Chef Alejandro Winzer wins round five of Discovered Culinary Competition

TORONTO, Jan. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Chef Alejandro Winzer of Ristorante Verdicchio in Sudbury won round five of the new Discovered Culinary Competition, held last night at Nella Cucina in Toronto. Chef Winzer will join the winners of the first four rounds, Chef Arron Carley of Volos, Chef Trish Gill of Beast, Chef William Tolentino of Celestin and Chef John Koplimae of the Drake Hotel restaurants, to compete in the semi-finals at the CRFA Show, March 4 - 6, 2012 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.

The Discovered Culinary Competition is a four-month search for the best of Canada's up-and-coming culinary stars. The winning chef will get the opportunity of a lifetime:  an all-expenses-paid trip to spend a week cooking at a Michelin-star restaurant in northern Spain.

In a mystery box challenge, the Discovered Culinary Competition features four Canadian chefs competing against the clock each week to create an appetizer, entrée and dessert. In addition to Chef Winzer, last night's competitors were Christian Fontolan, sous chef at Vertical Restaurant in Toronto; Lucas Smith, head chef at Stuttering John's Bistro in Toronto; and Darren MacLean, sous chef at Bijou Restaurant in Stratford.

The judging panel comprises three local chefs. Last night's panel included Aaron Foster, executive chef of Little Anthony's Italian Bar; Anthony Rose, executive chef at the Drake Hotel; and Luca Stracquadanio, executive chef at La Bettola di Terroni/Osteria Ciceri e Tria, all in Toronto.

The mystery boxes included sea bass, bacon, dill and citrus fruits for the appetizer round. The entrée round included oyster mushrooms, hazelnuts, grainy Dijon and a capicolla pork steak from LiberTerre; and mascarpone, persimmons, cardamom and instant oatmeal for the dessert round.

Chef Winzer made a citrus-dill marinated sea bass ceviche for the appetizer round, with crispy bacon, rice paper tostada and balsamic reduction. His main course was a capicolla stew with olives, capers, cocoa, anchovies and grilled oyster mushrooms served on a hazelnut polenta with a Parmesan crisp. For dessert, Chef Winzer flambéed the persimmons in a cast iron skillet with bourbon and served it with cardamom mascarpone cream and oatmeal dust.

"I like to take chances," said Chef Winzer. "It's a small kitchen and the pantry is not vast, but it all comes down to the minute you start."

"Chef Winzer's main course was excellent and so was his dessert presentation," said Chef Stracquadanio. "All chefs were very creative and used great techniques."

"We were very impressed that Chef Winzer was so eager to participate in the competition that he flew down from Sudbury on his own dime," said Edwin Cabural, Expositions Director for the CRFA Show. "It's a good reminder that the Discovered Culinary Competition is open to all Canadian chefs and we encourage chefs to apply, as there are still some spots available."

The competition continues on Mondays in January and February. Applications are still being accepted. For more information and to apply, go to the Discovered Culinary Competition page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/discoveredchefs.The Discovered Culinary Competition is open to all Canadian chefs employed in the hospitality/foodservice industry. You must be at least 19 years old to compete. There is no entry fee.The competition is sponsored by Discover and presented by Nella Cucina and the CRFA Show.

Chef Winzer will next compete on March 4 or 5 at the CRFA (Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association) Show, Canada's largest event for hospitality professionals. The four semi-final winners will then compete on March 6 to determine the overall winner.

Registrationfor the CRFA Show (trade only) is open now at www.crfashow.ca and those who register before Jan. 16 are entered into a draw to win a professional espresso machine worth $1,500.

SOURCE Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association

For further information:

Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4254 or pvasanthakumar@crfa.ca.

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