Chef Awards



  • Chef: Jesse McCleery
  • Restaurant: Pilgrimme
  • Pairing: Sea Star Estate Farm & Vineyards 2015 Blanc de Noir

Best of Show

Sea Star Estate Farm & Vineyards 2015 Blanc de Noir


  • Chef: Mark Filatow
  • Restaurant: Waterfront Wines
  • Pairing: Tantalus, 2014 Chardonnay

Best of Show

Haywire 2013 Canyonview Pinot Noir


  • Chef: Ricardo Valverde
  • Restaurant: Ancora
  • Pairing: the hatch “Black Swift Vineyards” 2014 Pinot Noir

Best of Show

Culmina 2015 Decora Riesling

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

Say it ain’t so! Was this really the last event of the Gold Medal Plates 2016 campaign? It has been an intense few weeks but the fun and excitement of finding our gold-medal winners across the country is intoxicating. It’s also pretty cool to hobnob with Olympic athletes, iconic musicians, captains of industry, and a spectacular group of judges across the country – the renowned chefs, chef-instructors, educators, food writers, restaurant critics and gastronomes who collectively make up the Gold Medal Plates culinary judiciary. No other network of food professionals spans Canada the way we do and I am continually amazed and honoured by the dedication these people – volunteers all – show to GMP. Last night in Victoria the judges were led by our joint Chiefs of staff for British Columbia, Senior Judge Sid Cross – one of Canada’s great authorities on food and wine – and Senior Judge Andrew Morrison, author, critic and editor-in-chief of Scout Magazine. With us were Sooke Harbour House hotelier, restaurateur and recipient of the Nation’s Table Governor General’s award, Dr. Sinclair Philip, sommelier, chef, writer and founder of EAT magazine, Gary Hynes, and of course last year’s gold medal-wining chef, Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in Vancouver.

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

For the first time both a chef and a wine from B.C.’s Gulf Islands have carted off the top two honours at a Gold Medal Plates event.  And it happened in Victoria on the last night of Gold Medal Plates 2016 campaign, thrilling the hometown crowd.

Gold Medal Chef Jesse McCleery of Pilgrimme on Galiano Island chose Sea Star 2015 Blanc de Noir from Pender to accompany his winning dish (see James Chatto’s Culinary Report). This pure and tautly balanced dry rose, made 100% from Pender Island pinot noir also captured the Best of Show honours.  But it was close. At the end of the first balloting among our five judges it was tied with Haywire 2013 Canyonview Pinot Noir.  Then in a tie-breaker vote it went forward with four votes to one.

So both will be going on the Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna.  Chef McCleery will compete for Canada’s Best Chef honours, while Sea Star 2015 Blanc de Noirs will go up against Best of Show winners from nine cities to compete for GMP Wine of the Year.

The Runner-Up was Haywire’s smoothly textured, very complex concrete-fermented pinot noir, a consistent favourite among B.C. sommeliers. And in third place, the intense, racy and layered Culmina 2015 Decora riesling, from the ambitious new Oliver-based winery by the Triggs family.

The Best of Show Wine Award was created to gain exposure for the dozens of wines, ciders and beers donated to Gold Medal Plates by Canadian wineries.  Not only does the program highlight the wines it gives them exposure to some of the leading wine writers, judges, educators, sommeliers and retailers in the country.

This day I was joined by three Victoria wine judges – and special guest Dr. Jamie Goode from the U.K, who has emerged as one of the world’s best known international wine authorities.  Treve Ring is a WineAlign National Wine Awards judge and one best and busiest wine writers in the country.  Sharon McLean, another National Wine Awards judge and the busiest wine educator in Victoria, teaching the range of WSET courses as well as specialty programs on French and Italian wine.  Brent Muller is an earnest student heading for his Master of Wine certification and buyer of one of the city’s best retail selections at Vessel Wines and Spirits on Fort St.

As well as acknowledging the great array from terrific B.C wineries (see full list below) that poured in Victoria, I want to acknowledge the B.C. cider scene, that was in full gait with a fine dry cider from The BX Press in Vernon, and the superb Sea Cider Pommeau, a fortified, aged cider from the Island’s Saanich Peninsula.

I also want to thank several wineries who have donated wines to the Celebration tables in Victoria.

The iconic Burrowing Owl winery very generously donated their fine Calliope white and red in four different cities.  Culmina decorated the tables with their exquisite Decora Riesling.  Encore Vineyard donated their exotic Time White Meritage by constant GMP supporter Harry McWatters. And for the first time, we heartily welcomed Pipe Dreams with their daring new bottling of Gruner Veltliner, Austria’s signature white variety.  It showed surprising power and ripeness, and sketches out a new direction for B.C. whites.

To read more about the chefs and their pairings please see the accompanying report by National Culinary Advisor James Chatto.

