Local food producers have a champion in Kelowna’s champion chef Mark Filatow who brought home gold from the Gold Medal Plates in Vancouver over the weekend, and will now compete in February’s Canadian Culinary Championships—right here in Kelowna.
The past two years that event has been held here, there weren’t any local chefs in the running, but this year, local fans can cheer for a Kelowna chef—one who is fanatical in his quest for local ingredients to fill the menu with at his Waterfront Restaurant on Sunset Drive.
Filatow prepared a trio of Bar M Ranch lamb dishes, including one that involved purchasing a Weber barbecue which he had to set up on the loading dock at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver in order to cook one of them for the judges—and 500 guests.
That was the lamb loin, but he also braised the neck, ground it and spiced it up like sausages in tubes, and braised the belly with Moroccan flavours so it was very tender. The trio were served with a potato doughnut which was crisp outside and tender inside; thumbelina carrots, cut in half and served with harissa, a hot chili sauce; and fennel relish.
Both the guests and the seven judges were impressed, and he received the gold medal over two other Okanagan chefs as well as chefs from Vancouver’s top restaurants.
A certified sommelier as well as a chef, he paired it with the Orofino 2010 Scout Vineyard Syrah from the Similkameen.
In February he will be up against top chefs from across Canada in three competitions. The first involves pairing a dish with a mystery wine that’s revealed the night before; the second is a black box competition at the Okanagan College Culinary Arts facility; and the third involves feeding hundreds of people at the Delta Grand at the finale to the competition, where the winner is announced.
Filatow and his restaurant chef Wayne Morris will be practising black box competitions in the coming months, beginning with pen and paper, and then working on a framework for dishes that they can complete in the required amount of time, which may work with the mystery ingredients.
Such competitions are not new to Filatow, who says he participated in them as an apprentice.
That apprenticeship included time working with Kelowna Chef Rod Butters when he was at the Wickanninish Inn on Vancouver Island, and the move to the Okanagan with Butters when he first opened Fresco. It has now morphed into RauDZ Regional Table.
Filatow’s elation at the win is now tempered by a pinch of nervousness at thoughts of the upcoming competition, but he says it’s fun to compete too.
“If you stop being nervous…you’ve stopped caring,” he sums up.
Proceeds from these events go to supporting programs for future Olympic athletes. Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has generated $6 million for Canada’s olympic and paralympic athletes.
Tickets for the Canadian Culinary Championship events in Kelowna Feb. 8 and 9 are available at: www.goldmedalplates.com