Search This Blog

San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Chooses a Winner and so did I - Who Won A Dinner At Lee?

Last night was the San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Regional Competition and we now know that Canada will be sending  Jean-Christophe Comtois of École hôtelière de la Capitale in Quebec City to Napa in March. There he will compete in the 11th Annual Finals Competition along with competitors from 75 other culinary schools across North America. His winning dish was one of my favourites and was causing quite a bit of rumbling and happy noises on bloggers row. The little square of deep fried, crispy polenta provided such a nice crunch to balance out the silkiness of the veal and the puree. I also really enjoyed Kellie Callender's dish of salmon with a beet infused quinoa, voted People's Choice.

For now, go and download the Almost Famous Chef Recipe Ebook for lots of other great dishes from contestants, past and present.

It was a stressful, pressure filled night of cooking, plating, presenting and then justifying their dishes to the panel of judges in front of a lively audience. Everyone knows you have to have nerves of steel to survive in a commercial kitchen so last night is certainly a good test of their ability to shut out all of the noise and distraction and get down to business.

The judges table

trying to concentrate 

The winner hard at work

 The event was hosted at Cirillo's Culinary Academy and chefs from Cirillo's along with a few Humber students, recreated each contestant's dish for the audience to sample which is always my favourite part of the evening. I came a bit late and missed the first two dishes but I really enjoyed the rest of them. If I had to pick a favourite, it was a toss up between Kevin Hafichuk's  spot prawn with homemade lemongrass oxtail tortellini  and Kellie Callender's salmon on beet infused quinoa. There was also lots of wine, prosecco and Pellegrino sparkling water, of course and mile high cheese plates at every turn. It's always a really fun night and so inspiring to see so much young, exiting Canadian talent up close and personal.
Best of luck to Jean-Christophe in Napa!!

I will share the recipe for the salmon with you- I am planning to try it asap and I will report back:

Slow Roasted Salmon with Quinoa Salad Kellie Callender, Culinary Institute of Vancouver Island (Nanaimo) 
Fresh citrus flavours in this marinade match perfectly with the delicate richness of the salmon. This combination makes a delicious change for a brunch or lunch recipe to serve to friends. 

Citrus vinaigrette: 
1 each orange, lemon and grapefruit 
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil 
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt and pepper 
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter 
2 shallots, minced 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh thyme 
1 tsp (5 mL) minced fresh ginger 
8 skinless salmon fillets (about 4 oz/125 g each) 

Quinoa Salad: 
1 beet 
1 small head garlic 
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed 
1 shallot, minced 
Half a bulb of fennel, finely diced 
1 apple, cored and finely diced 
1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese 
3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice 
1 tbsp (15 mL) liquid honey 
3 tbsp (45 mL) grapeseed or canola oil 
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each salt and pepper 

Using a rasp or grater remove rind from orange, lemon and grapefruit. Measure 1 tsp (5 mL) from each fruit and place in a small bowl. Juice orange, lemon and grapefruit and add 2 tbsp (30 mL) of each into bowl with rind. Whisk in oil, salt and pepper; set aside. 

In a small skillet, melt butter over medium heat and cook shallots, garlic, thyme and ginger for about 3 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tbsp (45 mL) of citrus vinaigrette. 

Place salmon fillets into large casserole or roasting pan. Pour in shallot mixture and turn to coat evenly. Place in preheated 275 F (135 C) oven for about 20 minutes or until thermometer reaches 140 F (60 C). 

Quinoa Salad: Wrap beet and garlic in foil and place in preheated 375 F (190 C) oven for about 1 hour or until tender. Squeeze out garlic into a bowl and finely dice beet; set aside. 

In a saucepan, combine quinoa with 2 cups (500 mL) of water. Add shallot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook on low for about 20 minutes or until tender and no liquid remains. Fluff with fork into a large bowl. Add fennel, apple and cooked diced beet and parmesan. Add lemon juice, oil, honey, salt and pepper to roasted garlic and whisk together. Pour over quinoa mixture and stir to combine. 

Divide quinoa mixture among 8 plates and top with salmon. Spoon reserved vinaigrette over salmon to serve. 
Makes 8 servings. 

So, now on to my Lee Restaurant Giveaway - we have a winner!
I used a random sequence generator to pick a winner out of the 40 entries and the second post is the lucky recipient of a $150 gift certificate to Lee! Congrats to Collin Ng!

* the original winner did not come to back to check to see if she won and I had no way to contact her so I went to the next entry and that person was Collin

Featured Post

Lobster Fondue Mac with Crispy Bacon and A Giveaway from duBreton

I don't trust people who don't love bacon. Even my friends who don't eat meat will admit that the smell of frying bacon is ...