Chef Awards

2016

Chefs

  • Chef: Garrett Thienes
  • Restaurant: Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market
  • Pairing: Dirty Laundry Vineyards, 2014, Pinot Noir

Best of Show

Orofino 2014 Scout Vineyard Riesling

Chefs

  • Chef: Curtis Toth
  • Restaurant: DoubleTree by Hilton
  • Pairing: Vintage Ink 2014 Wild White

Best of Show

Eau Vivre 2014 Pinot Noir

Chefs

  • Chef: Joel Williams
  • Restaurant: The Capitol Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
  • Pairing: Eau Vivre Winery, 2014 Pinot Nior.

Best of Show

Sandhill Small Lots 2013 Three

James-Chatto-by-George-Whiteside-high-resCulinary Report
by James Chatto by National Culinary Advisor

With Halifax under our belt (in every sense) the Gold Medal Plates Flying Circus headed off pronto for the prairies. Those of us on the early flight (5:20 a.m.) out of Halifax were smug in the knowledge that we would arrive in good time but alas, Regina was socked in and the plane was diverted to Saskatoon for refuelling. But we made it in time and I’m so glad we did! It was a mighty shindig, with the excellent Catriona Le May Doan taking over as emcee, inspiring words from a host of athletes and brisk bidding on all our trips. The energy of the evening just seemed to grow and the sold-out crowd turned it into a wonderful party, dancing in the aisles to fabulous music from Jim Cuddy and Ed Robertson (their banter growing more and more hilarious) and Barney Bentall, with Anne Lindsay, Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley sharing the stage.

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david-new-2014Wine Report
by David Lawrason, National Wine Advisor

It’s a long and improbable way between Saskatchewan and B.C.’s Similkameen Valley, but on this night in Regina two winning wines were the product of the journey.

John and Virginia Weber moved from Swift Current to the remote Similkameen in  2001 to found Orofino Winery. And each year they support a chef in their home province by pouring at Gold Medal Plates. Their delicious, complex and highly structured Scout Vineyard 2014 Riesling was, in my opinion, far and away The Best of Show, and other judges almost unanimously agreed. As a result it will compete for the title of GMP Wine of the Year in Kelowna in February 2017

Saskatchewan natives Dale Wright and Jeraldine Estin followed the Webers to the Similkameen, and founded Eau Vivre Winery in 2007.  They too have been proud to support a Saskatchewan chef, pouring their refined, elegant Best of Show Runner Up 2014 Pinot Noir with the dish that earned Chef Garrett “Rusty” Thienes of Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market in Shaunavon honours as Regina’s Gold Medalists.

The Best of Show Award was deigned to recognize and honour the wineries, breweries and distilleries that donate so generously to Gold Medal Plates.  Andrew Peller is one of the largest donors year after year.  Canada’s largest family-owned wine company owns familiar brands like Trius, Wayne Gretzky, Red Rooster, Sandhill and Thirty Bench, brands that Regina guests enjoyed this night.

Our all-Saskatchewan panel of Best of Show judges consisted of three fine gentlemen, two of whom also lent their palates in Saskatoon, as well. Rob Dobson is a wine lover and collector who formerly wrote for  Savour Life. Gavin Jensen is a super-enthusiast, with a winemaking project in Washington.  From Saskatoon we were joined in Regina by Robert Peterson-Wakeman.

To find out more about the winning chefs and the wines that earned them the podium please read the report by Chief Culinary Judge James Chatto.  Meanwhile here is the list of all wines, beers and spirits poured in Regina

