the top chef in Canada at the Canadian Culinary Championships is a career changer!
Don’t miss on what will be the most extraordinary culinary competition you will ever witness!
The Three Judged Events
Mystery Wine Pairing
MYSTERY WINE PAIRING COMPETITION
Chefs are given a mystery bottle of wine and are challenged to create a dish with local ingredients that best complement the mysterious vintage, in a set amount of time and with a set budget. Guests will have the pleasure of sampling these creations on the opening night of the competition, in a stand up cocktail reception format. During the event, guests will taste the mystery wine and play ‘judge’ as they vote on the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for the best food and wine pairing. In addition, local breweries will be showcased along with a fantastic silent auction. Food and wine included.
THE BLACK BOX COMPETITION
One of the most exciting parts of the competition! Chefs will be given a black box containing a small array of diverse foods, and must produce and plate a spectacular dish for the national judges – all in one short hour! Guests won’t get much closer to watching an Iron Chef-type competition than this – you will be in the kitchen where all the action is! The local culinary college will create a fantastic spread of food during the competition for you to enjoy, and there is a mini-market featuring local products!
NOTE: this event is ONLY open to guests who purchase the Gold Partner, Hat Trick VIP Athlete Package or 3-Event package. Food prepared by the competing chefs are only plated for judges.
THE GRAND FINALE COMPETITION
On the final night of competition, anything goes. Chefs create their best dish for guests to sample, paired with a great Canadian beverage from their regional competition. By evening’s end, that year’s Canada’s Culinary Champion is crowned and a victory celebration will be staged including performances by some of Canada’s great musicians; elite athletes from amateur, para and pro-sport will be telling their stories; and signature trips will be available to incredible destinations! Food and beverages included.
Culinary Report - 2019
James Chatto Report – National Head Judge
The first chef to bring his dish to us was Chef Jason Morris of Pastel in Montreal. Seven separate elements adorned his plate most elegantly, four of them cauliflower – tiny, perfectly textured florets of purple, green and yellow varieties, and a dab of silky, buttery white cauliflower purée. But duck was the dish’s principal ingredient. Chef created a ballotine by setting strips of duck breast in a matrix of puréed chanterelles, truffles and duck jus, cooking it sous vide then finishing it on the grill. A round slice cut from the cylinder had the appearance of a mosaic and Chef Morris sauced it at the table, pouring on a jus made from the duck bones enriched with a little foie gras. More foie gras was turned into a creamy torchon – a dainty cylinder half an inch long and no thicker than my pinkie – wrapped in a red skin of cranberry gelee. A golden sphere the size of a golf ball turned out to be a cromesquis of juicy confited duck leg seasoned with burned thyme, sage and burned onion, mouthwateringly tender beneath a crunchy crust of fried potato flakes. The duck mosaic had a pleasingly firm texture – nothing pasty at all – and the flavours were all lucid and true. The chosen beverage was the bold, fruity, unfiltered Izumi genshu junmai sake produced in Toronto’s Distillery District, its creamy weight nicely judged against the textures of the dish, its floral nose working particularly well with the multicoloured cauliflower jewels.
The second dish was the work of Chef Takashi Ito of AURA in Victoria. He presented a generous grouping of west coast seafood, starting with a dramatic, sculptural whole prawn head karaage, fried to a crunch, that shattered like puff pastry between the teeth. It stood secure on a little tagarashi aïoli that also striped the plate, beside a second aïoli flavoured with red pepper and gochujang and dots of a third – a black garlic purée packed with umami. Beside the shrimp head was a very thin slice of pressed octopus “sheet” full of the flavour of the creature. A second cluster of treats on the plate was based upon a slim quilt of okonomiyaki pancake stuffed with shrimp, Taiwanese cabbage and tenkasu, expertly achieved, its base crispy, its centre soft. A shiso leaf formed a division between this and the seafood arranged on top – half a butter-seared scallop that had been deglazed with sake and was garnished with fish roe, a tender spot prawn poached in sake, and half a soft-boiled quail’s egg. A tiny pipette of soy sauce was provided to give a final umame spritz but it really wasn’t needed – the flavours were big and brave, speaking most eloquently of the sea. Chef chose sake for his pairing – an admirable decision: it was the pungent, fruity, unfiltered Renaissance Fraser Valler Junmai Nigori sake from Osake, made on Granville Island in Vancouver.
