Chef Awards

2015

  • Chef: Matthew Batey
  • Restaurant: The Nash Restaurant & Off Cut Bar
  • Pairing: Road 13 2011 Sparkling Chenin Blanc, Oliver, BC
  • Chef: Jinhee Lee
  • Restaurant: Raw Bar
  • Pairing: Baillie-Grohman 2014 Blanc de Noirs Rosé, Creston, BC

TIE

  • Chef: Shaun Desaulniers
  • Restaurant: ChefBar
  • Pairing: Summerhill 2012 Pinot Noir, Okanagan Valley, BC
  • Chef: Kenny Kaechele
  • Restaurant: Workshop kitchen+culture
  • Pairing: Sandhill 2012 Small Lots Malbec, Okanagan Valley, BC

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

On Tuesday, Calgary gave us our first intimation of winter, temperatures well below zero as we drove in from the airport, the dun-coloured prairie grass rimed white with frost. But the city centre was bustling and the exhibition halls in the Telus Centre looked unusually glamorous as the team set up the show. In the event, it was downright amazing, emceed by Curt Harnett with his customary suavity and wit, with Olympic gold medallist Michelle Cameron Coulter interviewing the inspiring parade of no less than 29 elite Olympian athletes, and auctioneer Bill Brown coaxing the crowd into buying a gobsmacking number of trips. And then there was the music from our band of all-stars – Jim Cuddy, Barney Bentall, Anne Lindsay, Colin Cripps, Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley. Each song was greeted with an ovation, each solo brought people to their feet and there was way too much dancing in the aisles and at the front of the stage.

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2014

  • Chef: Dave Bohati
  • Restaurant: Market Restaurant
  • Paired Wine: Wild Goose Vineyards
  • Chef: Darren Maclean
  • Restaurant: Downtown Food
  • Paired Wine: Tantalus Vineyards
  • Chef: Chef Alison Bieber
  • Restaurant: Black Pig Bistro
  • Paired Wine: Tawse Winery

2013

  • Chef: Chef Duncan Ly
  • Restaurant: Yellow Door Bistro
  • Paired Wine: Peller Estates
  • Chef: Chef Roy Oh
  • Restaurant:  Anju Restaurant
  • Paired Wine: Nichol 9 Mile
  • Chef: Darren MacLean
  • Restaurant: Downtown Food
  • Paired Wine: Black Hills Estate

2012

  • Chef: Eden Hrabec
  • Restaurant: Crazyweed Kitchen
  • Paired Wine: 2011 Noble Blend, Joie Farms
  • Chef: Cam Dobranski
  • Restaurant: Brasserie & Wine Bar Kensington
  • Paired Wine: 2011 Cellar Hand White, Black Hills Estate
  • Chef: Duncan Ly
  • Restaurant: Raw Bar
  • Paired Wine: 2009 Syrah, Sandhill

2011

  • Chef: Michael Dekker
  • Restaurant: Rouge
  • Paired Wine: Stratus Vineyards 2008 Cabernet Icewine
  • Chef: Jan Hrabec
  • Restaurant: Crazyweed Kitchen
  • Paired Wine: Peninsula Ridge Estates Winery Fumé Blanc
  • Chef: Justin Leboe
  • Restaurant: Model Milk
  • Paired Wine: Bartier Scholefield 2010 Rosé

2010

  • Chef: Duncan Ly
  • Restaurant: Hotel Arts
  • Paired Wine: Tantalus Winery
  • Chef: Shaun Desaulniers
  • Restaurant: Belgo
  • Paired Wine: Noble Ridge Winery
  • Chef: Justin Leboe
  • Restaurant: Concorde Group
  • Paired Wine: Laughing Stock Winery

Best of Show Award

2015

  • Road13 2011 Sparking Chenin Blanc
  • Tinhorn Creek 2013 Gewurztraminer
  • Baillie-Grohman 2014 Blanc de Noirs Rosé, Creston, BC

David Lawrason - Wine Advisor

David Lawrason, National Wine Advisor

One might reasonably expect that beefy Okanagan reds would hog the limelight at a Calgary culinary chow down, but on this glittering night – with over 600 people  having one of the effervescent nights of the year – it was sparkling wine, white and rose that ruled the podium  Indeed four fine sparklers were poured – five if you count the spritzed Hopped Mead from Alberta’s Fallentimber Meadery.  And it was the excellent Road 13 2011 Sparkling Chenin Blanc that carried of the Best of Show Wine Award.  And moments after I announced that win from the podium, the Road 13 Sparking walked off with yet another accolade when it was paired with gold medal  winning chef Matthew Batey of The Nash  Restaurant and Off Cut Bar.

