Gold Medal Plates
The Road to the Canadian Culinary Championships
Gold Medal Plates supports Canada’s athletes through the ultimate celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Celebrated in eleven cities across Canada, Gold Medal Plates features the premier chefs in each city in a competition to crown a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in each city, and subsequently nation-wide at the Canadian Culinary Championships, held the following February. Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has received tremendous support and accolades all across Canada, and generated a combined net total of over $13 million for Canada’s Olympic athletes!
Who We Are
Founded by two passionate Canadians – Stephen Leckie and Karen Blair, the project was established to raise funds annually for Canada’s high performance athletes, while celebrating Canadian excellence. Gold Medal Plates is substantial in its scope as it is supported by corporate partners, philanthropic business leaders, chefs, wineries, breweries, distilleries, nationally and internationally recognized musicians, Olympians and hundreds of volunteers.
- Stage unique events on an annual basis for over 5000 Canadians and celebrate Canadian excellence in food, wine, athletic achievement and entertainment.
- Continue to further develop the finest culinary competition in Canada and feature the best chefs and Canadian wines, beers and spirits in the country.
- Build on the momentum of the Canadian patriotism experienced at recent Olympic Games and demonstrate to our Canadian Olympic athletes that Canadians are committed to their development, passionate about their journey, and proud to have them represent us on the world stage.
- Raise funds for the Canadian Olympic Foundation to support Canadian Olympic athletes.
Cities & Dates
The Six Pillars of GMP
Gold Medal Plates is an event staged in eleven cities in which 5-10 chefs are invited to compete annually in each city. A team of food and wine critics from each city work with national critics to determine the top three winning creations and then a gold, silver and bronze medal-winning chef is crowned.
To be invited to compete at a regional level is a notch in the belt. To win the gold is a major achievement! The gold medal winning chef then has the opportunity to go on to compete at the national finale – The Canadian Culinary Championships – this year on to be staged on February 1st and 2nd, 2019 in Kelowna, British Columbia. Only one chef wins and to be crowned the top chef in Canada is a career changer!
James Chatto, national head judge and culinary advisor, oversees the selection and judging process of the more than 100 competing chefs, each vying for that coveted trophy. This year’s winner – Chef Alex Chen, from Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in Vancouver, paired his final winning dish with Sea Star 2016 Ortega from Pender Island, BC and is the Canadian Culinary Champion for 2018. (to find out who is competing this year in any of the cities, go to that city’s page)
The celebration of Canadian wine, beer and spirits has become an integral part of the success of Gold Medal Plates. The wine, beer and spirits that are presented to the more than 5000 Gold Medal Plates guests gets more comprehensive and more fascinating each year. Under the expert guidance of David Lawrason, Gold Medal Plates national wine advisor, Gold Medal Plates is now the largest program in Canada to feature and highlight excellent Canadian wines.
Gold Medal Pints
For 2018, Gold Medal Pints will be transformed into an open-access, cross-Canada beer competition! While details are still being finalized, the contest will divide the entries into a half-dozen categories based upon general flavour attributes, rather than the more cumbersome beer styles approach, and segment the country into six regions – British Columbia, Alberta, Prairies & Territories, Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
Each year, over 200 retired and current Olympians attend Gold Medal Plates’ events. The competition is a stand-up format and it is at this time that guests get to meet the athletes and the athletes have the opportunity to meet and network with influential business people. During the second portion of the evening corporations have the opportunity to host key Olympians at their table and hear their amazing stories. Scott Russell, CBC writer and broadcaster or a Celebrity Olympian emcee the events and provide a colorful commentary. The athletes get to enjoy an incredible night of food and wine while meeting and experiencing Canadians who emotionally and financially are keen to support their journey to the podium. Check out which athletes are coming to your city by linking to that event and find out more about how the thirteen million currently raised by Gold Medal Plates has helped Canadian Olympic athletes.
Jim Cuddy, lead singer of Blue Rodeo is the Gold Medal Plates national entertainment advisor. He invites incredible Canadian talent to share the stage with him. Gold Medal Plates is known for its intimate and unique combinations of Canadian talent. It’s a rare treat to hear Jim Cuddy and Ed Robertson banter and then sing together on stage or to hear the amazing voices of Barney Bentall, Tom Cochrane and Geoffrey Kelly together. Gold Medal Plates has included Jim Cuddy, Barney Bentall, Ed Robertson, Alan Doyle, Sam Roberts, Tom Cochrane, Anne Lindsay, Melissa McClelland, Luke Doucet, Dustin Bentall, Kendel Carson, John Mann, Geoffrey Kelly, Neil Osborne, Colin Cripps, Danny Michel and Johnny Reid.
Gold Medal Plates incorporates some very unique travel experiences that are auctioned at every event to raise funds for Canadian Olympic athletes. Guests have the opportunity to travel to desirable national and international destinations, interact with Canadian Olympic athletes, enjoy amazing Canadian entertainment and meet like-minded people who are also keen to celebrate Canadian Excellence.
Each year, over 600 Canadians from across the country embark on travel experiences like they have never experienced before. Gold Medal Plates has gained a reputation of creating week-long adventures that combine great food, wine, entertainment and activity …whether it be cycling in Tuscany, wine tours in Portugal, visiting the filming locations of “The Hobbits” in New Zealand or participating in a unique Gold Medal Plates adventure in Newfoundland. These are once in a life time experiences with Canadian Olympic athletes and Canadian icons in the music industry. In 2018, guests will be going to Big White and the Canadian Culinary Championships – wondrous snow, the best chefs in the country, a hockey game on an outdoor rink and skiing with Ashleigh McIvor, Tuscany (10th anniversary!) – food, wine tours, cycling and hiking with Curt Harnett and Melissa Tancredi, Mallorca – hiking, cycling, wine, amazing food and stories from Marnie McBean and Rosie MacConnell, Morocco – fascinating geography and culture, mountain biking, hiking and time with Adam van Koeverden, Belgium/France – Canadian history, great Belgium pints, French bubbly and lots of laughs with new minted triple gold and double silver medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Canada – 1001 club – cycling the back route between beautiful Lake Louise and stunning Whistler with drop in celebrities/chefs and athletes.
Guest ratings on Gold Medal Plates trips are a consistent 9 or 10/10. 2019 Trip Destinations will be announced in June 2018. Which one will you choose for 2019?
VIEW A 2018 TRIP?….click on the destination above