The Regina Wines

Stellers Jay Brut
Okanagan Valley

2015 Conviction White
British Columbia

Vintage Ink 2014 Wild White
British Columbia

Orofino 2014 Riesling Scout Vineyard
Similkameen Valley

Meyer Family Vineyards 2014 Gewurztraminer
Okanagan Valley, BC

Dirty Laundry Vineyards 2014 Pinot Noir
Okanagan Valley, BC

Eau Vivre Winery 2014 Pinot Noir
British Columbia

Conviction 2015 Red
British Columbia

Sandhill 2014 Merlot
Okanagan Valley, BC

Rosewood Estates 2013 Lock, Stock and Barrel
Niagara Peninsula, ON

Sandhill 2012 Small Lots Three
Okanagan Valley, BC

Wild Mountain Distillery

2015

  • Chef: Jonathan Thauberger
  • Restaurant: Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar
  • Pairing: Le Vieux Pin, 2013, Ava (Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne). South Okanagan BC (Black Sage Bench)
  • Chef: David Straub
  • Restaurant: Flip Eatery & Drink
  • Pairing: Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, 2014, Chenin Blanc, Okanagan Valley
  • Chef: Leo Pantel
  • Restaurant: Conexus Arts Centre
  • Pairing: Norman Hardie, 2012, Pinot Noir VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario

James-Chatto-by-George-Whiteside-high-resCulinary Report by James Chatto

I have a soft spot for Regina’s Conexus Arts Centre, despite its Brutalist concrete demeanour. They built it beside a lake in a rural setting on the edge of town and yesterday evening it looked splendid amidst the trees, bathed in warm prairie sunshine. We use a most imaginative set-up there, with the chefs’ stations constructed on various levels of the theatre foyers and the lavishly decorated tables for the sit-down celebration placed on the actual stage. There we build a stage-upon-a-stage for our parades of chefs and athletes, our dignitaries and our auctioneer, our unflappable and hilarious MC, Curt Harnett, and of course our awe-inspiring musical show, last night starring Colin Cripps, Geoffrey Kelly and Matthew Harder of Spirit of the West, Devin Cuddy, Sam Polley and the incomparable Anne Lindsay whose violin solo in Five Days in May brought the entire crowd to its feet for a spontaneous standing ovation.

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2014

  • Chef: Milton Rebello
  • Restaurant: Wascana Golf and Country Club
  • Paired Wine: Red Rooster Winery 2013 Gewurztraminer , BC VQA Okanagan Valley
  • Chef: Leo Pantel
  • Restaurant: Conexus Arts Centre
  • Paired Wine: 2009 Quatrain Mission Hill
  • Chef: Geoffrey Caswell-Murphy
  • Restaurant: Double Tree by Hilton
  • Paired Wine: Saint And Sinner Shiraz Cabernet

2013

  • Chef: Jonathan Thauberger
  • Restaurant: Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar
  • Paired Wine: Two Hoots Fairview Cellars 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Cabernet Franc
  • Chef: Ricardo Rodriguez
  • Restaurant: The Arftul Dodger Cafe & Music Emporium 
  • Paired Wine: Generation Seven Chateau de Charmes 2010 Generation Seven Red
  • Chef: Laurie Wall 
  • Restaurant: Wallnuts Expressive Catering
  • Paired Wine:  Hillside Winery 2009 Mosaic

2012

  • Chef: Milton Rebello
  • Restaurant: Hotel Saskatchewan Radisson Plaza
  • Paired Wine: See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Noir
  • Chef: Leo Pantel
  • Restaurant: Conexus Arts Centre
  • Paired Wine: Dessert Hills Estate Winery 2010 Gamay
  • Chef: Jonathan Thauberger
  • Restaurant: Crave Kitchen + Wine Bar
  • Paired Beer: Bushwakker Baltic Porter

Best Of Show

2015

  • Norman Hardie, 2012, Pinot Noir VQA Niagara Peninsula, Ontario
  • Rebellion Brewing, “Holy Mole Oatmeal Stout”
  • Le Vieux Pin, 2013, Ava (Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne). South Okanagan BC (Black Sage Bench)

David Lawrason - Wine Advisor

David Lawrason, National Wine Advisor

It was an unseasonably warm late October night in Regina on the outside, and nicely glowing within the Conexus Arts Centre as well. Off in one corner of the stage a TV monitor showed the last valiant 2015 Blue Jays Game Six in Kansas City, but the loss did not dampen the enthusiasm of the room.

