Each of competitors were given identical ingredients and allowed two hours in the kitchen to inspire the taste buds of the judges. Some of this year’s ingredients included whole rabbit, double-smoked bacon, fresh herbs and a wide selection of fresh produce and dairy products. Four identical main course plates had to be completed within the two-hour time period or marks were deducted from the final score. Main course plates had to represent an a la carte sized portion with the inclusion of 120 grams of protein, one starch garnish, two vegetable garnishes and one sauce.
We kicked off the competition in Calgary at the SAIT kitchen, naming Alex Edmonson as the heat winner. Recently starting his own personal chef service, Edmonson showed the esteemed panel of judges that he was ready to ready to vie for national title by executing his stuffed rabbit saddle with in-depth skill and finesse. Securing second was Coleman Everest from MARKET with his ‘Schnitzel & Spatzle’.
Heading back to our hometown, Vancouver, the second heat of the competition was held at Vancouver Community College. Alex Hon from West Restaurant impressed the judges with his trio of rabbit and following in close second was Corey Hess from Royal Dinette with his assiette of rabbit.
We continued our search for top young culinary talent in Montreal. Being only the second year the competition has been extended to this city, the talent pool was strong. Producing the ever difficult, rabbit en croute, Massimo Piedimonte from Le Mousso solidified his place as the heat winner when the dish came out perfectly. Ritchie Nguyen from Maison Publique also cemented his position in the national finals with his dish, Rabbit Ballantine.
Our last destination to round up the final 8, was Toronto. Returning contestant, Stephen Baidacoff whom works as a private chef, continued to amaze the panel of judges with his elevated focus and determination. He won the heat with his roasted rabbit and cappellacci with leek. Not far behind, securing the last position in the finals with crusted rabbit loin and rabbit tart was Alex Nacinovich from Restaurant Bosk.
Congratulations to all competitors! The national finale will be taking place on September 17 at Vancouver Community College. The final eight will use mystery ingredients from a black box, which will be revealed only moments before the competition clock begins to countdown. The winner, chosen by a prominent panel of Canadian chefs and food critics, will be awarded a $10,000 scholarship, international stage