For the first time in a decade, a local chef won the Canadian Culinary Championship at the Gold Medal Plates.
The last time a BC-based chef managed to take home this distinction was in 2008, the championship then going to chef Melissa Craig of Whistler’s Bearfoot Bistro.
It was the 12th running of the competition, held last weekend in Kelowna, and chef Alex Chen, of downtown Vancouver’s Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar, swept first place in the three major competitions held over the span of 48 hours judged by a panel of renowned food and wine critics from across Canada.
- Mystery wine challenge – each chef gets an unlabelled bottle of wine along with $500 to buy ingredients to feed 400 guests a dish to pair with the wine
- “Black box” challenge – each chef is given seven ingredients and an hour to use all of them (Chopped style)
- Signature dish challenge – chefs are able to make whatever they want with whatever ingredients they choose
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Chen proudly competed for BC, in a pool of the top chefs hailing from various cities and provinces across Canada. The competition was tight, with winners from prior years making their return to the event.
His famed winning signature dish, “Parfait of Wild BC Shellfish,” was a rich, seafood chowder, complete with Dungeness crab, horse clam, side stripe shrimp, geoduck clam, and sea urchin. It was all prepared and presented in an empty tin of Northern Divine Caviar.
In addition to taking home this prestigious award, Chef Chen will be taking a trip to either Africa or South America to study and expand his culinary expertise.