The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio De Janeiro, so Gold Medal Plates took on a Brazilian theme.
Jan Trittenbach will represent Edmonton at the upcoming Canadian Culinary Championships.
Trittenbach took top spot at Thursday night’s Gold Medal Plates competition, where top chefs cook off against each other in order to raise money to help Canada’s Olympic athletes.
And, in sporting terms, it wasn’t close. Trittenbach, chef at Solstice Regional Cuisine plated a dish of stuffed pork roulade and pork belly on a “soil” of beets and pistachios. He was the unanimous top choice amongst the judges – so it was a dish that clearly separated itself Trittenbach from the competition.
Now, Trittenbach has to deal with the pressure of defending Edmonton’s title at the Canadian Culinary Championships, which is set for Feb. 6 in Kelowna, B.C. Last year’s Edmonton Gold Plates winner, Westin chef Ryan O’Flynn, went on to win the national title.
This year, O’Flynn was a judge and a VIP chef, but didn’t enter the competition.
Gold Medal Plates holds regional competitions/fundraisers in 10 Canadian cities. The Edmonton event was the second on the schedule. The 10 winners go to Kelowna, B.C. on Feb. 6, 2016 to compete for the Canadian overall title.
The event allows supporters of Edmonton’s food scene to rub shoulders with Olympic athletes, who are brought in from across the country to attend the Gold Medal Plates events. Let’s face it; when it comes to many of the Olympic sports, whether it’s speed skating or bobsled or cycling or long jump, we follow the athletes closely every four years, and then they kinda disappear off the radar. But, events like Gold Medal Plates allow them to engage with the public; and, after a speed skater or a skeleton rider has sat at your table, you’re more likely to become the kind of fan who follows the athlete’s results in the World Cup circuit or other events. Curt Harnett
Curt Harnett, a three-time Olympic cycling medalist, is hosting eight of the 10 events, including Thursday’s affair at the Shaw Conference Centre.
“It’s a fantastic celebration of the many things that make Canada so great,” Harnett said. “Obviously, the food, the wine, sport, musicians, there’s just this amazing coming together. It gives the chance for the community to get closer to the Olympic movement as a whole.
“We all know the chefs are competitive with each other, because that’s their business. They’ve got to step out and shine. Ryan O’Flynn won it last year, with the overall Canadian culinary championship, so he’s brought home a bit of a spirit that encourages the guys cooking here tonight.”
Harnett said that there’s been instances where people who have met athletes at Gold Medal Plates have gone on to become direct patrons of those Olympians. So, rubbing shoulders does have an effect. It also helps many women athletes and those competing in sports other than the so-called glamour events introduce themselves to wider audiences.
“We saw the Pan Am Games this past summer [in Toronto] , the Women’s World Cup this past summer, I think it really showed that in Canada we care about sport at that level. Much like Vancouver did for winter sport [2010 Winter Olympics] , Canada found its collective voice for how much we care about our summer athletes.”