Friday, October 8, 2010

Cook Like a Gold Medal Plates Chef!

The following guest post continues a series of “Meet a Gold Medal Plates Competing Chef” interviews you will see leading up to the Gold Medal Plates Event in Ottawa. It's from the wonderful people at foodiePrints.

Since the end of summer, we at foodiePrints, along with fellow local food bloggers Rachelle of Rachelle Eats Food and Shari (@whisk_food_blog) of Whisk: A Food Blog, have been busy working to promote Gold Medal Plates Ottawa. We have been meeting and interviewing this year's participating chefs. It has been a privilege. With a little over a month remaining between today and the culinary event, we will continue to showcase Ottawa's talented chefs and their restaurants.

In addition, we hope the passion with which they and their kitchens prepare dishes has inspired you, our readers. Now, we would like to offer you the opportunity to "Cook Like a Gold Medal Plates Chef" and prepare your take on one of last year's winning chef team's dishes. The chef, Matthew Carmichael of
Restaurant E18hteen (18 York Street) and Social Restaurant and Lounge (537 Sussex Drive).

Executive Chef Matthew Carmichael

For Gold Medal Plates Ottawa 2009, Executive Chef Carmichael's team was made up of talented chefs and cooks from his two kitchens, including Sous Chefs Jonathan Korecki (18) and Jordan Holley (Social).

Executive Chef Carmichael and his Winning Team

Their dish bested Chef Michael Blackie's of Le Cafe at the National Arts Centre (NAC) and Chef Ben Baird's of the Urban Pear. The NAC is this year's event host. Chef Baird will be competing November 16th.

Chefs Carmichael and Korecki went on to compete in Vancouver to win the Bronze Medal at the 2009
Canadian Culinary Championships. It was a surprise upset, as they managed to edge out Chef Rob Feenie, the host city's hometown hopeful.

Chef Carmichael's team's winning dish at Gold Medal Plates was a pan roasted sustainable sea bass, crispy braised octopus, and steamed rock shrimp siu mai. But, it is Chefs Carmichael and Korecki's "Black Box" competition entries from the Canadian Culinary Championships that will be the reference dishes for this contest. The reason, they demonstrate the creativity and spontaneity with which Executive Chef Carmichael's kitchens create dishes for their menus. Moreover, they demonstrate the mastery with which Restaurant 18's chefs and cooks prepare local and seasonal ingredients.

The black box competition at the Canadian Culinary Championships is not Iron Chef. According to judge and local restaurant critic Anne DesBrisay:
Each chef was given six mystery ingredients with which to create two dishes for eight judges (16 plates in total) in precisely one hour. Chefs were brought into the kitchen one by one, each had a sous chef, and the box was opened. They were given 10 minutes to declare their intentions, and then a further 50 minutes to complete the plates.
Source: "Chef Matthew Carmichael wins bronze medal at Canadian Culinary Championships!", Capital Dining

Every ingredient had to be used. The chefs were held to their declared dishes.

According to Chef Korecki, he and his Executive Chef had the ingredients laid out in 45 seconds. They then had 5 minutes to decide what to make and 55 minutes to prepare and plate.

Chefs Korecki and Carmichael Preparing their Dishes

The black box ingredients:
  • Arctic Char
  • Whole Quail
  • Dragon fruit
  • Arborio Rice
  • Fennel
  • India Pale Ale (called Hoppelganger) from R&B Brewery
Their dish: boned quail (lacquered with beer and soy) atop risotto (made with veal stock), garnished with threads of fresh thyme, lemon zest, and fried garlic; crackled skin arctic char with fennel slaw, garnished with cubes of dragon fruit.

Black Box Dishes

Quail Dish

According to DesBrisay, the dishes were well received.

Here's the challenge (effective immediately): Make your interpretations of these dishes, photograph your interpretations, write up recipes, and submit them in one e-mail to us (including a mailing address). E-mail links:
foodiePrints, Rachelle Eats Food, Whisk: A Food Blog.

Chefs Carmichael, Korecki, and Holley will review the submissions and choose one winner.

The catch: Like the black box competition, all ingredients must be used.

Here are the allowable substitutions from Chefs Korecki and Holley
  • Arctic char - Trout
  • India Pale Ale - any dark bitter ale (one suggested: Beau's Lug Tread)
  • Dragon Fruit - hard pear (preferably Asian to maintain a sweet refreshing taste, yet crunchy texture)
Both were adamant that quail, fennel, and Arborio rice be used.

This contest is open to North American residents.

Entries will be accepted until Sunday, November 21, 2010 11:59 PM EST.

The winner will be announced the week of Monday, December 6, 2010.

Also, if you are working towards a culinary
Red Seal Certification (or other provincial equivalent) or already have earned one, we will be happy to post your take, but your entry will not be considered in the running.

The prize: Firstly, the winner will receive a paired set of Master Chef Thomas Keller cookbooks, courtesy of
Thomas Allen & Son, Ltd.

Packaged Set

Ad Hoc at Home

French Laundry

This prize was chosen because the winners of this year's Canadian Culinary Championships will stage in a series of Chef Keller's restaurants in California.

Secondly, Executive Chef Carmichael has offered the winner an evening observing a dinner service in the kitchen of his Restaurant E18teen in Ottawa.

Canadian Culinary Championships photos, courtesy of Chef Jonathan Korecki
Gold Medal Plates Ottawa photos, courtesy of Chef Jonathan Korecki
Chef Matthew Carmichael photo, courtesy Restaurant 18

Aside: Besides being an award-winning chef, Korecki has a side business, called Mise En Gear (Etsy Store).

Mise En Gear

Through it, he has equipped several kitchens in Ottawa with bandannas and other printed kitchen clothing.

Mise En Gear was on display at last year's Gold Medal Plates competition

Chef Carmichael

Chef Korecki

According to Chef Korecki's
blog, storefronts are interested in retailing his bandannas.

Facebook Page:
Gold Medal Plates Ottawa

To purchase tickets for Gold Medal Plates, contact Sue Holloway (contact information below) or click

Restaurant E18hteen
18 York Street

Social Restaurant and Lounge
537 Sussex Drive
(613) 789-7355
Open Mon-Wed 11:45am-1am; Thu-Sat 11:45am-2am; Sun 5pm-12am

Gold Medal Plates Ottawa
Tuesday, November 16, 2010 6:00 pm
National Arts Centre
53 Elgin Street

Sue Holloway
818 Nesbitt Place
(613)274-3107 phone
(613)274-0851 fax


Anonymous said...

With a little over a month remaining between today and the culinary event, we will continue to showcase Ottawa's talented chefs and their knives

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