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Healthy Chef Competition showcases B.C. chefs

Photos by Kelly Marion

Lots of butter means lots of flavor right?

Well that’s one way to make tasty food, but luckily (for our arteries and our waistline) it’s not the only way to achieve it. Vancouverites seem to seek out healthier options, whether it’s organic, local or just green and generous in vitamins. It’s no surprise that we would have a Healthy Chef Competition in a city that focuses not only on good health but also on good food. Now in it’s 13th year the event has grown in popularity, as it is now less trade specific and more open to the public. It continues to be a successful event year after year with some of the top chefs in BC competing.

This event showcased a wide representation of the industry with ten culinary establishments ranging from established restaurants and hotels, to culinary schools. With up to 70 dishes created there was a wide variety of food at the Hyatt Regency that night. And the 450 guests attending, including some members of the BC Lions who brought the Grey Cup, were happy to help consume it.

Each guest, after finding their seat, discovered that they had an envelope in front of them. These envelopes held two “coupons”, one for an entrée from one of the teams, and another for a dessert from a different team. Each guest received a different combination.

Don’t like which one you got? Tough luck, unless you had someone at your table that was willing to switch. The good thing was that after everyone had eaten their course there were leftovers so there was often the opportunity to get your hands on the dish you had secretly hoped for.

Appetizers were provided by Hyatt and consisted of a small plate of salmon sitting atop a daikon round with a skinned, steamed tomato, a grapefruit slice and a chanterrelle mushroom stem.

The competing teams were: Copper Chimney, Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, Chinese Canadian Chef Association, Executive Plaza Hotel in the Conference Centre Coquitlam, WahWing Szechaun Restaurant, River Rock Casino Resort, The Hyatt Regency Vancouver, The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Vancouver, Vancouver Community College and Pier 7, a restaurant scheduled to be open this Spring.

Each team presented entrées and desserts to executive chef judges from the BC Chefs Association (BCCA). There was also a surprise judge, Vancouver’s food blogger, Mijune Pak of Follow Me Foodie.

Under the guidance of Executive Chef Mike Pinter, the judges evaluated each competitor’s use of fresh produce, taste and plate display. Trophies were awarded for Best Entrée, Best Dessert, Best Table Showcase, People’s Choice and the Healthy Plate Award.

“We want people to strive for the healthy plate; we want to preserve the integrity of the competition.” Exclaimed Executive Chef Sylvain Cuerrier of the River Rock Casino.

A unique thing about the event was the incorporation of the People’s Choice award. There was no vote card for this award and in a very unconventional, but accurate way, the winner was chosen based upon loudest cheers from the crowd. It was easy to narrow it down to two but that’s when it got tricky. After the third “shouting contest” it was clear that Vancouver Community College took the cake for the People’s Choice award. Their dish (shown below) was healthy and beautifully presented.

Vancouver Community College

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