Two things stood out though: There were no female executive chefs competing, and most of the dishes were needlessly heavy. (I can’t help but think some would have been a little lighter had there been a woman or two at the propane stoves, as in years past.) That said, my favourite dish, and the winning dish, happened to be both gorgeous to look at and sprightly on the tongue.
It was the handiwork of Chef Jonathan Gushue of Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa. I’ve had his food before, and the chef is nothing short of a practitioner of white magic in the kitchen with all things local, vegetal, snouty and swimmy. He took home the gold for his dish of creamy salsify topped by Langdon Hall’s own Brussels sprouts leaves, crispy black salsify chips, all tossed around a preserved oyster -- just a hint of vinegar in it -- plus grated duck’s egg and smoked trout caviar for good measure. Somehow, it all formed a perfect bite, especially so with a taster glass of Organized Crime, 2009, Fume Blanc, also the winning wine pairing of the night.
Chef Gushue will compete at the Canadian Culinary Championships, the Gold Medal Plates Finale, held in Kelowna in February, 2012. Buy your tickets now (and visit the incredible Sparkling Hill Resort while you’re there), or just dig deep and donate to a great cause, Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes. They bring us all so much pride. Let’s show them how proud we are of them.
P.S. I took this photo at the Vancouver Winter Olympics, AKA, the Best Olympics Ever!