The third presentation was from Chef Jesse Friesen of The Merchant Kitchen in Winnipeg. He took lobster tail, poached it in serrano chili oil then glazed it with squid ink, turning it a dramatic midnight blue. He smoked Manitoba pickerel cheeks over cherrywood. Then he took the lobster and the cheeks and set them in a classic scallop mousseline, snow-white and fluffy. Under this monochromatic drum of sea flavours, we found a warm creamy purée of celeriac, potato, citrus and horseradish. Three green gnudi dumplings made with ricotta and arugula pesto were the second main component, bordered with juicy, earthy shimeji mushrooms. Three little garnishing ideas provided the dish’s umami component – motes of smoked pork belly, a shaving of truffle, and a little Spanish herring caviar. Dill fronds and fragments of a delicately brittle saffron tuille were scattered over the plate, then Chef poured on a rich lobster bisque spiced with a hint of cumin and cinnamon. His chosen wine was the crisp brut bubbly from the Okanagan, Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut.
Chef Thomas Carey of Fresh Twenty One in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, offered a splendid evocation of the terroir of the Maritimes. At its base was a rectangular slice of braised oxtail terrine that tasted entirely of the rich pulled meat, pressed into compaction. On top of this was an oyster poached so briefly it hadn’t seized at all. On either side of this, sharing its succulent texture were two slices of foie gras torchon cured in dulse. I have no idea how Chef Carey gets his torchon to keep such a trembling texture – much more like pan-seared foie gras than cured! Thin slices of pickled jerusalem artichoke added freshness and crunch while curved spines of crisp potato tuille undulated across the top of the dish. Celery shoots and chervil microgreens were the coup de grace and Chef finished the dish by spooning on a foamy sunchoke soubise from a saucepan. The wine match was one of the best of the evening, the minerality of the dulse and the oyster embracing similar characteristics in the bone-dry, complex 2017 Wild Ferment Cabernet Franc Rosé from Benjamin Bridge in Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley – a star if ever there was.
The fifth dish we tasted was the work of Chef Davina Moraiko from RGE RD in Edmonton. A firm pork boudin noir was its principal protein, the lighty spiced sausage given extra richness and texture by the inclusion of cured pork lardo and pearl barley. It sat atop a spoonful cider-sweetened hollandaise as rich and golden as egg yolk. Freshness came in from several directions – from a brunoise of fresh honeycrisp apple; from crunchy, lightly fermented green cabbage, chopped as finely as any slaw; and from a kale and roasted onion fluid gel. A fine green dusting on the plate was made from dehydrated, powdered kale and grated, cured pork heart. Pork crackling chicharrons provided ethereal crunch and a scattering red and pink flower petals added a pretty visual touch. I loved how the cider in the hollandaise reached out to the apple aromas of Chef’s chosen wine, the 2016 Riesling from Red Rooster on B.C.’s Naramata Bench.
Chef Elia Herrera of Colibri in Toronto was our next competitor. A generous slab of pork belly was the centrepiece of her creation, the meat cured three separate ways over three days then slow-cooked sous-vide for 14 hours before it was cut and its surfaces were crisped in a pan. On top of the pork we found a small quenelle of a smooth greeny-brown purée that Chef described as a Yucatan-style salsa of ground pumpkin seed spiked with habanero chilies and garlic. “Spread it over the meat,” she advised and we obeyed. Too fiery to eat on its own, it was a perfectly judged amount to work as a condiment when carefully spread, adding delightful heat and complexity. Chef’s sauce was a superb Oaxacan-style mole negro containing 48 separate ingredients; glossy, smooth and almost black it seethed with the dark, smoky flavours of various chilies and bitter chocolate. The pork sat on a slice of corn tamal, its texture turned from a polenta into something as smooth as a mousseline by the addition of pork fat. It had also picked up a little extra flavour from being wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf. Cutting these riches was a supreme of fresh orange marinated in orange flower water and a suggestion of cinnamon. Chef had chosen a lovely rosé from Southbrook Vineyards in Niagara as her match but Air Canada managed to freeze the shipment somehow and the wine was ruined. An hour before the event a local Okanagan producer stepped in with a very generous donation of his own delectable rosé, Misconduct Wine Co.’s 2015 Massacre Rosé, a gogeously fruity blend of seven different varieties. It was a lovely pairing.
