11th Annual Healthy Chef Competition

Event: The 11th Annual Healthy Chef Competition
Date: March 17, 2010
Venue: Vancouver Hyatt Hotel (Downtown)

The 11th Annual Healthy Chef Competition is an annual competition produced by The British Columbia Chefs’ Association (BCCA) and the British Columbia Produce Marketing Association (BCPMA). The mission of the event is to promote the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables into the daily diet. The competition involves some of Vancouver BC’s best executive chefs, apprentices, and sous chefs competing to create healthy and creative fine dining savoury and sweet dishes.

I was honored to be invited as a guest to by Karen Hamilton of TinyBites Consulting. The one day event started at 6:30pm and the judging closed at 7:30pm. Each guest was given an envelope with 2 random cards (1 entree, 1 dessert) at their table and these cards determined your dinner for the evening. If you still had room (which I always do) we were invited for seconds…my friends at my table – Victoria, Ed and The Foodists did not hesitate for seconds…and thirds…and fourths etc. Thank you to Ed Lau for the lovely photos you see in this post (the ugly ones are mine :))

A fabulous event and another Cinderella evening – not only was I well fed with 6 entrees and 10 desserts, but we also left with roses, flowers, chocolates and a couple goodie bags packed with enough fruits and vegetables to last a week!

The 10 Restaurant & Hotel Competitors:

  1. PACIFIC INSTITUTE OF CULINARY ARTS
  2. THE HYATT REGENCY VANCOUVER
  3. VANCOUVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE
  4. CARVER’S STEAKHOUSE
  5. FOUR WILLOWS FARM
  6. EXECUTIVE PLAZA HOTEL
  7. A KETTLE OF FISH
  8. EDGEWATER CASINO
  9. SHERATON WALL CENTRE
  10. CULINARY ARTS AT THE ART INSTITUTE OF VANCOUVER

The Judges: Executive Chef Mike Pinter (Seton Villa Action Line Housing, Director BCCA), Executive Chef Sylvain Cuerrier (CCC, River Rock Casino), Chef Thomas Dietzel (Int’l Hospitality & Recruitment), Jason Symington (CCC, Executive Chef, Panago), Chef Edgar Rahal (Chairman BCCA), Jason McRobbie (Creative Lead, Imagination Think)

Judging Procedure:

  1. Use a minimum of 6 fruits and vegetables
  2. Correct cooking procedure to receive maximum nutritional benefit
  3. Artistic appearance/Food presentation
  4. How sauce and combination of ingredients go together on plate
  5. Taste, and dowininess of food and cooking procedure

Official Winners of 11th annual Healthy Chef Competition 2010:

  • Best Entree: Vancouver Community College Chef Dave Ryan
  • Best Dessert: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts Chef Julian Bond
  • Healthy Plate Award: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
  • Best Table Showcase: Culinary Arts at the Arts Institute of Vancouver Chef Donald Gyurkovits
  • People’s Choice Award: Culinary Arts at the Arts Institute of Vancouver Chef Donald Gyurkovits

Follow Me Foodie/Mijune’s Personal Choices:

  • Best Entree: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
  • Best Dessert: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts
  • Healthy Plate Award: Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
  • Best Table Showcase: I can’t say, I didn’t see all of them
  • People’s Choice Award: n/a

**Note: I missed a few dishes…got too full.

  • Out of 10 mains I didn’t get to try: Carver’s Steakhouse, Four Willows Farm, Executive Plaza Hotel, A Kettle of Fish, Culinary Arts of the Art Institute of Vancouver.
  • Out of 10 desserts I didn’t get to try: Vancouver Community College, Edgewater Casino

On the table:

The evening started with 3 appetizers sponsored by The Hyatt Regency Vancouver: Strawberry Daiquiris, spiced and grilled salmon skewers, and this appetizer:

THE HYATT REGENCY VANCOUVER: Sponsored starter plate

Pan-seared sweet bread over eggplant caviar with King Oyster mushroom, polenta cake, strawberry and cassis coulis.

