Auberge du Pommier's Executive Chef Marc St. Jacques Wins Gold at the 2013 Canadian Culinary Championships

TORONTO, Feb. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - On Saturday, February 9th, Toronto Chef Marc St. Jacques took home top honours at the prestigious Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, British Columbia. Competing against renowned chefs from nine other cities across Canada, Chef Marc and his culinary team from Auberge du Pommier, Motonobu Nishimura and David Matus, prepped and plated hundreds of dishes over the course of the competition. Together, they achieved the highest combined score from a panel of esteemed food writers, critics and industry professionals.

The two-day championships featured three individual competitions. The first was a "Mystery Wine Pairing" that provided each chef with the same unidentified Canadian wine. The challenge of presenting the perfect pairing using local ingredients was further heightened with the small budget of $500 for 400 guests. The second competition, the "Black Box", required chefs to create two different dishes using six surprise ingredients within a tense 60 minute time limit. The "Grand Finale" showcased each chef's most innovative dish, which was elevated with a complementing Canadian wine or beer pairing.

James Chatto, National Culinary Advisor and Head Judge of the Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships had high praise for Chef Marc's performance, "Marc St. Jacques performed brilliantly throughout the weekend. His Wine Matching Challenge dish was intelligent and visually stunning, but it was the two dishes he created under pressure for the Black Box competition that took him into the lead. Imaginative and technically impeccable, they seemed to the judges to be in a class of their own. He also won the Grand Finale, albeit by the tiniest of margins, with a dish that impressed everyone with its elegance and then startled them with the intensity and balance of its flavours. Overall, he was a clear and unanimous winner - a very worthy champion."

The Plates

Mystery Wine Pairing Competition (Feb 8):
Wine: Norman Hardie 2010 County Pinot Noir from Prince Edward County Enoki mushrooms, basil and scallion wrapped in beef strip loin, dark fruit mustard, warmed with a roasted beet and red cabbage consommé

Black Box Competition (Feb 9):
Black Box Ingredients: red fife wheat flour, farmed sturgeon caviar, Carmelis Artisanal goat Gruyère, Tuscan black kale, heritage Anjou pear and bone-in shoulder and neck of Katahdin lamb

Dish One: Pear mille-feuille seasoned with fresh ginger, caviar and lemon vinaigrette, warm pear and celery

Dish Two: Roasted lamb shoulder on textures of kale, Gruyère cream, lamb neck jus and a red fife batter-fried shallot ring

Grand Finale Competition (Feb 9): 
Québec foie gras terrine with white soy gelée, black sesame financier, Meyer lemon curd, shiso and black sesame tempura, paired with Peller Estates Ice Cuvée

Chef Marc St. Jacques at Auberge du Pommier

Chef Marc joined the Auberge du Pommier team in 2011 following two years as Executive Chef of Michael Mina's One Starred Michelin restaurant at the Bellagio Las Vegas, where he earned top distinctions such as the New York Post's Top 10 Restaurants in Las Vegas, Forbes Travel Guide's Four Star Award. He was born in Belgium but grew up in Montréal and Toronto.  He received formal chef training at the Culinary Institute of America.

Auberge du Pommier, now celebrating its 25th year of service, is the crown jewel of the Oliver & Bonacini portfolio.  Considered to be among the most beautiful dining rooms in Canada, the restaurant prides itself on providing exquisite modern French cuisine and knowledgeable, inspired service.

To commemorate Chef Marc's achievement, the restaurant will be featuring the acclaimed foie gras dish, complemented by the Peller Estates Ice Cuvée for a limited time.

The Competitors

St. John's, Shaun Hussey, Chinched Bistro
Montreal, Daren Bergeron, Fou d'Ici
Ottawa, Jamie Stunt, Oz Kafe - SILVER
Toronto, Marc St. Jacques, Auberge du Pommier - GOLD
Winnipeg, Östen Rice, Wasabi Sabi
Regina, Milton Rebello, Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza - BRONZE
Edmonton, Nathin Bye, Wildflower Grill Restaurant
Canmore, Eden Hrabec, Crazyweed Kitchen
Saskatoon, Darren Craddock, Riverside Country Club
Kelowna, Mark Filatow, Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar

The Judges

St. John's, Karl Wells
Montreal, Robert Beauchemin
Ottawa, Anne DesBrisay
Toronto, Sasha Chapman
Toronto, James Chatto
Winnipeg, Jeff Gill
Saskatchewan, CJ Katz
Edmonton, Mary Bailey
Calgary, John Gilchrist
Kelowna, Perry Bentley
Vancouver, Sid Cross
Vancouver, Andrew Morrison

About Gold Medal Plates

Celebrated in 10 Canadian cities in 2012, Gold Medal Plates is the premier celebration of Canadian excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Gold Medal Plates pits top chefs against each other to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals. Each city's gold medalist subsequently competes nationwide at the Canadian Culinary Championships.

The ultimate goal of Gold Medal Plates is to raise funds for the Canadian Olympic Foundation in support of Canada's high-performance athletes, while also celebrating Canadian excellence in food, wine and entertainment. Since being founded in 2003, Gold Medal Plates has received tremendous support, generating over $6 million for Canada's Olympic athletes.

About Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants

Oliver & Bonacini is recognized as one of Canada's leading fine dining restaurant companies, operating 11 unique and innovative restaurants in Ontario. Operations include à la carte dining, quick service, catering, group dining and special events. Unique concept restaurants include Canoe, Jump, Auberge du Pommier, Biff's Bistro, Luma, O&B Canteen and Bannock. The company also operates a midrange casual dining concept, Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill, with locations in Toronto, Blue Mountain and Oakville. The company's private dining and events division, Oliver & Bonacini Events, manages a number of large scale event facilities, including the Toronto Region Board of Trade, Malaparte at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Windermere House on Lake Rosseau in Muskoka and Arcadian. Oliver & Bonacini credits its success to the development of a strong corporate culture, where excellence of food quality and service are valued above all else. For more information, please visit www.oliverbonacini.com.

Photos may be downloaded at this link: http://oliverbonacini.com/OliverBonacini/media/images/CCC2013.zip (Photo Credit: Brian Chambers)

SOURCE: Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants

For further information:

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:

Theresa Suraci
Director, Marketing & Communications
Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants
Tel: (416) 485-8047 ext. 228 Fax: (416) 485-7674
Email: theresa.suraci@oliverbonacini.com

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