Ok … so before I start this … I just need to get this out of my system …
I MET SUSUR LEE!
Not only did I meet him … but I actually chatted with him.
INSERT me doing a happy dance :0)
We talked about Top Chef Masters (claps!), we discussed my love of his signature slaw at Lee‘s (delicious) … he was super sweet and lovely … and an absolute pleasure to meet.
Now back to the real business at hand …
celebrity chefs of canada.
It was … one heck of an awesome culinary event!!!!
How could it not be?
Seventeen incredibly talented chefs gathered together under one roof.
Not only did they do what they do best; which is to create outstandingly beautiful and delicious dishes … but they also entertained over 300 foodies during each of their 20 minute demos. They talked us through everything from geoduck to wild Newfoundland rabbit terrine to encrusted lamb lollipops and oceanwise albacore tuna tartare.
Mother of pearl.
I was in heaven … correction … I was in food heaven.
And it’s all because of these people.
Marc Lepine, Quang Dang, Trish Larkin, Ned Bell, Cesare Santaguida, Vikram Vij, Patrick McMurray, Matthew Carmichael, Susur Lee, Jason Duffy, Jason Bangerter, Jeremy Charles, Jonathan Korecki, Clifford Lyness, Jason Parsons, Lynn Crawford … and Michael Blackie (the mastermind behind it all).
(I took the opportunity to take some self portraits with everyone … they were all good sports about it)
Last year’s inaugural event hit a few roadblocks … and although I personally enjoyed myself, Blackie took the constructive criticism to heart and worked out some of the kinks.
This year celebrity chefs of canada was broken down into two parts, with foodies opting to participate in one part of the day or the other: live demos and food tasting, or the reception and dance party.
Since I was blogging about the event, I was fortunate enough to attend the entire day … from live demos to dance party.
Ridiculously fun times.
The day was broken up into 9 demo’s … each team presenting us with their plates – talking us through the different components, discussing the use of certain ingredients, as they put their own spin on what a food demo should be .
Team Lepine & Dang focused on British Columbian geoduck. They seemed to set the tone for the day … quick humour, neat tricks of the trade … and all charm. They certainly had us all at “hello“.
The second team was a personal favourite of mine … Team Larkin & Bell. I obviously know Trish, and had spoken to Ned, but it was great to finally see the two of them together. Both are so passionate about food, and were able to speak about the importance of sustainable fishing.
Ned did brag about having the very first halibut of the season in his restaurant … while Trish was able to show off her serious knife and plating skills.
FYI … their dish was in my top 3 favourites of the day.
Team Santaguida & Vij talked Indian spice, Italian tradition and … wine. Not only was it educational, but it was also hilarious, full of wit and charm … kinda like both men. It was my favourite demo of the day … and it didn’t hurt to smell an Indian spiced marinated lamp lollipop or get to sample the curry and ravioli backstage (thank you Chefs!)
Team Carmichael & Lee were probably the most mellow demo of the day. Their shared respect for one another came across … as well as their level of professionalism. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two people put their heads down and focus quite so intently … all the while 300 people looked on.
Team Duffy & Bangerter (aka Jason Squared). Hilarious guys whose braised elk ribs had my stomach rumbling. Their polenta was incredibly creamy and smooth … with some delicious jus and macadamia nuts to balance the whole dish. Sigh.
Team Korecki & Charles. First off … you just might recognize Jonathan Korecki from the current season of Top Chef Canada. As for Jeremy Charles … he’s my new chef crush. He is simply adorable … full of that Newfoundland charm. Oh how I heart him. Their dish was also one of the coolest looking … well plated, and an example of using an entire animal to create a dish.
Team Lyness & Parsons. It was a great demo. Fast-paced and fun … Lyness was obviously comfortable front and centre (this was his second year participating in ccoc) and Parsons’ certainly didn’t shy away from the spotlight either (apologies for the slightly blurry picture).
The final team of the day was that of Blackie & Crawford.
I actually don’t have a picture of their dish.
I know … how could I have made it the entire afternoon … and not snap a picture of their finished product?
Probably because they didn’t actually plate their own dishes.
Nope. Team Blackie and Crawford were all about audience participation.
Their demo was a whole lotta fun … and their dish … well their dish … you’ll have to wait for my post about the evening to see it. But I will tell you this … their dish rounded out my top 3 favourites of the day. It was delightful!