Here are all the wines donated to Victoria this year in the tasting order presented to the wine judges

The Victoria Wines, Ciders and Beers

Pipe Dreams 2014 Gruner Veltliner
Oliver, BC

Culmina 2015 Decora Riesling
Golden Mile, BC

Encore Vineyards 2014 Time Estate Meritage White
Okanagan Valley, BC

Burrowing Owl Estate Calliope Fig 8 2015 White
Okanagan Valley, BC

Tightrope Winery 2014 Viognier
Naramata Bench, BC

Stag’s Hollow 2014 Viognier, Hearle Vineyard
Okanagan Falls, BC

Liquidity 2014 Chardonnay
Okanagan Falls, BC

Tantalus 2014 Chardonnay
South East Kelowna, BC

Sea Star Estate 2015 Blanc de Noir
Pender Island, BC

Haywire 2013 Canyonview Vineyard Pinot Noir
Summerland, BC

The Hatch “Black Swift Vineyards” 2014 Pinot Noir
East Kelowna, BC

Black Sage Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Franc
Okanagan Valley, BC

Tinhorn Creek 2012 Oldfield Series Cabernet Franc
Golden Mile, BC

Burrowing Owl Estate Calliope Fig 8 2015 Red
Okanagan Valley, BC

Quail’s 2014 Gate Merlot
Okanagan Valley, BC

The BX Press 2015 Prospector Traditional Dry Cider
Vernon, BC

Sea Cider Pommeau
Saanichton, BC

Vancouver Island Brewery
Islander Lager

Vancouver Island Brewery
Pipers Pale Ale

Vancouver Island Brewery
19 IPA

Merridale Distillers
Nitro Coffee Cocktail


  • Chef: Alex Chen
  • Restaurant: Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, Vancouver BC
  • Pairing: Foxtrot Vineyards 2012 Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir Naramata, BC
  • Chef: Chris Whittaker
  • Restaurant: Forage, Vancouver BC
  • Pairing: Covert Farms 2012 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Oliver, BC
  • Chef: Ned Bell
  • Restaurant: YEW Seafood + Bar, Vancouver BC
  • Pairing: Sea Star Vineyards 2014 Stella Maris Pender Island, BC

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

Our fearless leader, Stephen Leckie, is wont to describe Gold Medal Plates’s Victoria event as one of the country’s great parties, the western equivalent to GMP St. John’s, and I’m not about to disagree. A storm had blown in off the Pacific the night before, taking down power lines, but all was restored by Thursday and a warm sun shone down from a placid blue sky as our super-efficient local and national teams set up the show in the Victoria Conference Centre. It turned out to be a superb evening, with Curt Harnett in top form as MC and the great Adam Kreek interviewing the dozens of athletes in attendance. And the music! We had our largest band ever on stage – and surely the entire room was on its feet dancing and pogoing when John Mann sang “Home for a Rest.” Up there with him was Jim Cuddy, Matthew Harder, Barney Bentall, Anne Lindsay, Sam Polley, Dustin Bentall, as well as Spirit of the West’s Tobin Frank on accordion and Daniel Lapp on trumpet and fiddle.

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  • Chef: Kristian Eligh
  • Restaurant: Hawksworth Restaurant, Vancouver
  • Paired Wine: Meyer Family Vineyards 2012 Tribute Series Chardonnay ‘Kelly Hrudey’ Old Main Road Vineyard, Naramata, BC
  • Chef: Wesley Young
  • Restaurant: Wildebeest, Vancouver
  • Paired Wine: Cedar Creek 2011 Platinum ‘Block 2’ Pinot Noir
    Kelowna, BC
  • Chef: Terry Pichor
  • Restaurant: Sonora Resort, Sonora Island
  • Paired Wine: Kanazawa Winery 2012 Nomu Naramata, BC


  • Chef: Brian Skinner 
  • Restaurant: The Acorn (Vancouver)
  • Paired Wine: Clos du Soleil Winery 
  • Chef:  Darren Brown
  • Restaurant: Fairmont Pacific Rim (Vancouver)
  • Paired Wine: JoieFarm
  • Chef: Terry Pichor 
  • Restaurant: Sonora Resort (Sonora Island)

  • Paired Wine: Foxtrot Vineyard

Best Of Show


  • Foxtrot Vineyards 2012 Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir Naramata, BC
  • CC Jentsch Cellars 2013 “The Chase” Bordeaux Style Blend Golden Mile Bench Oliver, BC
  • Tinhorn Creek 2014 Gewurztraminer, BC

David Lawrason - Wine Advisor

David Lawrason, National Wine Advisor

Foxtrot Pinot Noir Takes it All in B.C.

A textbook Naramata pinot noir waltzed off with two top honours at the Victoria edition of Gold Medal Plates, winning Best Wine of Show as well as accompany gold medal winning chef Alex Chen of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar to the podium. The gorgeously appointed Foxtrot Vineyards 2012 Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir placed in the top two of all five judges, sporting wonderful cherry fragrance beautifully integrated with oak accents. On top of which it showed great depth of flavour.

