Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar Executive Chef Alex Chen claimed the crown for the second time at the annual Gold Medal Plates culinary competition in Victoria, BC Thursday night and earned the honour of representing the province at the prestigious Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, BC February 2 to 3, 2018.
Months of meticulous preparation and tastings led Chen to present his winning dish of Parfait of Wild BC Shellfish, ‘Chowder’, Northern Divine Caviar and Bull Kelp ‘Brioche’ at the 12th annual event, which was the BC regional leg of an 11-city culinary tour of Canada. Boulevard Wine Director JP Potters worked alongside Chen to pair the dish with Pender Island’s Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards’ 2016 Ortega, which was named the evening’s Best of Show Wine.
Chen, who led Canada to a top-10 finish at the renowned Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France in 2013, was joined on the podium at this year’s event by Chef/Owner Rob Cassels of Victoria’s Saveur, who won silver, and bronze medalist Ryan Zuvich, Chef/Owner of Nanaimo’s Hilltop Bistro. It was Chen’s second Gold Medal Plates regional championship after winning his first trip to the 10th annual edition of the event in 2015, which earned him the role of Regional Judge at last year’s event.
“I have seen flawless dishes in my 10 years of judging the Gold Medal Plates and Canadian Culinary Championships, but Alex’s dish was among the best I have ever seen at this competition,” said BC Gold Medal Plates Senior Judge Andrew Morrison, who shared the dais with fellow Senior Judge Sid Cross, National Culinary Advisor James Chatto and Gary Hynes, Sinclair Philip, Neal McClennan and 2016 BC Gold Medal Plates champion Jesse McCleery of Galiano Island’s Pilgrimme. “Technically, it was a master study in everything that judges look for at this level of competition. From the breadth of ingredients to the expertise in which they were used, every one of us was wowed by Alex’s dish.”
Chen’s team included several award winners in their own right in Chef de Partie Connor Sperling, who just last week won the 2017 Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship culinary competition in Toronto, and Chef de Cuisine Roger Ma, who was an integral part of Chen’s run to the 2015 Gold Medal Plates title and also finished first in the 2015 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise™ Chowder Chowdown as well as the 2016 Curry Cup.
“We were honoured to be cooking alongside such an amazing collection of BC’s most talented and passionate chefs. Our team came in more relaxed this time around, and with a little more experience, and it felt right,” said Chen. “Our dish was a true reflection of the type of cuisine we strive to serve at Boulevard — the best that British Columbia has to offer. It’s going to be a challenging road ahead preparing to represent BC at the national championships, but I have faith in my team and we’re up for the challenge.”
Billed as the ultimate celebration of Canadian excellence in food, wine, athletic achievement and entertainment, Gold Medal Plates raises funds for the Canadian Olympic Foundation and support programs such as Own The Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Athlete Excellence Fund. Since its inception in 2004, Gold Medal Plates has generated more than $12 million in support for Canada’s Olympic Athletes.