Chef Mike Barsky cooks up golden win at culinary competition

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Bronze, silver and gold winners. From left, bronze medal winner Tony Velinov of Bistro Sophia, gold medal plate winner Mike Barsky from Bacalao, and silver medal winner Chris Chafe of Magnum and Steins. — Submitted photo

Bacalao Chef Mike Barsky set the tables high Thursday night in St. John’s when he won the gold award at the St. John’s 2011 Gold Medal Plates competition.

The dish that got the judges — Newfoundland goat.

The paired wine was Pinot Noir Reserve from Pelee Island.

Barsky went head-to-head with seven of the finest culinary masters at the prestigious culinary competition, held at the St. John’s Convention Centre. Barsky will now compete at the Canadian Culinary Championships, the Gold Medal Plates Finale, to be held in Kelowna, B.C. in February.

“It was a challenging and exciting competition and I am very honoured that that the Gold Medal Plates judges chose my dish as the best,” said Barsky, chef of Bacalao, a restaurant located on Lemarchant Road in St. John’s.

“My team and I worked very hard to make our dish the best it could be, and I’m thrilled our efforts resulted in the gold. Now, I am looking forward to taking this to the next step, and competing for the national title.”

Chef Chris Chafe of Magnum and Steins rose to the occasion as well, taking the silver medal. Chafe created a lamb tasting four different cuts, four different ways: caseless lamb shoulder and smoky roasted red pepper sausage with organic Newfoundland celery root purée; Frenched lamb chop with parmesan and pancetta potato risotto and red wine caviar; crispy osso bucco style lamb shank ravioli with espagnole sauce; leg of lamb, caramelized onion, local chanterelles and herb ragout with toasted focaccia and semi-dehydrated tomato. The paired wine was Van Bers Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2008 from Tawse Winery.

Taking the bronze medal was Tony Velinov of Bistro Sophia. His dish was AAA Belgian chocolate burger with crispy sable fries and sweet ketchup. The paired wine was Ice Cuvée, classic fine sparkling wine enhanced with a dosage of ice wine from Niagara Peninsula VQA.

According to a new release, guests were not only treated to the finest in food, they also had the opportunity to mingle with celebrated Olympians and Paralympians, and entertained by Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo and Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea.

Legendary Hall of Fame Hockey Coach Scotty Bowman thrilled the crowd with an interesting and inspiring hot stove session with Seamus O’Regan.

Gold Medal Plates is the ultimate celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, entertainment and athletic achievement. Celebrating in nine cities across Canada in 2011, Gold Medal Plates features superb Canadian wines, premier chefs and Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes, in a competition to crown a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in each city, and subsequently nationwide. Since 2004, this event has received tremendous support and accolades all across Canada, and generated a combined net total of over $5 million for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.


Organizations: Convention Centre, Canadian Excellence

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Pelee Island, Kelowna Lemarchant Road Canada Niagara Peninsula VQA

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