A panel of Canada’s top chef’s have spoken and two talented culinary finalists from Toronto will now head to Vancouver as part of the national Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship presented by TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Privilege. The competition was extremely fierce during the Toronto heat last week with only two young chefs making it through to the final round taking place on September 12. Heats will also be taking place in Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal.
Each competitor was given identical ingredients, provided by Gordon Food Service Canada and two hours in the kitchen to wow the taste buds of the judges. The Toronto heat the finalists are: Stephen Baidacoff (from Eleven Madison Park) and Marvin Palomo (from DaiLo) who stood out ahead of the competition to win over the judges.
“As we enter our third year and this contest grows larger, we are see more and more top caliber applicants from cities across Canada causing the talent pool to become increasingly more impressive and the competition tougher”, says Chef Hawksworth. He also noted, “there was a wide range of techniques used in the preparation of the dishes we saw yesterday in Toronto but the judges found there to be a certain elevated level of sophistication from the two who progressed through to the finals”.
Stephen Baidacoff was first overall in the Toronto heat impressing the panel of chefs, which included: Rob Gentile, David Lee, Damon Campbell, Grant van Gameren, Kristian Eligh & David Hawksworth. The bold simplicity of his outstanding lamb dish showed a confidence that translated into an impressive first place showing. As a reward for his hard work in the kitchen, Le Creuset provided the winner with Stainless Steel – Chef’s Pan (Saucier) as well as round-trip airfare to Vancouver.
Taking place at Vancouver Community College in September, the final round of this national competition will see the finalists use mystery ingredients from a black box, revealed only moments before the competition clock begins. The winner, chosen by a prominent panel of Canadian chefs and food critics, will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship along with an international stage.