TORONTO, Feb. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Chef Bruno Elsier, executive chef at Toronto French School, won round nine of the new Discovered Culinary Competition, held last night at Nella Cucina in Toronto. Chef Elsier will join the winners of the first eight rounds 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 Elsier, competitors included Claudio Giganti, chef/owner of Giganti Event Planning and Catering in Grimsby; Jorge Delarosa, first cook at Torito Tapas Bar in Toronto; and Deb Rankine, president of the Fridge Whisperer Cookbook Series in Pickering.
The judging panel comprises three local chefs. Last night's panel included Matt Blondin, chef at Acadia; Daniel Mezzolo, executive chef at Gusto 101; and Luca Stracquadanio, executive chef at La Bettola di Terroni/Osteria Ciceri e Tria, all in Toronto.
The mystery boxes included shrimp, kaffir lime leaves, tomatoes and corn chips for the appetizer round; Liber Terre lamb loin chops, Israeli couscous, eggplant and black olives for the entrée round; and strawberries, basil, mascarpone and balsamic vinegar for dessert.
"I usually compete three times a year," said Chef Elsier. "After 20 years in the business, the bug is still there. Competing gives you an idea of what level you're at and really, it's fun."
For his appetizer, Chef Elsier butterflied the shrimp and coated it with a breading of crumbled corn chips and chopped lime leaves and served it with a cocoa chili mayo. He grilled the lamb with garlic, olive oil and rosemary for the entrée and cooked the couscous with fennel seeds and garlic salt. He served it with grilled eggplant, braised mushrooms and roasted tomatoes, with a julienne of black olives. For dessert, he created a pastry cream using mascarpone, vanilla and buttermilk and macerated the strawberries with balsamic vinegar and basil.
"They all did a great job," said judge Chef Blondin. "It's easy to talk the talk, but harder to walk the walk, and Chef Elsier was consistently good."
Winners to date:
Round 1 - Chef Arron Carley of Volos restaurant, Toronto
Round 2 - Chef Trish Gill of Beast restaurant, Toronto
Round 3 - Chef William Tolentino of Celestin restaurant, Toronto
Round 4 - Chef John Koplimae of the Drake Hotel, Toronto
Round 5 - Chef Alejandro Winzer of Ristorante Verdicchio, Sudbury
Round 6 - Chef Glenn Sheridan of Le Bon Marché, North Bay
Round 7 - Chef George Tyminski of Annona restaurant, Park Hyatt Hotel, Toronto
Round 8 - Chef Mitchell Lamb of Stone House in Burlington and Lake House in Vineland
The competition continues through 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 Elsier 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.
Registration for the CRFA Show (trade only) is open now at www.crfashow.ca.
For further information:
Prasanthi Vasanthakumar, Communications Specialist, 1-800-387-5649, ext. 4254 or [email protected]