This year was the first annual celebrity chef event. It was quite the spectacle at the time we arrived; vendors and chef pairs setting up before the hundreds of guests arriving to tantalize their tastebuds. Upon the approach of 6:00 there were food fans of all backgrounds entering the main doors of the NAC stopping at every booth to experience a taste of vibrant flavours. I had the opportunity to try 5 (out of 8 dishes), which delighted me to see such a great turnout to the show.
I take my hat off to each team that slaved for an intense 3 hours pumping out creative and beautiful dishes without the luxury of custom kitchen accessories by their side. I promise to have pictures and descriptions of each dish very soon (although you probably have had the pleasure to see each dish on many of the food blogs already…he hem…). That being said, I was caught up in the thought of meeting some celebrities that night, aside from Kevin Brausch who I have a secret food crush on. Looking around, … looking around.. reading the pairs of teams… nope. No celebrities to be found. I then though, am I contradicting myself in thinking that the chefs from around the country are not celebrities. So I put my theory to the test. Stopping several of my friends in the lines, I asked “are their any celebrities here?”. I did not lead on to what I thought a celebrity was but I dont think I needed to because 100% of the answers were: NO.
ce·leb·ri·ty / səˈlebrətē/• n. (pl. -ties) a famous person.∎ the state of being well known: his prestige and celebrity grew. ~ Oxford dictionary
1: the state of being celebrated
2: a famous or celebrated person ~ Merriam Webster Dictionary
Alright so, we had several immaculately talented paired chefs from around Canada expressing their talents at the one-of-a-kind event and each one showed their true colours. [If we are not going to support Martin Picard from Montreal] we are lucky to have our neighboring chefs come to Ottawa in the middle of winter for Michael Blackie. BUT – No offence to any of them but none have shown their celebrity status (are stardom) other than Blackie and his chef duo Chef Lyon from Toronto on TV. Okay so maybe I am exaggerating but there seemed to be a huge spectacle over at the Blackie/Lyon booth near the West end of the hall. I have to admit, even I was drawn to this end, simply to see what the ‘celebrities’ of the night would be up to.
Towards the middle of the show, I heard Blackie repeatedly say hi to several of the chefs only to say “sorry I gotta run for a photo-op”…hmmm…Towards the end of the night there were several teams waiting by the front steps for the downstairs after-party to begin. I, like too many others, were being entertained by Brausch in anticipation for the night’s events to continue and be hosted by one of the biggest partiers of the city – Blackie. Was I ever disappointed to see that after upwards of 25min of waiting, Blackie was already celebrating in his office with his Chef costar Lyon and some other big-timers while some well-known bloggers were left outside snapping pictures of every moment.
Alright so its the first time someone from Ottawa has taken their efforts into making a chef appreciation event. Oh wait, there is chef appreciation night every last Monday of every month at Oz. Lets try this again. Alright so its the first time all the chefs in Ottawa have had a chance to celebrate cooking together. Oh wait, there is the gold medal plates and the duelling chefs. … So what is it that Chef Blackie was trying to achieve? The only different at this event is ‘celebrity’ and … there werent any. Alright so this is the first time Blackie is in charge of a festive dinner…oh wait, that was kiboshed by Martin Picard’s decline at the Winterlude dinner… damnit Im really trying here.
Where was Guy Rubino (starred in Made to Order, and Iron Chef America)?
Where was Lynn Crawford (starred on Iron Chef America, Restaurant Makeover and hosts Pitchin’ In) who is probably the most down to earth chef in all of Canada?
Where was Susur Lee of Susur and Lee (starred in At the Table with Susur Lee) who has many students of his own right here in Ottawa?
Where was Josee Di Stasio (author of À la di Stasio and Pasta et cetera à la di Stasio)?
Where was David Adjey (starred on Restaurant Makeover, Iron Chef America and hosts in The Opener) who works in Toronto like so many other chefs who attended this year?
Where was Ricardo Larrivee (host of Ricardo and friends) who is right next door and retired?
Where was Rob Feenie, who partied with the Ottawa Gold Medal Plate finalists in Vancouver?
Blackie did you attempt to contact any of these Canadian celebrities? Well I will say this again – the chefs who shared their time and their smiles with us did an exceptional job and we thank you for making this event a success! As for Blackie, I’m speechless.
As promised here are the pictures I enjoyed taking from this year’s Canadian Celebrity Chef Event 2011
- Chef Lyon Schmoozing in front of his kiosk
- Assembly line at the Blackie/Lyon kiosk
- Blackie/Lyon dish: Sweet grass cold smoked Charlevoix veal, crisp potato girdle, feta and sage infused retention, firecracker spot prawn crisp, cloud Horse mead-lychee sting
- Chef Moffatt and Chef Walsh preparing their hot dish
- Moffatt/Walsh dish: Drunken squab and Newfie screech, tatin of sunchokes, foie gras crepinette
- Team Lepine/Cloutier strutting their plating styles
- Lepine/Cloutier dish: Kushi oyster, honey flavor roasted foie gras terrine, marrow bones with chardonnay viinaigrette and bacon foam
- Chef Bear educating the liner-upers of his fresh dish
- Long/Langley dish: Shiitake poached pickerel, beurre noisette, dressed grains and greens, crispy creme fraiche oyster
Again, I take my hat off to each team who had to assemble dish after dish, hour after hour, with very little space and equipment to work with.
As the night started winding down there was a bit more socializing.
- Stephen Beckta (owner of Beckta restaurant, and Play food and wine) in line with friend and coworker Greyson McDiarmid (Wine Manager, Play food and wine), and cheering on their teammates
- Chef Korecki chatting with Food Blogger (Foodie Prints) at the mise en gear vendor booth
- Chef Mike Poliquin (Metropolitaion Brasserie) sharing a drink with some friends
- Chef Blackie getting in a few words with Chef Moffatt
- I finally caught him. Kevin Brausch of the Food Network’s Iron Chef and the Tasty Traveler supported Ottawa’s first Canadian Celebrity Chef Event.