Canadian Culinary Championships: a celebration of Canadian excellence

    TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - Who will be named Canada's Best Chef? The answer
will be revealed during the Canadian Culinary Championships held in Toronto
February 7, 8 and 9, as seven regional winners from cities across the country
meet to compete. Culinary aficionados are invited to experience the three-day
competition that brings together Canada's leading chefs, Olympic and
Paralympic athletes and culminates in an exciting podium finish. Justin
Trudeau, Honourary ambassador, Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, actor Sonja Smits and
Olympic gold medalist Curt Harnett are just some of the celebrities attending
this weekend celebration of Canadian excellence.
    Vying for top honours this year are seven of Canada's most inspired,
passionate and talented chefs:

    Melissa Craig of Barefoot Bistro in Whistler (Vancouver)
    Paul Rogalski of Rouge (Calgary)
    Judy Wu of Wild Tangerine (Edmonton)
    Anthony Walsh of Canoe (Toronto)
    Michael Moffatt of Beckta Dining and Wine (Ottawa-Gatineau)
    Roland Ménard of Manoir Hovey (Montréal)
    Martin Ruiz Salvador of Fleur de Sel (Halifax)

    The Black Box Competition - Thursday, February 7

    Leading off the competition is the spirited Black Box challenge where
chefs are led away into a "cone of silence" then brought forth one by one to
the competition kitchens where each will be handed the Black Box containing
five secret ingredients. Iron Chef-style, they will have one hour to create
two dishes for each of the judges, using all the ingredients from the box and
anything they wish from the communal pantry. This is always the most exciting
and intense part of the Championships, when stress levels and sometimes
tempers run high.
    This competition will be held at George Brown College, Adelaide East
campus beginning at 6 p.m.

    Mystery Wine-Pairing Competition - Friday, February 8

    Prior to this event, each chef is given an unlabelled bottle of the 2007
Canadian Culinary Championship's "mystery wine" with instructions to create a
dish that would perfectly match the wine and a small sum of money with which
to buy ingredients.
    This competition demands that each chef stretch their dollar and explain
why they believe their dish is perfectly paired with the wine. Chefs then
present their dishes for guests to taste and vote on.
    There will be entertainment - the amazing Dr. Eugene Draw - and Honourary
judges such as Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo joining the party.
    The surprise guest is the winemaker who created the mystery wine and who
will present the Great Unveiling later in the evening.
    The Mystery Wine-Pairing Competition will be held at The Century Room
Night Club, King St. West beginning at 6 p.m.

    Grande Finale Saturday - February 9

    David Lawrason, wine writer and critic, and National Wine Advisor to Gold
Medal Plates, will be presenting medal winning wines from the top ten wineries
at the 2007 Canadian Wine Awards. Each of the chefs will be preparing one dish
at his or her food station for everyone to taste, paired with his or her
chosen wine from any winery in Canada. Star-studded entertainment and a host
of celebrities round out this exciting final event.
    After that, the judges' marks for the whole weekend are tabulated and the
winning chef will be crowned 2007 Canadian Culinary Champion. Apart from the
prestige of being named the winner of Canada's most significant national
culinary competition, the Canadian Culinary Champion will go on to be
Executive Chef for a day at Olympic Village, cooking for the athletes during
the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games in 2010.
    The Grande Finale event happens at the Arcadian Court, atop the Bay at
Queen and Yonge Streets beginning at 6 p.m.

    In addition to the competitive elements of the weekend, guests can enjoy
a number of exclusive culinary adventures including:

    Friday February 8, 10 a.m.: An exclusive, behind-the-scenes wine tasting
tour of the Niagara region led by David Lawrason. This package includes
transportation, all wine tastings and a gourmet lunch. Guests will be back in
time for the Wine Pairing competition.

    Saturday, February 9, 12 noon: Celebrate Chinese New Year with a
spectacular dim sum lunch specially prepared for guests by Lai Wah Heen's dim
sum master, Terrence Chan, widely regarded as the best dim sum chef in Canada.
Metropolitan Hotel, Chestnut St.

    Saturday, February 9, 3 pm: For the single malt aficionados, join James
Chatto for rare and exquisite single malt Scotch whiskies while discussing the
fine art of distillation. Soho Met Hotel on Wellington St. W.

    Tickets are still available to attend the full weekend of events and
competition, or on an individual event basis. Price list as follows:

    Full weekend: $895 + tax               Niagara Wine Tour: $250 + tax

    Black Box Competition - Thursday:      Dim Sum at Lai Wah Heen:
    $100 + tax                             $85 + tax

    Wine Pairing Event - Friday:           Single Malt Scotch Tasting:
    $150 + tax                             $75 + tax

    Grande Finale: $295 + tax

    Since its inception, Gold Medal Plates has donated more than $2 million
to support Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes and has elevated the
profile of Canadian cuisine and wine. For more information visit

For further information:

For further information: Media enquiries: Karen Petcoff, (416) 275-6844,; Karen Blair, (416) 778-6533

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