PACIFIC INSTITUTE OF CULINARY ARTS: Main

Sockeye salmon cured with local birch syrup and hot smoked with forest mushrooms. Served with a basil yoghurt sauce, grilled winter squash, and walnut sautéed winter greens.

  • This was my favourite main out of the ones I tried. The salmon was beautiful – I had them scoop me extra basil yogurt – although I couldn’t taste much basil.
  • Underneath the salmon was this crispy fried swiss chard – it was nutty savoury and almost like nori in texture.
  • I loved the apple chips on top although they were a bit random. It went with the squash though.
  • Everything on this plate came together perfectly for me.

PACIFIC INSTITUTE OF CULINARY ARTS: Dessert

Blueberry, lemon and basil mousse cake.

  • Their dessert also takes home the prize for me…and they really did win for best dessert! It reminded me of the blueberry pistachio dessert I had from Bakery Nouveau in Seattle.
  • It was moussey with a crispy bottom layer.
  • It was sweet, tart, and fresh – loved the combination of flavours and creativity.

THE HYATT REGENCY VANCOUVER: Main

Sous-vide lamb loin wrapped with leeks served with pickled strawberries and vegetable hay, with strawberry glaze and saffron couscous.

  • This to me looked beautiful but it was a bit inconsistent…some pieces of lamb more tender than others. A bit gamey for me and the leek wasn’t melt in your mouth… it was crunchy and you had to eat the whole thing at one.
  • LOVED the Israeli cous cous though.

THE HYATT REGENCY VANCOUVER: Dessert

Upside-down strawberry cake with strawberry and rhubarb mousse and almond croquette.

  • This was pretty much strawberry shortcake to me. Simple, good, but also something I could find anywhere.
  • Not really a creative use of fruit in my opinion.

VANCOUVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Main

Dungeness Crab cake, braised lamb shank with Crepinette and onion crusted beef tenderloin with wilted pea shoots, julienne radish and beets, butternut squash puree, asparagus and baby carrots.

  • This was very good, but there was so much going on that I felt like everything was good but I was eating it all separately.
  • There was a focus on protein, but not so much fruits and veggies.

  • Loved the crab cake…almost all crab. Didn’t need any sauce it had so much flavour and hardly any filler. Reminds me of crab cakes from The Shore Club.

VANCOUVER COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Dessert

Mango and milk chocolate tower, warm mixed berry honey Chiboust, raspberry coulis, vanilla ice cream. (Image above was the display)

Image above was what was actually served.

  • Delicious! I loved this dessert. I would order this.

CARVER’S STEAKHOUSE: Main (Image not available)

Vancouver Harbor Bouillabaise. Pan-fried filet of wild sustainable halibut, Ocean Wise giant prawn, greyer-cayenne crostini, fennel tomato saffron broth, Yukon gold potato coin.

CARVER’S STEAKHOUSE: Dessert

Pressed Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Praline. Chilliwack farm organic hazelnuts, minted mango strawberry salsa, mandarin brandy glaze, strawberry coulis. (Image above is the display)

(Image above was what was actually served)

  • This was one of my favourites as well. It was like a rich chocolate ganache layer with a another layer of chocolate nougat like cake with whole hazelnuts in it. It tasted like Ferrero Rocher in cake form.

FOUR WILLOWS FARM: Main

Roasted pork tenderloin stuffed with apricots, onions, and chanterelles; pistachio crusted pave; morel demi-glace.

FOUR WILLOWS FARM: Dessert

Dark chocolate mousse and orange passion cream on a sable disk with honey red tea sauce.

  • I had to work to get this dessert. Everyone was raving about it and they “sold out” so I asked for he display dessert. Yes I did. I’m dedicated and also obsessed with desserts.

  • I actually wasn’t too impressed with it. It was good, but also quite regular. It was a fluffy chocolate mousse dome with a passion fruit centre. Without the passion fruit centre it would have been way ordinary. Not really a use of that much fruit.