It stole the thunder in a very strong line-up of wines. In second spot, and again garnering votes from all five judges, came the impeccably balanced if not hugely powerful CC. Jentch 2013 The Chase, a blend of merlot and cabernet from the Okanagan Valley’s newly-minted Golden Mile Bench appellation. In third spot came Tinhorn Creek’s 2014 Gewurztraminer, a particularly fragrant and focused dry edition that has placed in other cities as well. Both runners-up were served during the Celebration portion of the evening.

The Best of Show Award is designed to showcase all the wines donated to the event (a complete list is below). In Victoria five judges gathered before the event to taste, rate and discuss the wines, beers and cocktails poured by the chefs, and donated to the VIP Reception and Celebration.

Three of the five judges were from Victoria. Sharon McLean is a leading wine educator teaching WSET and a partner in the Cru Consultancy with Treve Ring. Brent Muller is deep into his WSET studies and helping prepare for the imminent opening of Vessel Liquor Store. Daniel Stiefvater is a sommelier with Trialto Wines, one of Canada’s leading wine agencies.   And from Vancouver we were joined by Sid Cross, a legendary wine taster and long-time judge of Canadian wine with the former Canadian Wine Awards. Sid doubled us as a culinary judge at the event as well.

There was great diversity across the line-up this night, with an even split of white and red wines. I was particularly intrigued by the range and quality of the “alternative” whites. There were no chardonnays, pinot gris or rieslings this night, showing a willingness by the BC chef community to venture into other less well known varieties that have a strong future in the province. I was very taken by the Joie Farm 2014 Muscat and a semillon by a new Okanagan winery called The Hatch.

But I was also intrigued by two Vancouver Island whites. Sea Star 2014 Stella Maris – which took a bronze medal after being thoughtfully paired with shellfish by veteran chef Ned Bell of YEW seafood + bar at the Vancouver Four Seasons – is a very finely tuned Alsatian-style blend of five local varieties including pinot gris, gewürztraminer, ortega and schoenberger – all grown on Pender Island. And from the Cowichan Valley came an exotic petit milo, a newly developed hybrid from the Blattner family of Swiss hybrids.

The Vancouver Island theme continued very strongly through the selection of fine beers from Vancouver Island Brewing, and in three different gin-based cocktails from local distillers. We were of course on home court of Victoria Gin, a national sponsor of Gold Medal Plates. But a new bourbon-barrel-aged gin from DeVine served by chef Castro Boetang turned the judges heads. Another cocktail by Okanagan Spirits Gin also wowed – an exotic beauty based on West Coast Spice Vermouth, blackcurrant, orange and juniper bitters.

Silver medal chef Chris Whittaker took the biggest red to the podium, a whopping, texturally very rich, organically grown 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon by Covert Hills of Oliver. And Gold medal chef Alex Chen, brilliantly matched the Foxtrot Pinot to a head-to-tail pork terrine, earning Foxtrot a berth at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna in February.

Here is a complete list of  the Victoria wines, beers and spirits presented in judges tasting order.

Stoneboat  Piano Brut Okanagan, BC
Sea Star Vineyards 2014 Stella Maris Pender Island, BC
Unsworth Vineyards 2014 Vintners Selection Petit Milo, Mill Bay, BC
Fairview Cellars 2014 Sauvignon Blanc Golden Mile Bench, Oliver BC
The Hatch 2014 ‘hobo series’ Semillon Kelowna, BC
Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2014 Gewürztraminer
Joie Farm  2014 Muscat, Naramata Bench, BC
Fairview 2013 Crooked Post Pinot Noir, Golden Mile Bench, Oliver BC
Summerhill 2013 Organic Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC
Foxtrot Vineyards 2012 Henricsson Vineyard Pinot Noir Naramata, BC
Calliope Figure 8 2014 Red, Okanagan Valley, BC
Hester Creek Block 3 Cabernet Franc Reserve, Okanagan Valley, BC
CC Jentsch Cellars 2013 “The Chase” Golden Mile Bench, BC
Covert Farms 2012 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Oliver, BC
Victoria Gin Classic Gin Martini
DeVine New Tom Barrel-Aged Gin Old Fashion Saanich, BC
Vancouver Island Brewery Islander Lager
Vancouver Island Brewery Mile High
Vancouver Island Brewery Hermann’s Dark Lager


  • Lake Breeze 2010 Tempest Bordeaux Blend
    Naramata, BC
  • Tinhorn Creek 2010 Oldfield Series Pinot Noir
    Oliver, BC
  • Meyer Family Vineyards 2012 Tribute Series Chardonnay ‘Kelly Hrudey’ Old Main Road Vineyard, Naramata, BC


  • Nichol Vineyard , 2010 Syrah, Naramata BC
  • Le Vieux Pin Winery, 2011 Ava, Oliver BC
  • CedarCreek 2011 Riesling, Kelowna BC