- Food & Drink
FOLLOW ME FOODIE: The knives come out for Connect Show's Top Chef competition
There are hobby chefs and restaurant chefs. And then there are competition chefs, who are another breed altogether. When the title of BC Top Chef is on the line, the beast comes out.
The BCCA has been organizing local competitions since 1958. Each competition round features a black box challenge where chefs have 45 minutes to make an entrée from start to finish with the ingredients they’ve been given. The last round consists of three finalists who battle it out for an award-winning appetizer and the title of BC Top Chef.
These competition chefs usually fly under the radar even though their skills and talent can rival those of celebrity chefs. Not to say who is more deserving, because they both are, but let’s shed some spotlight on the dark horses.
Keith Pears from e.b.o. Restaurant at the Delta Burnaby is a familiar face at BCCA competitions. He trains under executive chef Daniel Craig who is a future Bocuse d’or Canada competitor and another underrated chef in the city. As cliché as this sounds, the hotel restaurant is a hidden gem. I’ve tried their food at events, competitions and, of course, at the restaurant and their rice crusted tuna with avocado, apple, crab and soy appetizer and rack of lamb entrée are long-time favourites.
William Tse is another well-seasoned competition chef at the BCCA events. He competed in BC Top Asian Chef and Roasted Chef of the Year at last year’s show, and this year he’s competing for the BC Top Chef title. Formerly at Sandbar, he is now the executive chef at BC Place, taking over for Ryan Stone, the Bocuse d’Or Canada 2011 representative. Tse also defended his title at the Master Chef Competition at the Fraser Valley Food Show this year.
When it comes to competitions, the food is different. It is not restaurant food although it still has to be palatable, present well, and taste good. From garnishes, knife skills, sanitization, and creative use of ingredients, these chefs are being judged on more than their final plate.
You may be surprised with where these chefs come from too. Hotels, golf courses and chain restaurants house some of the city’s top chefs, and as Rob Feenie proves, creating the one right dish can be worth millions…. Literally.
This year’s BC Top Chef competitors are Chris Remington, Penticton Lakeside Resort; Corey Fields, Fraser River Lodge; Valentino Pereira, UBC; Froilan Alejo, Tsawwassen Golf Course; Jonathan Gee, Pretty Estates Resort; Kevin Wall, Joey Restaurant Group; Jaimeet Kathuria, PTI Group; Patrick Fitzgerald, Golden Eagle Golf Club; Ryan Mah, Tractor Foods; Timothy Tejuco, Joey Broadway; Keith Pears, EBO; Sic Kim, Damso Korean Cuisine; and William Tse, BC Place.
Find Mijune at Food Day on Oct. 24 with Project Chefs where she will be helping kids cook, and at the 2nd Annual Charity Long Table Event at BMW Langley catered by Joy Road Catering on Oct. 25 (four courses with pine pairings for $ 95/ person). She will also be judging BC Top Chef competition and BC Asian Top Chef Competition at the Connect Show Oct. 27 – 28 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. All welcome to watch and cheer on your favourite chefs! Find out more about Mijune at FollowMeFoodie.com or follow her on Twitter @followmefoodie.