Road 13 winemaker J.M. Bouchard was in the room pouring his Sparkling Chenin alongside Chef Batey.  Over recent years, this intriguing wine has won far more than it’s share of  medals at the WineAlign National Wine Awards of Canada, and other competitions.  Bouchard explained that its flavour depth and complexity was rooted a small parcel of vines that have been growing on the Golden Mile southern Okanagan property for over 30 years.

The first runner-up was from a neighbouring  vineyard – the quite profound,  layered and fragrant Tinhorn Creek 2014 Gewurztraminer, also a National Wine Awards gold medalist It is the second medal of the Gold Medal Plates 2015 season after a podium placing in Winnipeg.

And in third spot came a very intensely flavoured, off dry Baillie-Grohman 2014 Blanc de Noir Rose, made from pinot noir grown in the burgeoning Creston Valley,  as yet an unofficial appellation in the southeastern B.C. interior, which in fact, is the closest wine region to the city of Calgary.

The Best of  Show Wine Award was created to gain exposure for the dozens of wines 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 leading Calgary wine authorities to taste and talk through the wines, and rank our favourites.   All are current or previous judges for either the WineAlign National Wine Awards, or the World Wine Awards, or both.  Brad Royale is the wine director for the Rocky Mountain Resorts group of properties.  Tom Firth is a respected wine writer and consultant,  and Jackie Cooke is a wine educator and manager of Avec Bistro.

As well as tasting the wines paired with the chef’s dishes,  we also tasted wines donated to the  Celebration auction and entertainment portion of the evening.  I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the rarely seen Stoneboat Piano Brut, a tank fermented, brut made 100% from pinot blanc that was poured at the VIP Reception.

As mentioned above Tinhorn Creek’s 2014 Gewurztraminer was poured at the Celebration, along with the rich yet elegant Tinhorn Creek 2013 Cabernet Franc, which was also ranked in the top five by two of our judges.   And another well-made red and white lower priced pairing from Burrowing  Owl’s Calliope Wines also earned positive reviews, particularly around  the value they offer.   We enjoyed their well-balanced 2013 Figure 8 red merlot-based blend, and the fragrant 2013 Viognier.

The handing out of hardware was completed at evenings end with the announcement that Sandhill Vineyards 2013 Small Lot Collection Malbec was the paired wine with bronze medal chef Kenny Kaechele of  Workshop Kitchen+Culture,  and that the Baillie-Grohman’s 2014 Rose had won silver paired with chef Jinhee Lee of Calgary’s ever-popular Raw Bar.  So a double whammy for Baillie-Groham as well.

With Road 13 Sparkling Chenin Blanc’s big wins, it has earned the right to go on to the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna in February.

Here are all the wines donated to Calgary this year ordered as they were tasted by the judges:

Stoneboat Piano Brut
Noble Ridge 2010 “The One” Sparkling Wine,
Road 13 2011 Sparkling Chenin Blanc
TH Wines 2013 By Hand White
Calliope  2014   Viognier
Ruby Blues 2014 Viognier
Tinhorn Creek 2014 Gewürztraminer
Baillie-Grohman 2014 Blanc de Noir Rose
Summerhill 2012 Pinot Noir
Blasted Church 2014 Big Bang Theory
Calliope 2014 Figure 8  Red
Tinhorn Creek  2013  Cabernet Franc
Church & State 2012 Coyote Bowl Syrah
Sandhill 2012 Small Lots Malbec
Fallentimber Meadery Hopped Mead
Alley Katz Brewing

2013

  • Tantalus Riesling 2012 Okanagan, BC
  • Blue Mountain Gamay Noir 2012. Okanagan, BC
  • Black Hills Estate, Voignier 2012, Okanagan Valley, BC and Benjamin Bridge Sparkling Brut 2009 Nova Scotia

2012

  • Blue Mountain’s 2010 Pinot noir, Okanagan Valley BC
  • Black Hills 2010 Viognier, Oliver BC
  • Joie Farm 2011 Noble Blend, Maramata BC

2011

  • Dirty Laundry 2010 Woo Woo Gewurztraminer, Summerland BC
  • Stratus 2009 Red Icewine, Niagara ON
  • Laughing Stock Vineyard 2009 Blind Trust, Penticton BC