Keen kitchen contest supports Olympic athlete

Hundreds of visitors who take their food and wine seriously will descend on Kelowna the Canadian Culinary Championships.

Hundreds of visitors who take their food and wine seriously will descend on Kelowna in three months to be part of the Canadian Culinary Championships—all part of fund-raising to support Canada’s Olympic athletes.

From a field of 90 of Canada’s top chefs, nine will be chosen in the next couple of weeks across Canada, to come to Kelowna in February to compete for top honours.

Two Kelowna chefs will compete regionally Friday in Vancouver for the right to represent Vancouver at the national competition: Chef Rod Butters of RauDz Regional Table and Chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar.

At Wednesday’s launch of the championships, in between preparation of tasting plates of elk tortellini with red currant au jus and red cabbage, Filatow said, “What we do on plates is what Kelsey (Serwa) does on the slopes.”

Serwa is a world champion ski cross racer who also grew up in Kelowna, and told those assembled she wouldn’t have been able to achieve that without the funding that came from this effort by the Canadian Olympic Foundation.

Net proceeds from the Gold Medal Plates competition in Kelowna in February will go to that foundation to support athletes.

The winning chefs regionally will gather in Kelowna Feb. 10 to 11 to compete in a mystery wine pairing competition, a black box competition and a grand finale competition, each of which will include opportunities for the public to participate and taste the results. (Tickets are available at:

Stephen Leckie, founder of Gold Medal Plates said last year’s event in Kelowna drew at least 200 people from across the country; and each event sold out, including all 600 tickets for the final event.

As well, during the regional contests across the country, Kelowna is showcased to all those involved, so it’s great promotion for the city, he noted.

Butters called the Okanagan the “culinary hotspot in North America and Filatow added, “What we have here is amazing.”

Nibblers in the room agreed as they popped local ‘liquid baked potatoes’ into their mouths, along with Chef Michael Lyon’s beef tenderloin wrapped in local bacon and lobster cappuccino; his version of surf and turf.

Although a Kelowna chef now, he was twice a gold medal winner at the Gold Medal Plates in Calgary.

Each little plate was paired with wines from local wineries, as their entry in the regional championships will be, but no one was revealing just what the dish they create will be on Friday.

After all, they’ll be competing against each other to represent Vancouver at the national level in Kelowna next February.


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