Canada’s Great Kitchen Party: Toronto Regional Qualifiers 2018

Canada's Great Kitchen Party: Toronto Regional Qualifiers

Canada’s Great Kitchen Party annually hosts the Canadian Culinary Championships featuring acclaimed Canadian chefs, elite athletes and musicians to celebrate excellence in Canadian culture through sport, music and food.

Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Metro Toronto Convention Centre

For the championships, 11 of the Gold medalists from each regional qualifier compete in the grand finale happening in Kelowna on February 1 & 2, 2019. Regional qualifiers take place in Moncton, Ottawa, Edmonton, Halifax, St. John’s, Victoria, Saskatoon, Toronto, Calgary and Winnipeg.

On October 29, 2018 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Canada’s Great Kitchen Party presented its annual Toronto Regional Qualifier for the Canadian Culinary Championships, hosted by George Stroumboulopoulos.

Chef Jason Oszoli at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario

This $550+ ticketed event allowed guests to enjoy a variety of delicious dishes from the competing chefs, meet and greet chefs and athletes, and be entertained by some of Canada’s top musicians.

Chef Jeff Kang and Canis Restaurant Team at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Jeff Kang and team at Canis Restaurant

There were also both live and silent auctions that took place. Live auctions offered one-of-a-kind trips and experiences. Silent auctions offered things related to food and drink, sports and music.

Kadri's Toronto Maple Leafs' Jersey for Silent Auction at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario

Juno Awards Guitar for Silent Auction at Canada's Great Kitchen Party Toronto Regional Qualifiers

Tolaini Valdisanti Wines for Silent Auction at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Tolaini Valdisanti Wines for Silent Auction

Guests also got to mingle and meet with a number of Elite athletes including Jennifer Botterill (Hockey), Anastasia Bucis (Speed Skating), Para Alpine (Skiing), and Anna May Pierse (Swimming).

Proceeds from this event benefited B2ten, MusiCounts and Community Food Centres Canada (CFCC). Dom Gauther (B2ten Co-Founder), Kristy Fletcher (MusiCounts Executive Director) and Nick Saul (CFCC President and CEO) represented the beneficiaries at the event.

Canada's Great Kitchen Party: Toronto Regional Qualifiers including Canada's acclaimed chefs, athletes and musicians including Elia Herrera, Gian Nicola Colucci, Keith Pears, Jeff Kang, Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies, Tom Cochrane and Jim Cuddy.

Canada’s Great Kitchen Party: Toronto Culinary Competition

The VIP Reception started at 5:15PM allowing for early access to chef stations, followed by general admittance at 6:00pm.

This year’s Canada’s Great Kitchen Party Toronto line-up of 10 competing chefs includes: Ryan Crawford (Backhouse), Jeff Kang (Canis), Keith Pears (Delta Toronto), Gian Nicola Colucci (Four Seasons Toronto), Elia Herrera (Los Colibris), Jesse Vallins (Maple Leaf Tavern/PORT), Amira Becarevic (Mira Mira), Jason Oszoli (Oliver & Bonacini), Rob Toppan (The Fifth Grill & Terrace), and Albert Ponzo (The Royal Hotel).

