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