Chef Christopher Hill of Taste Restaurant Group in Saskatoon won his regional gold medal with a dish he called “After The Fire” and he recreated it for us tonight. The inspiration was the way in which nature recreates itself after a fire and Chef introduced the idea by bringing a tray of smouldering cherrywood under a belljar to give us an olfactory hint. At the heart of the dish was a roulade of lightly cured, lightly smoked duck leg, confited and rolled with wild boar sausage, the meat blessed with a wonderfully juicy toothsome texture. Beside it Chef piped an aerated foie gras mousse with an ethereal texture, its surface tinted red with beet powder. Here was a parsnip purée, subtly flavoured with rosemary, there a whole morel sautéed in butter, and there a small mound of tender-crunchy smoked cabbage. A hank of crispy reindeer moss spoke of the woods while dots of intense sour cherry syrup recalled the orchard. A strip of chewy “bark” was made of salsify cooked in birch syrup, adding an intriguingly dark and bitter note to the spectrum of flavours. Juniper jus and flower petals finished the dish. A whisp of smoke from the belljar hung in the air – as it once did over the vineyard that produced the wine Chef chose, the 2017 Pinot Noir from Meyer Family Vineyards in the Okanagan Valley, a mouthful of spicy cherries. In that year, wild fires raged over the surrounding hills, though the grapes survived untouched.
Dish number eight was the masterful work of Chef Dave Bohati of Murrieta’s in Calgary. He chose to work with Brant Lake wagyu beef cheek, first brining it like pastrami for 72 hours then smoking it, crusting it, slow-cooking it sous vide and finally braising it. The result was astonishingly tender meat that fell apart at the touch of a fork, subtly flavoured with sweet smoke and thyme, star anise and black pepper. Chef paired it with four different preparations of Jerusalem artichoke – a rich purée, small roasted nuggets of the root, crunchy crisps and dime-sized slices of raw sunchoke that he briefly acidulated and vacuum-packed to keep them fresh and firm. Kabocha squash was the other major ingredient, used as a second purée, as a tender brunoise and also to make lovely little gnocchi, finished in a sauté pan with some roasted bone marrow and shaved fresh Burgundy truffles. Saskatoon berries served as a condiment, macerated in Chef’s chosen Pinot Noir but still whole and juicy. A little green herb oil was the finishing touch, bringing colour to the plate. That Pinot Noir, the 2016 Tantalus from Kelowna, BC, was an inspired choice made, Chef Bohati explained, because of the wine’s peppery notes and unusually high alcohol.
Chef Yannick LaSalle’s Grand Finale dish – the ninth we tasted – was another triumph. At its heart were several silky slices of cured and dried duck breast, beautifully fringed with sweet fat. First drawing the eye, however, was a dried fennel crisp, made by cutting a wafer-thin cross-section of a fennel bulb and turning it into a chip. The chip is then dipped into a simple syrup made with fennel juice, absinthe and sugar, dusted with fennel pollen and fennel salt and dehydrated to become a unique and flavourful garnish. The duck-fennel relationship was strengthened by a paste-like “sofrito” of fennel, duck jelly, onion, garlic, coriander seeds and fennel seeds, saffron and Chef’s chosen wine. Fragments of crispy duck skin were strewn over the top. Fresh celery leaves, chopped hazelnuts and a wee pool of hazelnut oil brought their own sweet, herbal and nutty aromas to the plate. The last touch was a powerful sauce made of tart sea buckthorn berries, fennel scraps and chili, bolstered by a brunoise of pickled fennel, ginger, onions and tarragon. In all, it was a complex but utterly harmonious affair – a homage to fennel more than anything else. It worked perfectly with Chef’s chosen wine, the gently oaked, lively 2016 Barrel Select Chardonnay from Meldville Wines in Beamsville, Niagara.
