Nov. 14 is fast approaching, and preparations for Gold Medal Plates St. John’s are moving briskly.
Despite its appearance on the outside these days, I am told that the St. John’s Convention Centre looks the same as ever on the inside and will be suitably dressed and glittering for the annual culinary championship and fundraiser on behalf of Canadian Olympic athletes.
Entertainment this year will be provided by Jim Cuddy and Spirit of the West and, to help in the effort to raise funding for our athletes, several trips to attractive locales will be put on the auction block. As in previous years, many Olympians will be on hand to meet and mingle with guests.
James Chatto, Gold Medal Plates National Culinary Advisor will be here to join our panel of local judges that this year includes: yours truly, senior judge for St. John’s; Chef Bob Arniel of Chef to Go; novelist and food writer Edward L. Riche; former chef and food writer Nicholas Gardner; home economist and foodie Deborah Youden. And as last year’s St. John’s champion, Chef Shaun Hussey of Chinched Bistro will also judge.
David Lawrason, Gold Medal Plates National Wine Adviser, will be joined by local wine experts Tom Beckett, a wine educator, and Telegram wine columnist Steve Delaney. Together they will determine the highest quality wine of the night.
This year, Gold Medal Plates St. John’s welcomes nine chef competitors who will all be doing their best to get to the top tier of the winners’ podium. Here are the chefs and the dishes they will prepare:
Chef Roger Andrews
This is the first time Chef Roger Andrews has participated in Gold Medal Plates. He is, however, someone who has competed in other first class events such as the World Culinary Olympics. Chef Andrews is owner of Relish, 11 Waldegrave St. He also teaches culinary arts at the College of the North Atlantic.
Dish: Roasted breast of squab stuffed with pistachios and chanterelle mushrooms will be served with a squab reduction infused with Labrador tea (a low lying evergreen shrub). Squash purée, apple scented with maple and green onion and a salad of edible flowers, Newfoundland berries and popped wild rice dressed in a hibiscus vinaigrette accompany the squab.
Wine: Norman Hardie 2012 Prince Edward County (unfiltered) Pinot Noir.
Chef Peter Ellsworth
Blue on Water
Chef Peter Ellsworth is another newcomer to Gold Medal Plates. This Newfoundland trained chef is an eager competitor, having been involved in several regional culinary competitions. Frequent customers of Blue on Water, 319 Water St., know that Chef Ellsworth is especially passionate about seafood cookery.
Dish: The Ellsworth plate will feature scallops, foie gras torchon and lonza (cured pork). This will be accompanied by fennel, blueberries and chard.
Chef Edward Farrell
Chef Edward Farrell and his team competed for the first time in Gold Medal Plates in 2012. Having been through last year’s competition Chef Farrell and Portobello’s, 115 Duckworth St., believe this year’s dish will impress guests and judges even more than last year’s creation.
Dish: A trio of rabbit features a prosciutto wrapped saddle of rabbit stuffed with cornbread and chorizo, grilled rack of rabbit glazed with partridgeberry and Screech, and braised rabbit leg.
Wine: Malivoire Niagara Gamay Noir.
Chef Adam Gollop
Chef Adam Gollop returns to Gold Medal Plates this year, having last competed in 2011. Gollop now represents Salt Water, 284 Duckworth St., a relatively new eatery specializing in seafood.
Dish: Salt cod on a pavé of Newfoundland potatoes and caramelized onions is accompanied by pease pudding and shaved Brussels sprouts with poppy seeds. Thinly sliced pork tongue and a Newfoundland honey doughboy complete the dish.
Wine: Tawse Niagara Chardonnay.
Wine: Tawse Niagara Chardonnay
Chef Steven Gugelmeier
Chef Steven Gugelmeier became a Gold Medal Plates competitor for the first time last year and made the rare move of producing a cold dish. This year he has created a hot dish of game that he is confident will move him all the way to the Gold Medal Plates winners’ podium.
Dish: A presentation of Newfoundland rabbit with smoked Trinity Bay sea salt, roasted salsify, homemade chestnut spaetzle, black garlic and celeriac jus.
Wine: Mission Hill Okanagan Five Vineyards Pinot Noir.
Chef Andrew Hodge
Another first-time Gold Medal Plates competitor this year is Chef Andrew Hodge of Holiday Inn, 180 Portugal Cove Rd. Chef Hodge has become an avid student of Italian cuisine and has decided to bring a touch of it to the 2013 competition.
Dish: Ravioli of black truffle, pork cheek and pork belly is accompanied by a cabbage roll of pork shank and shoulder. A roasted garlic and pork liver croquette rounds out the dish.
Wine: Cave Springs 2009 Niagara Riesling CSV.
Chef Roary MacPherson
Sheraton Newfoundland Hotel
Chef Roary MacPherson is a veteran Gold Medal Plates competitor, having participated in every event since its inception here in Newfoundland and Labrador. As executive chef of the Sheraton Newfoundland Hotel, 115 Cavendish Sq., he is accustomed to the hurly burly of a large-scale event such as Gold Medal Plates. Last year Chef MacPherson won a bronze medal but is determined to take home the gold in 2013.
Dish: This Russian-inspired dish features moose pelmeni (dumplings), krovyanka (black pudding), Ragu iz Ovoshezh (root vegetable ragout), sauce grand veneur, mustard cream and borscht coulis.
Wine: Lake Breeze 2009 Naramata Tempest Bordeaux Blend.
Chef Mark McCrowe
Having won a silver medal in last year’s competition and a bronze medal several years before that, Chef Mark McCrowe of Aqua, 310 Water St., is undoubtedly yearning to complete his medal collection this year. He believes the answer will be a 2013 dish inspired by Asian cuisine.
Dish: Smoked duck breast with spiced molasses glaze will be served with dumplings made with duck organ meats and ice shrimp. McCrowe’s plate will also include a salt beef short rib with anise flavoured duck broth, Peking duck leg, and a local mushroom cabbage roll served with pickled winter vegetables.
Wine: Norman Hardie 2012 Niagara Pinot Noir.
Chef Ruth Wigman
Chef Ruth Wigman is a first-time Gold Medal Plates competitor and also the first woman to compete in Gold Medal Plates St. John’s. Earlier this year she was named chef at Bistro Sofia, 320 Water St., and, based on her extensive experience and background, was invited soon afterward to compete in Gold Medal Plates.
Dish: Chef Wigman’s plate consists of Peking style duck tortellini, lacquered pork belly, Szechuan foie gras foam, crumbled crackling and soured pear.
Wine: Coyote’s Run Estate Winery 2011 Red Paw Vineyard Pinot Noir.
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For regular updates on “One Chef One Critic,” my Telegram Dining Out column and the latest developments on the local culinary scene, please follow me on Twitter @karl_wells
Karl Wells is an accredited personal chef and recipient of awards from the national body of the Canadian Culinary Federation and the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. He is also a restaurant panellist with enRoute Magazine. Contact him through his website, www.karlwells.com.