The Canadian Culinary Championship held its black box competition at Algonquin College’s in Restaurant International in the H-building on Feb. 4.
This event brought people together to celebrate Canadian food and culture. Several participating chefs were among the top contestants in the 2022 regional competition. Ottawa’s chef Briana Kim of Alice Restaurant’s was thrilled to be named the winner of the evening event.
The competition consisted of three sections: the mystery wine pairing, the black box competition and the grand finale. The black box competition took place at Algonquin College and was one of the most intriguing and exhilarating parts of the competition.
During this section, chefs were provided with a selection of ingredients with local Canadian flavours spontaneously, adding to the excitement and unpredictability of the event. Working in teams of two, they had just one hour to create a dish that would be tasted and judged by a panel of experts.
Attendees and media were treated to a complimentary breakfast buffet and omelets made on-site by Algonquin College culinary students. The menu included various options such as croissants, bacon, yogurt and roasted tomatoes. All food and bar drinks were made and served by the students of School of Hospitality and Tourism.
“The food was excellent, particularly the omelets that the students made on-site,” said Val Cai, a marketing coordinator from Ottawa Tourism. “Since the event started early, many people, including myself, didn’t have time for breakfast. I appreciated the thoughtfulness of having a breakfast buffet available.”
As they enjoyed their breakfast and drinks, spectators could look closely at the chefs in action. The chefs’ recipe creation, ingredient selection and preparation techniques were displayed on a big screen, allowing a detailed view of their skills and thought processes.
“It’s an exciting experience,” said Gina Marebe, a second-year culinary student. “These are the chefs we learned about in class, and to have the opportunity to see their skills up close and in person is fantastic. I’m so happy to have been a part of it.”
Jmark Robin Domina, a second-year culinary student participated in the event as he saw it as a great way to gain experience.
“I’m thrilled to see the famous top chefs up close and to work towards being in their position one day,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll get the chance to stand there too.”
Domina and Marebe were in charge of preparing omelettes for the event attendees.
Despite a surprise power outage that struck at 10:30 a.m., the competition organizers quickly handled the situation and rescheduled the remaining portion of the competition for later in the evening.