This summer Garland Canada returned to the competition stage. In the past, the company held an Iron Chef competition at the Hostex show. But attendance at Hostex had waned over the years, to the extent that they went looking elsewhere. "We work very closely with chefs from all segments across Canada.
Sponsoring events that highlight and celebrate the creativity and exceptional skills of our chef customers is natural for Garland Canada," explains Garland Canada's Executive Chef, Hans Sell. "And not just for the professional chefs. We also work alongside many culinary programs across the country. Competitions are an excellent way to engage up-and-coming chefs in the excitement and discipline necessary to excel at the competitive level."
First stop for 2013 was the 3rd annual Right Some Good festival on Cape Breton Island. Top chefs were under pressure of a black box reveal, cooking with local ingredients for sold out sittings. What makes the festival unique is that the entire experience takes place outdoors, under canopy, in various locations around the island. Each sitting is uniquely situated surrounded by beautiful scenery and vistas. But the main event is the Garland Canada Master Chef Face Off held on the main stage Sunday, September 1, 2013. This year's winner was Chef Dennis McIntosh who took home the first place prize of $5,000.
Next stop was the 18th Annual PEI International Shellfish Festival. Recently named by BizBash as one of the top 100 events to attend in Canada, the festival attracts visitors from all over Canada and the United States. It's a weekend of fun that highlights the exceptional cuisine and warm hospitality that the island is famous for.
The Garland Canada International Chef Challenge had to be the climax of the event. Ten leading-chefs from as far south as Miami, as far west as BC, and all points in between, converged on the island for a two-heat cook-off held in front of a standing-room-only crowd. Only two chefs (one from each heat) were able to move on to the final competition to face off for the $10,000.00 first place prize.
In the finals, Chef Ryan Morrison of Glowbal Group Restaurants faced last year's champion, Chef Marc Lepine of Atelier. Hosted by renowned Food Network Canada Celebrity, Chef Micheal Smith, a sold out crowd of over 500 watched as each chef created their own unique, beautiful, and delicious (according to the judges) creations featuring a required list of ingredients that highlight PEI shellfish and produce.
In previous years, the finals were held at the Culinary Institute of Canada, located in Charlottetown. But this year Garland Canada shipped in the latest in induction cook tops and other equipment so that the competition could take place in the main tent in front of the main stage.
During the final, Chef Lepine displayed the precision, attention to detail and melding of unique flavours that he is famous for. Chef Morrison, on the other hand, displayed a more laidback style—but with no less skill and creativity. Both were formidable opponents, but in the end a new winner was crowned for 2013. Chef Morrison was named as this year's $10,000.00 grand prize winner. Chef Lepine was awarded the $2,500.00 second prize.
Garland Canada's Vice President and General Manager, Mary Chiarot, was on hand to present the cheques to the winning chefs. When asked about this summer's event, Ms. Chiarot commented, "We're very happy with the excellent feedback we have received from each of the chefs and the event organizers from both events. We like that events like this are a win for everyone that's involved."