Chef Results

Gold

Shane Chartrand
Sage

Pairing: Tantalus 2015 Pinot Noir

Silver

Steve Buzak
Royal Glenora Club

Pairing: McWatters Collection 2015 Meritage

Bronze

Ryan Hotchkiss
Bundock

Pairing: Lake Breeze 2016 Spice Jar

Best of Show Results

Gold

Tantalus 2015 Pinot Noir

Silver

Mission Hill 2016 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc

Bronze

Mission Hill 2016 Reserve Pinot Gris

Culinary Report

Gold Medal Plates kicked off its new campaign last night in Edmonton with a sold-out crowd of 770 guests and a party for the ages. The great Scott Russell was our thoroughly charming MC, coaxing amusing, candid and inspiring stories from the Olympic athletes on stage. We heard rip-roaring rock from our posse of musicians – Neil Osborne of 54/40, Geoffrey Kelly of Spirit of the West, Dustin Bentall, Sam Polley and Devin Cuddy – and our auction trips sold like hot cakes. As for the gastronomical component, it was stronger than ever as Edmonton continues to evolve as a food city and a new generation of young chefs come home from their travels to open up exciting new restaurants. Last night’s dishes were notably sophisticated and imaginative from all competitors but the judges were unanimous about who deserved to step onto the podium. Who were those judges, you ask? Our panel was led by Senior Judge Mary Bailey, the food, wine and travel writer, certified sommelier and publisher of The Tomato Food & Drink. Sharing the table was Chef Chris Wood of Maclab Hotels and Resorts; chef, author and owner of Kitchen culinary studio, Brad Smoliak; pastry chef extraordinaire, culinary Olympian and educator, Clayton Folkers; food writer, travel writer and restaurant reviewer with CBC Edmonton, Twyla Campbell; and of course last year’s gold-medal-winning chef, Eric Hanson of Prairie Noodle Shop.

Our bronze medallist was Chef Ryan Hotchkiss of Bündok who gave us a subtly delectable crudo of New Zealand sea bream, a splendid fish caught less than 24 hours before it reached our plates. Chef gave the fillets the lightest of salt-and-sugar cures then dipped it into ice water to mantain its pristine texture. He sliced smooth white petals of the fish into three little mounds on each plate then dressed them with a delicately flavoured but voluptuous vinaigrette made from a reduced stock of the smoked bream bones, spiked with a hint of rice vinegar and some neutral pomace oil. Strewn around these tiny mounds was a brunoise of fresh Elstar apple, dots of a piquant, bright red hot sauce made with chilies and apple juice, and fragments of Thai basil leaf. A trace of olive oil, lemon juice, coarse salt and a kind of togarashi made with basil seeds instead of sesame completed the plate. The seasoning was forthright but the final flavour experience was that of the rich, sweet flesh of the sea bream itself. Chef’s wine was an excellent match, picking up the citrus and basil on the plate – the 2016 Spice Jar from Lake Breeze Vineyards on the Naramata Bench, a tangy, slightly off dry, seriously aromatic blend of Gewurztraminer, Ehrenfelser, Schönberger and Viognier.

Steve Buzak, Executive Chef of the Royal Glenora Club, won the silver medal with a pressed braise of Tangle Ridge lamb neck. The little puck of meat, deftly touched with warm spices and herbs, was moist and succulent and half-surrounded by a silken purée of sweet potato. Stealing the show for most of the judges was an impeccably textured croquette made of soft taro root, foraged mushrooms and a little Winding Road RDB cheese. Saskatoon berries poached in their own gastrique added acidity to the creation, while shreds of basil brought a herbal note. The dramatic garnish looked like crumpled cellophane but tasted of its true self – potato chips, turned translucent through some molecular devilry. Chef found a great match for his lamb in Meyer Family 2015 McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir, a Burgundian-style Pinot with the perfect weight for the dish. Interestingly, the original Meyer family comes from Edmonton and were members of the Royal Glenora Club, in their day.

Chef Shane Chartrand of Sage won the gold medal by almost ten percent – the largest margin of victory I can ever remember at a Gold Medal Plates event. This was Shane’s seventh time competing with us and though he has frequently reached the podium, it was his first gold. His colleagues were as pleased as the crowd and the whole room gave him a standing ovation. His dish was a visual stunner that he entitled “Effects of Red.” He began the plating by putting five dots of red plum sauce onto the plate; then he turned the plate on its edge so the droplets of sauce became red streaks a few inches long. Then came larger dots of a rich and tasty almond-and-parsnip custard, scarlet balls of red-wine-poached pear, and slim coins of beet-stained, salted rutabaga. Against these rooty, fruity background flavours he set his two proteins – little rectangles of a dense but juicy terrine of pheasant breast enriched with pork neck fat, and beside them tiny drums of foie gras torchon, sprayed with a mixture of beet juice and cognac to perpetuate the “red” theme. Finishing touches were shards of black coral gami, like dark crimson snippets of lace but as crisp as melba toast, made by frying a watery batter on a very hot surface. Chef’s wine match did not let the side down – indeed, he explained that he had started conceiving of his dish with the wine already chosen: the 2015 Tantalus Pinot Noir. It worked particularly well with the pheasant and the roots – such a well-judged marriage.

