By now, this article won’t have to carry any spoiler alerts, since the outcome of Top Chef Canada Season 3 was announced on Monday, June 10.
A crowd of over 250 media, chefs, and invited guests attended the Coal Harbour Cactus Club season finale party earlier this week, enjoying the sunny patio spaces, superb watermelon margaritas (or wine), and beautifully-crafted appetizers.
Hands-down, my favourite dish was the tuna sushi cone, wrapped in colourful rice paper, piled high with fresh tuna, tobiko, sprouts and rice. Rob’s goat cheese flatbread also made the rounds, topped with grape tomatoes, pesto, arugula, caramelized onions, balsamic glaze and Maldon sea salt. Other indulgent nibbles included Spicy Chicken Bites and Tuna Tataki.
Mouthwatering appetizers and drinks aside, we were all gathered to see whether local chef Matt Stowe would beat out Quebec’s Danny Smiles as Top Chef Canada in season three’s final episode.
Both chefs were asked to prepare a five-course menu as well as complete a food truck challenge that would be judged right down to the final nail-biting moment.
During the tv-watching festivities, three courses were brought out as samplers, trademark Stowe creations including the roasted banana and coconut tapioca dessert prepared during Episode 9: Chefs on Safari. This episode saw the chefs head to the Toronto Zoo in order to put together a menu inspired by the animals and their regions of origin.
It was a pretty surreal experience, watching Chef Stowe and his wife Amber, who together with their toddler took to the restaurant’s makeshift stage when Matt’s name was called as the winner on TV.
The newly-minted Top Chef Canada learned an appreciation for good food from a young age, thanking both parents for giving him the opportunity.
Matt also thanked a high school chef instructor (present at the event). At 16, he took a chef training course while at school in Cloverdale (Surrey), mostly to learn how to survive once he’d leave home. The instructor saw promise in the young chef and entered Stowe into a few competitions (from which emerged a cooking scholarship). This early experience started Matt in the direction he’s taken to this day.
Surrey-born Stowe was also grateful to the Cactus Club for the opportunity to head off to compete for eight weeks during the filming season, thanking everyone right down to the waitstaff, head office, and marketing teams. With regard to the competition, he felt that the representation was well-rounded.
Chefs have been given a lot of great opportunities through the show and Stowe is thrilled to see the title back in BC after previous winner Chef Dale MacKay and runner-up Chef Trevor Bird were chosen in earlier seasons.
As TV crews filled the room, it was hard to not figure out the final outcome, yet the fun and socializing made it a great way to reveal Chef Matt Stowe as the winner. Chef Stowe has been with the Cactus Club for three years, and is currently their Product Development Chef.
“I am not going to leave Calgary without the title of Canada’s Top Chef.”
His wish came true, along with $100,000, a GE Monogram Kitchen, plus a $25,000 custom surface to work on.