A panel of Canada’s renowned chef’s have spoken and a number of talented culinary finalists will now head to Vancouver as part of the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship. The competition was extremely fierce in both the Western and Eastern heats this past week with four young chefs from each region making it through to the final round taking place on September 28.
Each competitor was given identical ingredients, provided by GFS, and two hours in the kitchen to wow the taste buds of the judges. Those who came out on top were a diverse group of talented young chefs from a number of our nation’s top kitchens. Stemming from the Western heat the finalists are: Stephen Baidacoff (Get Cooking, Edmonton), Alexander Fraser (Model Milk, Calgary), Michael Christiansen (The Pear Tree Restaurant, Vancouver) and Corey Hess (L’Abattoir, Vancouver). From the Eastern heat, Michael Dolente (Shangri-La, Toronto), Alex Nacinovich (Canoe, Toronto), Nehemiah Lim (Jump, Toronto) and Solomon Chau (Stock, Toronto) all stood out ahead of the competition to win over the judges.
“As we expanded the competition into more cities across Canada this year the talent pool has become increasingly more impressive” says Chef David Hawksworth, the founder of the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship. Chef Hawksworth noted, “there was a wide range of techniques used in the preparation of the dishes but the judges found there to be a certain elevated level of refinement for those who progressed to the finals”.
Michael Christiansen & Michael Dolente both placed first in their respective heats with Christiansen impressing the Western judging panel of chefs which included: Connie De Sousa, Justin Leboe, Michael Noble, Michael Allemeier, Kristian Eligh & David Hawksworth. He showed impressive composure, organization, and technical abilities, which translated into an impressive first place showing. As a reward for both of their hard work in the kitchen, Le Creuset provided both with Stainless Steel Chef’s Pans, as well as round-trip airfare to Vancouver.
Taking place at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in September, the final round of competition will see the finalists use mystery ingredients from the Freybe Black Box, revealed only moments before the competition clock begins. The winner, chosen by a renowned panel from the Canadian food industry, will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship, presented by the Chefs’ Table Society of BC, along with an international stage.