This year’s BC Produce Marketing Association (BCPMA) and BC Chefs Association’s (BCCA) Healthy Chef Competition turned out some delicious and beautifully-composed dishes in a packed room of food lovers earlier in the week at Vancouver’s Hyatt Regency Ballroom.
Now into its 14th year, this foodie-lovers event (featuring music and both silent and live auctions) also serves as a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
The competitors, ranging from established restaurants and hotels to culinary schools, presented entrées and desserts to BCCA executive chef judges.
Again this year, CTV’s affable Marke Driesschen welcomed guests as hotel staff brought out a starter plate of smoked salmon, complimented with watercress pomme purée, pickled mushroom salad and Noble maple matured sherry bourbon oak fluid gel.
This year, the mystery dish moment took a slightly different turn: instead of a white envelope at each place setting, a silver box containing an entrée and dessert was kept secure until Marke gave the word to unbox and hand out the envelopes.
After digging into my chosen entrée (from Grand Dynasty Seafood Restaurant), I went up to try a second dish and later dessert, sharing with the rest of the table and commenting on the presentation, taste, and quality of the ingredients, much like the event’s official judges do.
And here are the Healthy Chef Competition 2013 winners:
Healthy Plate Award: Preston’s, receiving $1,000 for preparing the evening’s best healthy dish: Baked marinated sable fish with preserved black bean sauce, textures of “stir fry vegetables”, and forbidden rice
Best Entree: Tivoli’s Restaurant
CAB Beef Tenderloin: Roasted, grain-fed, 9 vegetable ragout, applewood smoked Yukon gold gratin potatoes
Best Dessert: Copper Chimney
European style Indian Fusion Mousse Cake: Poppy seed mango mousse cake and coconut pitaya fruit cake, duo of berry coulis, dark chocolate and caramel swirl, Zobrowka vodka, tabasco
While I couldn’t agree more with the judges choosing Tivoli’s and Prestons’ dishes, our table was unanimous in the fact that Copper Chimney’s Poppy seed mousse cake was a big letdown. The chocolate-covered cakes appeared to promise a rich experience however they were dry and lacked much chocolate flavour.
[Copper Chimney: European-style Indian fusion mousse cake, poppy seed mango mousse cake and coconut pitaya fruit cake, duo of berry coulis, dark chocolate and caramel swirl, Zobrowke vodka, tabasco – Best Dessert Award]
My favourite dessert was Prestons’ cheesecake, simply adorned with a small scoop of unique parsnip gelato, surrounded by a berry coulis and candied sunflower seeds and nuts. Delightful!
My favourite entrée was Art Institute of Vancouver’s swordfish dish with a couple of pink grapefruit sections, grilled papaya purée, a roe-topped seared scallop and quinoa. So many complimentary flavours (though admittedly the culinary school had run out of swordfish, so my dish contained tuna).
As well, the Hyatt Regency presented the event’s sole vegetarian option: a yummy dish with Agedashi tofu, finger lime, spring vegetables and braised red cabbage purée.
I’d like to extend a big thank you to the organizing committee, chefs, and judges who work hard to make this yearly event a success. And for the beautiful produce box filled with tasty local goodies to take home and enjoy.
More photos of the event can be found in my Flickr set.