Kelowna is home to the Final Competitions for Gold Medal Plates which takes place February 2 and 3. During the fall of 2017 Chefs from eleven cities across the country competed with chefs in their provinces and cities to gain top titles and the opportunity to come to Kelowna and compete at the national competition.

These eleven chefs will be tested, timed and challenged in three competitions all with the goal to reach the podium. Since winning in their city last fall they have been practicing and have been tested by their teams in preparation for the finale weekend, all of this while they are still managing their busy kitchens and restaurants.

I’ve attended the events for the last several years and the dedication and intensity is great to watch. The creativity of Chefs working with limited budgets, mystery ingredients and preparing dishes for hundreds of people is impressive.

The Competitions:

Mystery Wine Pairing

2017 Competition People’s Choice Winner

Chefs arrive in Kelowna on Thursday, February 1; that evening they are given a bottle of wine, the wine is unlabeled all they know is that it is white or red and is Canadian. They are then challenged to create a dish to pair with that wine. On Friday, Feb 2nd Chefs have a budget of $350 to prepare 500 dishes for the guests attending that evening. During the event guests get to enjoy the mystery wine and the dishes prepared by the eleven chefs. At the end of the competition the wine is announced and a people’s choice winner is selected.

Black Box Competition

2017 Competition Black Box Ingredients

Chefs arrive at 7:30 am at Okanagan College not knowing what is ahead of them. They are locked in a room with no cell phones, no access to the outside until their name is drawn to come out to compete. Chefs are then presented with a box of seven ingredients that they must use in the dish that they create. They then have one hour to create their recipe, then cook their dish and prepare 14 portions of that dish. They are not just timed, but are also asked by the judges what they feel the ingredients are, tested to make sure all seven ingredients made it into the dish and if their final product was what they said it was going to be when they had to share their recipe before they started cooking.

Grand Finale Competition

2017 Canadian Culinary Championships Gold/Silver/Bronze winners

After leaving the Black Box Competition Chefs then go to prepare for the evening, here Chefs present their only pre-planned dish of the competition. Chefs will select a Canadian Winery or Brewery to work with and will present a dish for all 600 event attendees. While the judges deliberate to determine the winners, guests enjoy live music by 54/40 in an intimate concert. The evening closes with the announcement of the gold, silver, and bronze medal chefs who surpass their peers as they step up onto the podium as national winners.

You can see the competition unfold on social media by following the hashtags #ccc2018 and #GMPProud.

Gold Medal Plates supports Canada’s athletes through the ultimate celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has received tremendous support and accolades all across Canada and generated a combined net total of over $12 million for Canada’s Olympic athletes!

Christina Ferreira

Christina Ferreira is the owner of Impact Events & Brand Management located in Kelowna. When not helping businesses with their events and getting their brand out to the world she’s busy exploring the Okanagan’s beaches, wineries, patios and hiking with her dogs Grace and Penny.