Smoked Okra from Chef Amira Becarevic (Mira Mira) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Amira Becarevic from Mira Mira: Smoked Okra, Charred Cauliflower Gratin, Blistered Shishito Pepper, Red Cabbage & Pumpkin Seed Oil, Sunflower Crema
Paired with Southbrook Vineyards’ 2017 Estate Orange Vidal (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)
French Rillon Pork Belly from Chef Gian Nicola Colucci (Four Seasons Hotel) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Gian Nicola Colucci from Four Seasons Toronto: French Rillon – Smoked Pork Belly, Baby Kale, Sauce Gribiche
Paired with Hidden Bench Estate Winery’s 2016 Estate Riesling (Beamsville Bench, ON)
Duck Breast from Chef Keith Pears (Delta Toronto) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Keith Pears from Delta Toronto: Rougie Duck Breast, Duck Confit Mushroom Croquette, Foie Gras Parfait, Beet, Squash Puree
Paired with Trius Winery’s 2016 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)
Maiale al Latte from Chef Albert Ponzo (The Royal Hotel) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Albert Ponzo from The Royal Hotel Events & Provisions: Maiale al Latte (pork cooked in milk)
Paired with The Old Third Vineyard’s 2015 Golden Russet Sparkling Cider Cuvee Yquelon (Hillier, ON)
Oxtail Brioche from Chef Jesse Vallins (Maple Leaf Tavern) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Jesse Vallins from Maple Leaf Tavern/PORT: Oxtail Baked in Brioche with Tendon Bordelaise
Paired with The Farm Wines’ 2015 Pinot Noit (Niagara Peninsula, ON)
Porridge from Chef Jeff Kang (Canis) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Jeff Kang from Canis: Celeriac Porridge, Duck Confit, Mushroom, Hazelnut
Paired with Leaning Post Wines’ 2015 Pinot Noir (Niagara Peninsula, ON)
Chef Jason Oszoli from Oliver & Bonacini's dish at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Jason Oszoli from Oliver & Bonacini: Vadas Hunters Wild Boar & Brisket Stew, Pogacsa Foie Gras Biscuit, Sout Cherries, Salsify
Paired with Chateau des Charmes’ 2017 Gamay Noir ‘Droit’ (St. David’s Bench, ON)
Roasted Octopus from Chef Rob Toppan (Fifth Grill & Terrace) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Rob Toppan from The Fifth Grill & Terrace: Roasted Octopus with Arugula Pesto, Autumn Caponata, Potato, Smoked Raisin Puree, Orange
Paired with Southbrook Vinyards’ 2017 Connect Organic White (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)
Pork Belly from Chef Elia Herrera (Los Colibris) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Elia Herrera from Los Colibris: Pork Belly, Mole Negro, Seasonal Vegetables with Ancho/Chapulin, Pepita Oil, Tamal de Cazuela
Paired with Southbrook Vineyards’ 2016 Estate Cabernet Rose (Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON)
Dip Dip Egg from Chef Ryan Crawford (Backhouse) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Chef Ryan Crawford from Backhouse: Dip Dip Egg – Fried Egg White Mousse, Confit Yolk Infused with Ontario Saffron, Lightly Smoked Kolapore Springs Trout Caviar, Sourdough Brioche Dipping Soldier
Paired with Charles Baker Wines’ 2014 Picone Vineyard Riesling (Vinemount Ridge , ON)

For Canada’s Great Kitchen Party Qualifiers, each chef created a dish with a corresponding wine pairing.

Charles Baker Wines Riesling at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Charles Baker Wines
2014 Picone Vineyard Riesling
Vinemount Ridge, ON

The Judging Panel included: James Chatto (National Culinary Advisor), Sasha Chapman (Senior Judge), Christine Cushing, John Higgins, Lucy Waverman, Amy Rosen, Chef Lorenzo Loseto (2017 Gold Medalist), Geddy Lee (Guest Judge), David Lawrason (National Wine Advisor).

Judges table at Canada's Great Kitchen Party Toronto Regional Qualifiers

The 2018 VIP Reception Chef was Chef Lorzeno Loseto of George Restaurant, who was the 2017 Gold Medal Winning Chef. Though not competing, he had a station serving food.

Goat Cheese Mousse from VIP Chef Lorenzo Loseto from George Restaurant at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Pickled Artichoke with Goat Cheese Mousse
Tuna Tartare from VIP Chef Lorenzo Loseto from George Restaurant at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Tuna Tartare

Similarly, The Local Cafe and Restaurant at Centennial College’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts was also serving food and roaming hors d’oeuvres.