“It’s a taste of our garden,” said Chef Katie Hayes as she introduced her dish – the cherished ocean-side gardens that surround her restaurant, Bonavista Social Club near East Amherst Cove, Newfoundland. Chef’s protein was local pré-salé mousse, towit a slice of superbly tender loin, drizzled with a pure mousse jus, and a spoonful of hearty mousse stew hidden inside a dainty little flaky pastry puff. A layered pavé of tissue-thin potato, turnip and marigold beet really were from her own vegetable beds while pearls turned from more root vegetables were glazed with raw honey from her father’s apiary on the property. A big swoop of parsnip purée linked the two meaty elements and partridgeberries provided useful acidity. A crispy garlic chip and a sprin kle of smoked juniper sea salt were the final touches. Chef’s chosen wine worked in several contrasting and effective ways, to the delight of the judges. It was the 2015 Grower’s Blend Cabernet Franc from Tawse in Niagara.
And now we had reached the grand finale of the Grand Finale, the final dish of the weekend, courtesy of Chef Irwin MacKinnon of Papa Joe’s in Charlottetown, P.E.I. Surf and Turf is an island tradition, he explained, but I doubt it is usually achieved with such panache. He presented his medley of elements most dramatically, setting them between two vivid green asparagus spears and flooding the space with a rich, dark demi-glace. Here was a piece of juicy, sapid Certified Island Beef short rib topped with mustard seed. And there a perfectly textured slice of lobster tail with dots of lobster bisque serving s a second sauce. More beef was present in the form of Blue Dot Reserve tenderloin carpaccio, wrapped around a delicate lobster mousseline. Three layers of vegetable mousse – yellow, white and spinach green – were cut into a triangle, while a heart of cheddar cheese lurked inside a sturdy croquette of pulled beef. P.E.I. potato crisps added a final crunch. Chef had chosen a fine P.E.I. I.P.A. to go with his dish and UPSTREET Craft Brewery had brewed a special batch just for the Kelowna competition. Alas, Air Canada froze half the consignment and lost the rest. With the help of one of the Kitchen Party team, Scott Gurney, a local beer was found and again the substitute showed very well indeed – Four Winds Featherweight IPA.
While the party went into overdrive in the ballroom, we judges totted up ur scores and fed them into the master program on my computer. We have never had a Championship where the marks were so closely grouped with all eleven of the competitors still in a pack at the finish line. Chef Ito had won the Grand Finale with his masterful dish of west coast seafood but it was not enough to push him onto the podium. When all was said and done, Chef Dave Bohati won the bronze medal, Chef Christopher Hill the silver, and the new Canadian Culinary Champion was Chef Yannick LaSalle of Les Fougères in Chelsea, Quebec, representing Ottawa-Gatineau – a hugely popular and well-deserved victor who had made hundreds of friends over the weekend.
Wine/Beer/Spirits Report - 2019
30 Canadian Wineries Come Together in Kelowna
by David Lawrason
- The Wine of the Year
- The Mystery Wine
- The Chef Paired Wines
- The CCC Event Wines
- The Brewery Showcase
- List of all Participating Wineries & Breweries
A fabulous Niagara riesling waltzed off with the Wine of the Year title. A very fine and detailed Okanagan cabernet franc was the much-loved and celebrated Mystery Wine. A rich and intense Niagara chardonnay accompanied the gold medal winning chef to the podium. A French white grape called roussanne took a Naramata winery into the final round on behalf of Okanagan regional sponsors. And there were wines on deck from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, as well as sake from the Fraser Valley and Ontario.
It was a fun and wine filled three days of celebration of Canada’s culinary best in Kelowna. It is my favorite event on the annual calendar. But it is also a complicated event to understand with many, moving parts and partners. There were 30 wineries, two sake producers and one brewery on hand. So please follow along as I serve up the 2019 Canadian Culinary Championship in the following courses.
The Wine of the Year
Charles Baker 2014 Riesling, Picone Vineyard, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula
The Wine of the Year crown is not easily attained. In each Canada’s Great Kitchen Party city across the country in the fall of 2018, local wine writers, sommeliers and retailers assembled to taste all the wines, beers and spirits donated in their event. The winners went on to the national judging held in conjunction with the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna. (The list of the finalists is below)
On Saturday, Feb 2 I gathered with four other judges to taste through them. I was joined by two other current National Wine Awards judges – Janet Dorosynski of Ottawa who also works on developing export markets for Canadian wine at Global Affairs, and Rhys Pender MW who writes and educates in BC through his school called WinePlus. We were also joined by Sid Cross of Vancouver, a writer and culinary and food judge, as well as Harry McWatters, an Okanagan wine pioneer who is also Honorary Chairman of the Canadian Culinary Championships.
Despite the quality of the competition this year’s winner posted a solid victory, garnering three first place votes. It is a brilliant $35 Riesling from Charles Baker, who has specialized in single-vineyard Niagara Rieslings for over a decade. The Picone Vineyard sits just on the edge of the Niagara Escarpment above Vineland. The wine was made alongside JL Groux at Stratus Winery, where Charles Baker also works as marketing director.
“This is just amazing,” Baker said when he heard the news. “The whole team at Status moves mountains to help in the making of this wine”. The victory earns Charles Baker and company a week at a private villa at Borgo San Felice in Tuscany, Italy.
In second place came a bright and intriguing Naramata Bench-grown Lake Breeze 2017 Roussanne, a southern French variety that is working well in the hot growing season of the Okanagan Valley. This wine earned a berth the day before when the same judges selected it as the top wine donated to this year’s CCC. Third place went to Stags Hollow 2016 Grenache, another rare hot weather varietal, this time from Okanagan Falls.
The Best of Show Contenders
Lake Breeze 2017 Roussanne, Naramata Bench, BC
The Chase 2016 Chardonnay, Lake Country, BC
Vanessa Vineyards 2014 Syrah, Similkameen Valley, BC
Blomidon Estate 2014 Blanc de Noir, Nova Scotia
Mott’s Landing Brut Classic, New Brunswick
Domaine Queylus 2016 Cabernet Franc, Niagara Peninsula ON
Charles Baker 2014 Picone Vineyard Riesling, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara, ON
Domaine Queylus 2011 Cabernet Merlot Reserve, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Stag’s Hollow 2016 Grenache, Okanagan Falls, BC
Blue Mountain Gold Label Brut, Okanagan Valley, BC
The Mystery Wine
Mission Hill Family Estate 2016 Terroir Series, Cabernet Franc, Okanagan Valley
The chef’s competing at the Canadian Culinary Championship face three different tests. The first is to create a dish to match a “mystery wine” that is served blind, both to the chefs and all those guests who purchase tickets for the event. I am solely responsible for selecting this wine, the identity of which – even the color and varietal – is kept secret for weeks, so that there is no chance the chefs will have longer lead time to think about and prepare their creations.
This year I chose a very fine, layered and well-balanced Mission Hill 2016 Terroir Series Cabernet Franc from the Vista’s Edge Vineyard on the benches east of Oliver. The classic cabernet franc notes of raspberry, tobacco and graphite were nicely meshed with the barrel notes, and set in a smooth, nicely structured frame.
I chose this wine because of its balance and complexity. The Mystery Wine needs to challenge the chefs and give them enough flavours to work with, while also being appealing to guests who are drinking it blind for 90 minutes.
I also chose if because it is the first time I have used cabernet franc in this role. It is a hugely important, earlier ripening grape variety in both Ontario and British Columbia, and it’s quality and popularity are on the rise across the country. In fact, cabernet franc – which historically has been used as a blending variety in Bordeaux – is gaining some global traction as a single varietal wine.
In any event, I want to pay special thanks to Darryl Brooker, President of Mission Hill, for the super generous donation of enough of this $35 wine to provide such enjoyment for 400 people over the course of the evening. Mission Hill was the National Sponsor of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party this year. The West Kelowna-based company donated Reserve level wines to seven events across Canada last fall, plus super premium level Compendium to VIP tables at the Toronto event. It hosted a chef’s dinner on Jan 30, donated the Mystery Wine and donated yet more Reserve wines to the Grand Finale Celebration.
The Grand Finale Chef Paired Wines
For the final leg of the competition – the Grand Finale – the chefs have complete latitude to select the wines they choose to pair with their dish, and as a result the wines came from across the country. The pairing counted for a significant part of the Culinary judges’ decision in naming of this year’s champion.
There was an impressive and eclectic range of styles as the chefs got very creative – from sparkling wines to cabernet franc rose to riesling to oaked chardonnay, pinot noir and cabernet franc. Two chefs weighed in with sake – one from BC and one from Ontario – while the chef from New Brunswick/PEI chose to go with a local craft beer.
As reported by James Chatto, Gold Medal Chef Yannick LaSalle of Ottawa/Gatineau carried Meldville 2016 Chardonnay from Niagara to the podium. Silver medalist Christopher Hill of Saskatchewan poured Meyer Family 2017 Pinot Noir, and Bronze medalist Dave Bohati of Calgary selected Tantalus Pinot Noir. And I must personally add that I thought the gold medal pairing was sensational!
Of special note this night, was the generosity and community shown by two wineries. Word was received late Friday that the shipment of Southbrook Cabernet Franc Rose to be poured by chef Elia Herrara of Toronto had been frozen in transit. David Paterson of Tantalus Vineyard heard the news and – being sold out rose himself – contacted neighbouring Doug Reimer of Mirabel Vineyards, who spent all day Saturday rounding up his remaining stock. And responding to the same emergency Richard da Silva of Da Silva Vineyards donated six bottles of rose to the Culinary judges table.
The complete list of Finale wines follows, with Blue Mountain 2015 Brut highlighted above because it was the only chef paired wine that also made it to the Wine of the Year final mentioned above. And it was also served to VIPs during the Celebration.
The Chef Paired Wines
Tantalus 2016 Pinot Noir, Kelowna, BC
Red Rooster 2016 Riesling, Naramata Bench, BC
Meyer Family 2017 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Falls, BC
Southbrook Vineyards 2016 Estate Cabernet Rose, Niagara, ON
Meldville Wines 2016 Chardonnay, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Benjamin Bridge 2017 Wild Ferment Cabernet Franc Rose, Gaspereau Valley, NS
Tawse 2015 Grower’s Blend Cabernet Franc, Niagara, ON
Fraser Valley Junmai Nigori Renaissance Sake, BC
Izumi GENCHU Nigori Sake Junmai / Unpasteurized, ON
Go Devil American IPA, Upstreet Craft Brewery, P.E.I.
The CCC Regional Event Wines
Lake Breeze 2017 Roussanne, Naramata Bench, BC
The Canadian Culinary Championships is actually a series of five events over four days, and at each event, the wines are donated to help put more money into the hands of the Canada’s Great Kitchen Party’s beneficiaries. This year 30 different wineries were part of the proceedings, plus two sake producers and one brewery.
Most of the wines were presented at a Media and Judges Tasting on the Friday afternoon, where they are judged by the panel noted above. And this year Lake Breeze 2017 Roussanne from the Naramata was named the winner, earning it a spot in the Wine of the Year voting the following day.
The weekend kicks-off with an event called The Last Supper held every year in a fabulous private residence called White Spirit Lodge at the Big White Ski Resort. Each year the preceding Canadian Culinary Champion prepares a multi-course meal for the 85 guests. This year that duty went to Alex Chen of Vancouver’s Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar. The winery that donated to the evening is called The Chase, a relatively new project in the Okanagan’s Lake Country by Albertan Dennis O’Rourke. He has planted over 100 acres on steep slopes above Lake Okanagan and has built two wineries. A winery called The Chase is focused on white varieties plus pinot noir grown in the vicinity, while a second winery under construction called O’Rourke Family Cellars will soon be bottling premium pinot noir, chardonnay and riesling. The whole project is managed by Adrian Baker, who originally made wine at Craggy Range in New Zealand. Many thanks Adrian for your generosity and willingness to be part of the Last Supper.
Also on Wednesday and Thursday there were two separate welcome dinners – one for the chefs at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery in Westbank, the other for the culinary and wine judges at Kitsch Wines in East Kelowna. The latter was sponsored by the British Columbia Wine Institute, who hired famed Kelowna chef Mark Filatow of the Waterfront Restaurant to create a fabulous multi-course dinner. Proceedings opened with a fine Fitzpatrick 2015 Brut and various canapes. Kitsch Cellars poured it’s excellent 2015 Riesling with chicken liver parfait. Then came Roche Wines 2016 Chardonnay with a scallop and shrimp pasta, followed by a pair of Orofino syrahs with beef sausage. The chocolate semi-freddo desert was accompanied by Maverick 2015 Fio, a fortified wine.
