Supporting Aspiring Chefs: Chefs in the City 2010

With the public’s current fascination with reality television and competition-style shows, the High School Culinary Challenge fits right in, and capitalizes on that interest and thirst for fast-paced, cutthroat battles.

The High School Culinary Challenge began in 2009, an initiative of Shaw Conference Centre Executive Chef and Canadian Culinary Federation Edmonton President Simon Smotkowicz as a means of promoting the field of culinary arts as a viable career for high school students to consider. In February of this year, 39 students in teams of 3 each competed for two scholarships for post-secondary tuition, uniforms, books and knives. The two winners received the invaluable opportunity to mentor with chefs that work in some of the best kitchens in the city over the course of three years, including Red Ox Inn, Sage at River Cree Casino and Resort, and L2. For a field that relies on teaching and learning on the job, the chance to study with award-winning local chefs will provide a remarkable start to a young person’s career.

To fundraise (and promote) High School Culinary Challenge, Chef Smotkowicz has organized Chefs in the City, taking place on April 30, 2010 at the Shaw Conference Centre. Half the funds raised will go towards scholarships for next year’s challenge (the other half will go towards Culinary Team Canada). As expected, it will be a sumptuous evening of food and wine. The five-course paired meal will be as follows:

Reception: Sautéed Alpaca Loin Medallions, Warm Caramelized Fennel, Onion Compote, Toasted Pine Nuts.

Reception: Maple Wood Grilled Whole Lamb Loin with Pemberton BC Gold Pommes Maxim, Natural Jus and Honey Roasted Yam Foam

First Course: Lobster-herb Press, Seared Scallops, Pea Ravioli with Sautéed carrots, Irvings Farm Bacon and Vanilla Froth

Second Course: Pan Roasted Duck Breast and Venison Tourtiere with Confit Rhubarb Salad, Asparagus, Sauce Soubise and Duck Jus

Third Course: Local Saskatoon Berry Sorbet and Wild Cherry Chip

In addition to the dinner, guests will also have the opportunity to watch and chat up local chefs in action at six different stations, preparing dishes using the best produce and proteins area farmers have to offer (of course, the food ogling is a given).

Station #1: Shane Chartrand of L2 Grill

Galangal Spring Creek Ranch Beef Tenderloin

Sour Orange Sauce with “Moo Shu Style” Short Ribs, Salsify Crème and Crispy Leeks

Station #2 Sonny Sung of Sorrentino’s

Poached Bison Short Ribs with Porcini Mushroom And Truffle Emulsion

Slow Roasted Smoked Nature’s Green Acres Nouveau Beef Tenderloin, Foie Gras, Amarone Foam

Confit Ginger, Wild Fennel and Parmigiano-Reggiano Pate À Choux

Station #3 Paul Campbell of Cafe de Ville

North American Style Bison Short Rib with a Petit Waygu Striploin, Torchon, Alberta Wild Rice and Morel Risotto, Vegetable Medley. Balsamic Glaze

Station #4 Paul Shufelt of Hundred Bar & Kitchen

“Steak n’ Eggs” Grilled Pine Terra Farms Striploin, Soft Poached Egg, Braised Kickin’ Ash Buffalo Short Rib & Riverbend Gardens Potato Hash, Irving’s Farm Fresh Smoked Bacon & Ancho Pepper Hollandaise

Station #5 David O’Connor of the Sutton Place Hotel

Chocolate and Ancho Chili Crusted Spring Creek Ranch Filet Mignonette with Confit of Bison Short Rib, Shiraz Poached Potatoes with Roasted Root Vegetables

Station #6 Michael Brown of The Westin

Classic Wagyu Beef Tenderloin “Wellington” and Buffalo Short Ribs

Fine Morel Jus, Sautéed Root Vegetables, Creamed Potatoes and Wild Alberta Blueberry Yogurt Tart

The farmers supplying the products will be on hand to talk to the guests as well, making Chefs in the City seem like a grander version of Madison’s Grill’s Farmers’ Market Dinner.

I am fortunate enough to have been invited to this event, but there are still some tickets available if you’re interested in supporting aspiring chefs. It should be a great night!

Chefs in the City 2010
Shaw Conference Centre
Tickets $175 +GST
Reception @ 6:30pm, Dinner @ 7:30pm

5 thoughts on “Supporting Aspiring Chefs: Chefs in the City 2010

  1. I spoke to Chef Simon on behalf of Slow Food and asked if we could partner with him on this event. My understanding at the time was that we would be doing so – yet, that didn’t happen, unfortunately. Too bad, as I believe our organization could have provided a lot of support that this event could have used to take “a load off” those already working so hard and to expand the marketing… etc.
    But, I am not going. I really want to, but as I cannot eat meat – paying this kind of money for a tasting is just too much. I would definitely pay and go to support the students if this were not the case. I am so happy I can see it through your eyes.

  2. Sharon – do you know anything about Endless Feast, yet?
    It is also listed on the website that this event is promoting – same page. Maybe you could find out through the person who invited you? I would love to know more about this, and snag a ticket for this one EARLY.

  3. Chris – I’m looking forward to it, thanks!

    Valerie – you’re right – some of the goals of SFE do align with what Chef Simon is looking to accomplish. Perhaps it is too early in their organization’s development to partner? I’ll see what I can find out about this upcoming Endless Feast. Last year’s dinner looked amazing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s