Lamb Ragout from Centennial College at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Moroccan Lamb Ragout, Pistachio-Phyllo Cup, Preserved Lemon Yogurt
Vegetable Shooter from Centennial College at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Roasted Autumn Harvest Vegetable Shooter with Candied Garam Masala Pears

The beverage stations include wines from Chateau des Charmes Wines, Cave Springs, The Foreign Affair Winery and Mission Hill Wines; spirits from Slava Vodka; and beers from People’s Pint Brewing Company, Town Brewery and Godspeed.

The Foreign Affair Winery's 2016 The Conspiracy VQA at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
The Foreign Affair Winery’s 2016 The Conspiracy VQA: a ripasso style wine with Cabernet Franc (62%), Cabernet Sauvignon (25%) and Merlot (13%)
Zirkova Cocktails at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Zirkova Cocktail

Canada’s Great Kitchen Party: Toronto Gala Celebration

At 7:50pm, people moved to Hall G for the sit-down Gala Celebration which featured dessert, speeches, athletes, live entertainment, the crowning of Gold, Silver and Bronze chefs, and the Live Auction Adventure Trips with Canadian athletes and musicians.

Canada's Great Kitchen Party Gala Celebration in Toronto, Ontario

Desserts at the table were prepared by Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s Executive Chef Duff Lampard and included apple cheesecake pop, orange mandarin tart and coconut passion fruit verrine.

Various desserts and Canadian wines at the Gala Celebration of Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Orange Mandarin Tart at the Gala Celebration

The most important part of the evening was obviously the announcing of the culinary competition winners. I was glad that Gold winner was Chef Elia Herrera since hers was my most favourite dish. Congratulations to Chefs Elia Herrera, Gian Nicola Colucci and Keith Pears!

Canada's Great Kitchen Party Toronto Qualifier Winners: Elia Herrera (Gold), Gian Nicola Colucci (Silver), Keith Pears (Bronze)
Toronto Winners:
Gold: Elia Herrera (Los Colibris)
Silver: Gian Nicola Colucci (Four Seasons Toronto)
Bronze: Keith Pears (Delta Toronto)
Chef Elia Herrera with Gold Trophy at Canada's Great Kitchen Party Toronto Regional Qualifiers
Chef Elia Herrera with Gold Trophy

For the wine category, the Best of Show winners were: Charles Baker Wines’ 2014 Picone Vineyard Riesling (Gold), Mission Hill Family Estate’s Quatrain (Silver), Hidden Bench Winery’s 2016 Estate Riesling (Bronze).

The entertainment was amazing that night. It included Jim Cuddy, Ed Robertson, Dustin Bentall, Kendel Carson, Tom Cochrane, Sam Polley, Devin Cuddy and Annie Lindsay.

Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies sings Pinch Me at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies sings Pinch Me
Tom Cochrane performs at Canada's Great Kitchen Party Gala Celebration in Toronto, Ontario
Tom Cochrane Live Performance
Live performance from Jim Cuddy and Ed Robertson (Barenaked Ladies) at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Jim Cuddy and Ed Robertson (Barenaked Ladies) sings If I Had A Million Dollars
Annie Lindsay, Jimm Cuddy, Ed Robertson, Tom Cochrane, Devin Cuddy, Sam Polley in Encore at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Encore (left to right): Annie Lindsay, Jimm Cuddy, Ed Robertson, Tom Cochrane, Devin Cuddy, Sam Polley
Jim Cuddy, Ed Robertson and Tom Cochrane at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
Jim Cuddy, Ed Robertson and Tom Cochrane
Encore with audience on-stage at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario
They got the audience to come up and participate

I’ve been a fan of Barenaked Ladies since I was a kid so I was excited to see Ed Robertson and get the chance to meet him in person.

Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies with Travelling Foodie Raymond Cua at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario

Ed Robertson of Barenaked Ladies at Canada's Great Kitchen Party in Toronto, Ontario


You can learn more about Canada’s Great Kitchen Party thru their website, or find them in Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *