Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gold Medal Plates Ottawa 2009


Chef Michael Carmichael and Team

This is going to be a long post so I'm going to cut to the chase.

Gold Medal Plates Ottawa. Wednesday October 28th. A charity gala that celebrates Canadian cuisine, wine, and Olympic athletes. Ten chefs competed for gold. Proceeds used to support the Canadian Olympic foundation. An annual event that takes place in six cities across Canada.

Gold Medal: Chef Matthew Carmichael, Restaurant E18hteen
Silver Medal: Chef Michael Blackie, Le Cafe
Bronze Medal: Chef Ben Baird, Urban Pear


Now, if you want the extended detailed version, read on my dear readers...

Gold Medal Plates Otawa '09 was held at the Hilton Lac-Leamy hotel, and was a sold out event with over 500 participants. The evening was packed with good food, good entertainment, and loads of auction items to spend your money on. Of course, the main attraction was the food.

Ten local chefs (with the help of their fabulous teams) competed. Here is the run down:

Yannick Anton, Signatures, Le Cordon Bleu
Ben Baird, The Urban Pear
Michael Blackie, Le Cafe, National Arts Centre
Matthew Carmichael, Restaurant E18hteen
Duane Keats, Luxe Bistro
Kenton Leier, Capital Dining Room, Delta Hotel
Marc Lepine, Atelier
Michael Moffatt, Beckta Dining and Wine
Rene Rodriguez, Navarra
Warren Sutherland, Sweetgrass Aboriginal Bistro

Prior to the main event, last year's winner, Charles Part of Les Fougeres, served up a dish of maple brushed wild Baffin Island Arctic Char. The fish was served on top of a parsnip-sherry puree and citrus basil jus.

Les Fougeres, Gold Medal Plates 2009
Les Fougeres Team Serving Maple Arctic Char

In the meantime, this year's competing chefs were busy preparing their food in the main salon. There were 10 food stations in total, and each chef was teamed with a local winery and Canadian athlete. Here's a tour of the excellent food I ate:

First up is Ben Baird of Urban Pear. He was in a prime location as it was the first station you saw as you walked into the main salon. Chef Ben Baird served a dish of Ontario grass fed AAA beef tartare with a stick of beef flank jerky and organic beet and beef marrow creme brulee. Over top was a seedling salad. Everything about this dish was awesome. I loved the hints of crunchy and sour from the house cured pickles in the beef tartare, and the beef marrow creme brulee was silky smooth.

Beef Tartare and Bone Marrow Creme Brulee
Ben Baird - Beef Tartare, Beef Marrow Creme Brulee, and Beef Flank Jerky

Next was Kenton Leier of Capital Dining Room. This station served an espresso spiced Bearbrook Farms venison loin with foie gras ravioli, wild mushroom, black garlic, beet salad, vanilla butternut squash puree, cherry compote, and spicy chocolate jus. This dish was good, but I have to admit, it was one of the last dishes I tried, and my stomach was just too full for me to pick up any fine points.

Venison Loin
Kenton Leier - Espresso Spiced Venison Loin with Foie Gras Ravioli

Third was Duane Keats of Luxe Bistro. His dish was quail three ways. First was a confit leg shepherds pie topped with dehydrated cranberry dust. Second was the breast stuffed with Le Coprin mushroom and spinach with a pumpkin puree beneath. Third was a savoury pickled cranberry brulee. The paint on the plate was a reduced pinot noir from Coyote's Run Winery, their paired winery. The paint was then dusted with gold flakes. I thought the gold flakes were a nice touch. This was a nice dish overall, and I especially enjoyed the quail confit shepherds pie.

Quail 3 Ways
Duane Keats - Quail Three Ways

Next was Chef Rene Rodriguez's station. This story is an unfortunate one. I had arrived too late and was sad to hear that they had run out of food! I was really looking forward to this station, and I've made a note to self - don't talk so first :) I did try a piece of their leftover parsnip gnocchi, but it just wasn't the same. Rene's dish was three compositions based on Quebec milk fed piglet and Ontario parsnips. Darnit!

Parsnip Gnocchi
Rene Rodriguez - The Leftover Parsnip Gnocchi

The next dish was the champion dish: pan roasted sustainable sea bass, crispy braised octopus, and steamed rock shrimp siu mai served over a fresh ground curry sauce. Chef Matthew Carmichael definitely did a great job on this dish, and it was simple and clean.