On Thursday night all the chefs and judges and VIPS came together at the Laurel Packing House in downtown Kelowna for a private welcome reception. At this event the chefs got their first glimpse of the Mystery Wine. Guests at the reception enjoyed wines generously donated by BC properties in Andrew Peller Group. These included Red Rooster from the Naramata Bench, Sandhill Wines from Kelowna, and Gray Monk Cellars of Lake Country.
At both the Friday Night Mystery Wine event and the Saturday Grand Finale a number of other Okanagan wineries poured a selection of wines. On both Friday and Saturday night guests enjoyed wines from Da Silva wines in Naramata, from Volcanic Hills Winery in Westbank and from Time Winery in Penticton and Evolve Cellars in Summerland. At the media tasting, but the way, Evolve Cellars 2017 Riesling placed second in the voting. On the Friday night Kettle Valley Vineyards joined the line-up, while Red Rooster poured Saturday night.
During the VIP portion of the Saturday Grand Finale, and on the tables for the Celebration and entertainment portion, guests also enjoyed wines from Kitsch Wines, Lake Breeze, Hillside Winery, Tantalus and Mission Hill Family Estate. And Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery created a fantastic gin cocktail which was enjoyed by many during the competition.
The Brewery Showcase
British Columbia breweries also stepped up big time for the CCC weekend. The Brewery Showcase was a big hit at the Friday and Saturday night events, bringing together three B.C. breweries. Backcountry Brewing from Squamish, Luppolo Brewing of Vancouver and Kettle River Brewing of Kelowna. As well Cannery Brewing of Penticton poured at the Thursday night opening reception and during the Saturday Grand Finale. And in a situation very similar to the problem encountered by the Toronto chef, Irwin MacKinnon of PEI discovered that his hometown beer from Upstreet Craft Brewery had frozen in transit, being replaced generously by Four Winds Brewery of Delta, BC who provided their Featherweigh IPA.
The CCC Donating Wineries (in alphabetical order)
All in all, dozens of cases of wine from 30 wineries, two sake producers and five breweries were enjoyed over six events – and every drop of it donated! Canada’s Great Kitchen Party, its beneficiaries and its guests are forever grateful for such magnificent generosity.
Mission Hill Family Estate Winery (national sponsor)
Benjamin Bridge, Gaspereau Valley, NS
Blomidon Estate, Annapolis Valley, NS
Blue Mountain, Okanagan Falls, BC
Charles Baker, Vinemount Ridge, Niagara, ON
The Chase, Lake Country, BC
Da Silva Vineayrds & Winery, Naramata Bench, BC
Domaine Queylus, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Evolve Cellars, Summerland, BC
Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards, Summerland, BC
Gray Monk Winery, Lake Country, BC
Hillside Winery, Naramata Bench, BC
Kettle Valley Vineyards, Naramata, BC
Kitsch Wines, East Kelowna, BC
Lake Breeze, Naramata Bench, BC
Maverick Estate Winery, Oliver, BC
Meldville Wines, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Mirabel Vineyards, Kelowna, BC
Meyer Family Vineyards, Okanagan Falls, BC
Mott’s Landing Vineyard, Saint John River Valley, NB
Orofino Winery, Similkameen Valley, BC
Red Rooster Winery, Naramata Bench, BC
Roche Wines, Naramata Bench, BC
Sandhill Wines, Kelowna, BC
Southbrook Vineyards, Niagara Peninusla, ON
Stag’s Hollow, Okanagan Falls, BC
Tawse Winery, Niagara Peninsula, ON
Time Winery, Penticton,BC
Tantalus Vineyards, Kelowna, BC
Vanessa Vineyards Similkameen Valley, BC
Volcanic Hills Estate Winery, Westbank, BC
Sake, Beer and Spirits
Backcountry Brewing, Squamish, BC
Cannery Brewing, Penticton, BC
Four Winds Brewing, Delta, BC
Fraser Valley Junmai Nigori Renaissance Sake, BC
Go Devil American IPA, Upstreet Craft Brewery, P.E.I.
Izumi Genchu Nigori Sake Junmai / Unpasteurized, ON
Kettle River Brewing, Kelowna, BC
Luppolo Brewing, Vancouver, BC
Okanagan Spirits Craft Distillery, Kelowna, BC
My personal thanks for such fabulous generosity on behalf Canada’s wine, beer and spirits producers. And onward to the 2019 Campaign
National Wine Advisor