My enthusiasm was generated by the best selection of Canadian wines Gold Medal Plates had experienced to date in Saskatchewan.  In Canada’s smaller cities the chefs often struggle to engage wineries for donation, but this year the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority eased the way for the chefs to seek donation of wines not locally listed. Many thanks to the SLGA for stepping up and giving the chefs a fighting chance.

The result was a line-up of wines from B.C. and one from Ontario that created considerable pleasure and discussion for the group of Regina wine authorities who assembled to judge the Best of Show Wine Award.  The Award is designed to focus the light squarely on the wines, and thank our winery donors. The list of donated wines can be found at the end of this report.

In the end it was an Ontario wine that unanimously took the night – Norman Hardie 2012 Pinot Noir harvested from the Niagara Peninsula but vinified at Hardie’s winery in Prince Edward County. It was  a riveting, fragrant sour-cherry scented pinot that also scored a bronze medal when matched with a pork, raisin/pomegranate dish by Conexus Arts Centre chef Leo Pantel.

The second place finisher was an exotic and compelling local brew created just for the proceedings this night, and capturing the Road to Rio Brazilian theme of this year’s competitions. Rebellion Brewing took a basic oatmeal stout and elaborated a spicy, coffee bean scented elixir they called Holy Mole. Indeed!

The second runner up was a complex, well-structured white from the Okanagan’s Le Vieux Pin – a wine called Ava that emulates the wines of France’s southern Rhone Valley with varieties like marsanne, roussanne and viognier. It is made by Severine Pinte, herself a native of the south of France.  And as it happened, Ava also reaped a gold medal by being paired with the night’s winning “Fruits de Mers” dish by Chef Jonathan Thauberger of Crave Kitchen and Wine Bar. This was hands down my personal favourite pairing of the evening as well.  Wine matters in the Culinary Judges decisions.

Silver medalist Chef David Straub of Flip Eatery and Drink created a rootsy dish called “Freshly Dug Potatoes” paired with a rich but energetic Quails’Gate 2014 Chenin Blanc from B.C.

Our panel of wine judges in Regina was anchored for the third time, by Rob Dobson, a wine writer formerly with Saskatchewan’s Savour Life. He introduced me to some of his best wine friends, educators and commentators, who joined the panel this year.  It included Gavin Jansen, who shared a small batch of wine he has made in Washington, as well as Tracy and Steve Hulburt, an engaging couple who once commented on wine under the banner of “Yum and Yummer”, but whose palates and knowledge of wine run much deeper than the name implies.

And that should give you some sense of the fun and camaraderie Regina displayed this night. It runs deep in this city.

Many thanks to the following for donating the wines, plus one beer and sake
(presented in the judges tasting order)

Nama Nama, Ontario Spring Water Sake Co
Quails’ Gate Estate 2014 Chenin Blanc, Okanagan Valley
Le Vieux Pin 2013 Ava, Okanagan Valley
Gray Monk 2013 Gewurztraminer, Okanagan Valley
Norman Hardie 2012 Pinot Noir,  Niagara Peninsula
Joie Farm Winery 2013 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley
Quails’ Gate 2013 Pinot Noir, Stewart Family Reserve, Okanagan Valley
Calliope 2014 Figure 8, Okanagan Valley
Sumac Ridge Estate 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Okanagan Valley
Rebellion Brewing, “Holy Mole Oatmeal Stout”, Regina, Sask.

2013

  • Sandhill Small Lots One Phantom Creek Vineyard 2010 Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Blue Grouse 2009 Pinot Noir Duncan, BC
  • Hillside Winery 2009 Mosaic Naramata, BC

2012

  • See Ya Later Ranch 2010 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Bushwakker Palliser Porter, Saskatchewan
  • Foxtrot Vineyard 2010 Chardonnay, Okanagan Valley BC