Sea Bass, Octopus, and Shrimp Sui Mai
Matthew Carmichael - Sea Bass, Octopus, and Rock Shrimp Siu Mai

Michael Moffatt served 3 mini courses. The first was a bite sized biscuit with salt cured tuna loin, smoked and rendered pork belly, arugula and tomato & tarragon powder.

Salt Cured Tuna Loin
Michael Moffatt - Salt Cured Tuna Loin & Smoked and Rendered Pork Belly

The second mini course was a lobster risotto.

Lobster Risotto
Michael Moffatt - Lobster Risotto

And third was a deep fried boneless BBQ pork rib. Although the food was good, I expected more pizazz.

Boneless BBQ Pork Rib
Michael Moffatt - Boneless BBQ Pork Rib

Warren Sutherland served an Ottawa farmer's cassoulet. This was a hearty beet stew with a trio of meats: duck sausage, braised pork, and lamb bacon folded in beans. Served with the stew was a crispy king eringi mushroom slice and tomato powder.

Farmer's Cassoulet
Warren Sutherland - Ottawa Farmer's Cassoulet

Marc Lepine served a wonderful caramel apple boar dish. This was one of my favorites. It was a Mariposa wild boar belly cooked sous vide and then pan seared via induction. On top was fleur de sel and Mill Street Tankhouse ale bubbles. Beneath was a fresh green apple and jalapeno salsa. On the side were dehydrated sweet potato chips. Complimentary to the dish were tastes of caramel, vanilla, crab apple, honey Dijon mustard, sage, and truffle.

Pork Belly
Marc Lepine - Caramel Apple Boar

Another one of my favorites was Yannick Anton's venison dish. It was slow cooked deer tenderloin and deer osso bucco. The osso bucco was served in what he called a chestnut puree mille feuille. Also part of the mille feuille were porcini mushrooms and a Saskatoon berry jelly slice.

This station also served an edible cocktail that combined foie gras and apple. The cocktail had many different textures and taste: crunchy, smooth, bitter, sweet, and salty. Although unique, I didn't enjoy it very much.

Venison Tenderloin
Yannick Anton - Venison Tenderloin and Osso Bucco

Chef Michael Blackie's station was executed with style. He had live dancers that were projected on to a screen, and his dishes were prepared on a moving conveyer belt. The last time I saw dancers like that was in a bar in Vegas.

Michael Blackie Mural
Michael Blackie Mural with Live Dancers

His dish was entitled 'Clawing the Paw': a hemisphere of lobster bisque with a knuckle meat core and rabbit carpaccio, manicotti of lobster with acidulated chanterelles over top of a cauliflower truffle peach pulse, and rabbit leg confit.

Lobster 3 Ways
Michael Blackie - Clawing the Paw

After the food fest, the chefs had to patiently wait while they had 2 hours of live entertainment and auctions.

Gold Medal Plates Ottawa 2009

The moment right before the winners were announced...

Gold Medal Plates Ottawa 2009

And, a final glimpse of the three winners:

Gold Medal: Chef Matthew Carmichael of Restaurant E18hteen.

Chef Matthew Carmichael
Matthew Carmichael and Wife Sheila

Silver Medal: Chef Michael Blackie of Le Cafe.

Chef Michael Blackie
Michael Blackie and Wife Jillian

Bronze Medal: Chef Ben Baird of Urban Pear.

Chef Ben Baird
Ben Baird

For more information on the event, check out the Gold Medal Plates website.


The Asian Pear said...

That looks like a super awesome (and yummy) event! Why doesn't Toronto have anything like this?!?! :(

nooschi said...

Looks like Toronto's Gold Medal Plates is Nov 19th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. You can check it out at

Su-yin said...

The food all looks absolutely amazing - I would love to have a chance to taste the Sea Bass, Octopus, and Rock Shrimp Siu Mai dish!

La Table De Nana said...

You went? I had never heard of this! How exciting and what beautiful photos you took! I have only eaten at Beckta..Lots of great recommendations! Thanks for sharing all these great photos..

nooschi said...

La Table De Nana,
Yes, it was my first time attending. The food was amazing and all the chefs did a really good job.

The Little Teochew said...

Feast for the eyes! Wow!!!

don said...

Love your coverage of the event. Thank-you...Thank-you for the beautiful photography and descriptions.

Until I stumbled across your blog entry, there was little to no info on the dishes that didn't place in the top 3.

Cheers :)

nooschi said...

No worries at all. Thanks for dropping in and thank you for the nice comment.

Audrey C. said...

What a fun and delicious evening! Great photos!