So, huge congratulations to Chef Chartrand! We will see him in Kelowna next February. The new campaign has begun. Next stop, tomorrow night in Regina!

Wine/Spirits Report

Tantalus Pinot Noir Captures Gold, Mission Hill 2016 Reserve Whites Take Silver and Bronze at Packed Shaw Centre

By David Lawrason, National Wine Advisor

Gold Medal Plates 12th year kicked off in Edmonton Oct 12, with the City of Champions filling over 750 seats.  Which required a lot of wine!

This year 20 different wines were poured, ten during the chefs’ competition and ten during the Celebration, courtesy of this year’s national gold level sponsors.  More on this new development in a moment, but first to the winners of Best of Show.

The voting by our six judges was very tightly clustered around five wines, but Tantalus 2015 Pinot Noir from estate vines in East Kelowna won the day, a solid, balance and complex example indeed.  The same wine was also paired with a creative “red stained pheasant and pork compression, by chef Shane Chartrand of Sage restaurant.  So Tantalus pinot will be returning to home base in Kelowna to represent Edmonton at the Canadian Culinary Championship in February.

The Silver Medal went to the crisp, racy Mission Hill Family Estate 2016 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, and the Bronze went to Mission Hill 2016 Reserve Pinot Gris, an equally pristine and pure example of BC’s lead white grape.  I am very impressed the 2016 Mission Hill Reserves made by new winemaker Darryl Brooker. (Links to full reviews on WineAlign.com are below).

Both these wines were on guest tables for Celebration portion of the event – featuring addresses by Olympic athletes, entertainment by leading Canadian musicians and announcement of Award winners.

This year Gold Medal Plates launched a new three-tiered sponsorship program to acquire premium and reserve VQA wines for all events.  Four Canadian wineries have stepped up with a gold sponsorship, requiring donation to three cities. These include Arterra Wines and Mission Hill Family Estate, which have both donated to multiple cities, as well as Tawse Winery of Niagara and Devonian Coast of Nova Scotia.

Silver and Bronze level sponsors will be announced in reports on cities where they are involved.

In each city I assemble a panel of local wine writers, educators, sommelier and retailers to taste all the wines at the event.  Each judge ranks their top five wines, and the number of votes are tallied – five points for a first place vote, four for second etc.  In Edmonton only four points separated the top three wines.

In Edmonton I was joined by Gurvinder Bhatia of Vinomania and a wine commentator for the Edmonton Journal.  Wine educator William Binncoletto of Vines Wines Merchants had volunteered by was unable to attend, so were were joined by Steve Richmond from Vines.  Juanita Roos, owner of Color del Vino joined us again this year, as did Mary Bailey, a culinary judge who also posts a weekly video blog called TomatoFoodDrink.  And finally, we were joined by Evan Watson, sommelier at Bar Clementine.

Here are the wines poured during the Chef Competition and the Celebration.  My reviews for many of them can be found at WineAlign.com

The Best of Show

Gold – http://www.winealign.com/wines/101315-Tantalus-Pinot-Noir-2015

Silver – http://www.winealign.com/wines/100862-Mission-Hill-Reserve-Sauvignon-Blanc-2016

Bronze – http://www.winealign.com/admin/wines/100857-Mission-Hill-Family-Reserve-Pinot-Gris-2016

Chef Paired Wines

Lake Breeze 2016 Spice Jar, Naramata Bench

Sandhill 2015 Viognier Osprey Ridge, Okanagan Valley

Tantalus 2015 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley

50th Parallel 2014 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley

Meyer Family 2015 McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir, Okanagan Falls,

Malivoire 2015 Small Lot Gamay, Beamsville Bench, ON

Peninsula Ridge 2015 Cabernet Merlot, Niagara Peninsula

Ex Nihilio 2015 Merlot, Lake Country, Okanagan Valley

Black Sage 2015 Merlot, Okanagan Valley

McWatters Collection 2014 Meritage, Okanagan Valley

 

Sponsored Wines (in tasting order)

Mission Hill 2016 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, Okanagan Valley

Inniskillin Okanagan 2016 Reserve Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley

Mission Hill 2016 Reserve Pinot Gris, Okanagan Valley

See Ya Later Ranch 2016 Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley

Jackson-Triggs 2016 Grand Reserve White Meritage, Okanagan Valley

Mission Hill 2016 Reserve Viognier, Okanagan Valley

Cedar Creek 2014 Merlot, Okanagan Valley

Mission Hill 2015 Reserve Merlot, Okanagan Valley

Inniskillin Okanagan 2015 Merlot Dark Horse, Okanagan Valley

 

National Wine Advisor David Lawrason is co-founder of the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada https://www.winealign.com/awards, instructor for Fine Vintage Ltd Canadian Wine Scholar course https://www.finevintageltd.com/wine-courses/canadian-wine-scholar/ held nationwide,  and author of the monthly Canadian Wine Report at WineAlign.com.

Please contact David  for Gold Medal Plates wine sponsorship opportunities at david@davidlawrason.com

Sponsors

Thank you to the Gold Medal Plates sponsors and supporters who provide vital support to the project!

Contact

Lisa Pasin
ComLinks Events & Marketing
300, 10924 – 107 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5H 0X5
P: 780-448-5945
E: 780-428-1030
E: edmonton@goldmedalplates.com