EXECUTIVE PLAZA HOTEL: Main

Healthy West Coast Seafood Lumber. Small mouth seabass, sockeye salmon, pacific lobster, saffron fennel puree, baby carrots, lima beans, yukon gold, blood orange glaze. (All produce used is organic)

  • Everyone wanted to try this because it had lobster – but they ran out so I missed it. I wasn’t quick enough!

EXECUTIVE PLAZA HOTEL: Dessert

Strawberry shooter, ginger peach frozen yogurt, espresso creme brulee, wild berry coulis. (All produce used is organic)

  • This was probably one of my least favourites. It was very watered down strawberry shooter.
  • The creme brulee was okay, but I don’t see what they’re trying to do here.

A KETTLE OF FISH: Main

Pan roasted sablefish with porcini and zucchini ragout, pottery of vegetables, black cod and braised leek canneloni and red pepper rouille.

A KETTLE OF FISH: Dessert

(Image above was the display)

Upside-down pineapple polenta cake, mango lassi, flambé banana, milk chocolate and chai nitro gelato. (Image above was what was actually served)

  • Loved this! Everything went together well and everything had a different sweetness to it. Love the tropical fruits and although it looks simple I love how creative they got with it.

EDGEWATER CASINO: Main

Bacon and Eggs. Braised Fraser Valley pork leg; fried quail’s egg, cranberry pine nut bread pudding, watercress puree, sautéed spring vegetables.

  • My official entree. There was a big peice of juicy pork fast around the chop – but I wasn’t crazy about this.
  • The sauce wasn’t reduced and the plating wasn’t fine dining to me.
  • The pine nut bread pudding tasted like cranberry stiffing at Thanksgiving.

EDGE WATER CASINO: Dessert (Image not available)

Black tea poached Bartlett pears and crème fraiche parfait; white chocolate field berry mousse.

SHERATON WALL CENTRE: Main

Trio of Stuffed Vegetables. Components: beet stuffed with barley and bulgur; zucchini stuffed with red quinoa, amaranth, and couscous; onion stuffed with muskox, Mediterranean spices, and pine nuts. Sauce: yogurt, tahini, and extra virgin olive oil. Finish: black garlic, roasted red pepper coulis, and wild rice popcorn.

  • Definitely the healthiest plate of the night. It was almost vegetarian with a little bit of meat. It would be good as an appetizer or side dish – but not really feeling it as a main.

  • The sausage or ground meat wrapped in a Belgian endive leaf.

  • I loved this!! The stuffed zucchini was great. It had quinoa in the stuffing and it was very flavourful.

SHERATON WALL CENTRE: Dessert

Green tea stack: jasmine tea, green tea, ginger, melon, starfruit, tapioca (cassava). Asian mango pudding: mango, tapioca (cassava). Surreal nacho: beet, avocado, lime, blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, juniper, cinnamon, clove, ginger. Grape on grape [BC chefs support BC wines]: red wine, red grape, green grape. Kat’s holé molé truffle on vegan chocolate: 72% bittersweet chocolate, pomegranate, raspberry, mango, Mexican pepper trio, cayenne pepper, tofu, soy milk, honey.

  • LOTS going on here… and some may say too much. But I think everything had it’s own flavour… definitely a sampler plate.
  • It didn’t taste that great though. I think Asian bakeries do a better job with Matcha and mango.

CULINARY ARTS AT THE ART INSTITUTE OF VANCOUVER: Main

Honey sablefish with barley risotto. Coconut turmeric broth, lots of vegetables.

CULINARY ARTS AT THE ART INSTITUTE OF VANCOUVER: Dessert

Strawberry three ways. Egg shell chocolate with strawberry ganache, angelfood cake with non-fat strawberry mousse, shot of strawberry consomme.

  • I couldn’t tell there was strawberry ganache in the chocolate. It looked and tasted like caramel. The chocolate had gold specs which was gorgeous.
  • The mousse was nice and light and fluffy though.

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