“We were not prepared for the elegance, finesse and imagination of the dish
.” – James Chatto
Spoken with conviction, Mr. Chatto, one of the most renowned and revered food critics in the country, delivered the news at a VIP after-party last night that our very own Marc St. Jacques
, Executive Chef of Auberge du Pommier
had captured the gold medal at Gold Medal Plates 2012
for Toronto. Mr. Chatto went on to add that Marc's winning dish was truly one of the best dishes he had tasted in the last two years. It was an emotional moment for myself and my colleague, Allison, as we were overtaken by a sense of immense pride and elation for a chef we genuinely respect.
The riveting announcement came after a long day of tasting dishes from eight of the city’s top restaurants. The esteemed panel of judges (Sasha Chapman, James Chatto, Christine Cushing, Anita Stewart), unanimously declared Marc the winner of the Toronto chapter. This year, the prestigious competition is being celebrated in ten cities across Canada, featuring the best chefs competing for a chance to represent their province at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna, B.C., where Marc will compete on February 8-9, 2013.
Plates of the gold medal winning dish
Marc was inspired to create a dish representative of Toronto - but not in the usual, ingredient-based way of highlighting local dishes. Instead, Marc focused on the idea that a city's identity and food is based heavily on the people it is comprised of. With a strong passion for the way food and flavours are put together, Marc presented a knock-out dish that reflects how he views regional Canadian cuisine: Quebec foie gras terrine with dashi gelée, matsutake purée, raw matsutake slices, pine nut streusel, nori powder and toasted brioche fried in nori butter.
The simple but striking dish was perfectly paired with a Peller Estates
Ice Cuvée Rosé, which contained a hint of red icewine. Selected by our sommelier from Canoe
, Will Predhomme, the rosé enhanced the umami component of the dish by adding acidity to the pairing. Will, who recently placed 2nd in the Best Canadian Sommelier Competition 2012
, earning the right to represent Canada in the "Best Sommelier Competition of the Americas", emphasized the importance of choosing a wine that would lift the savoury components of the dish and push the flavours forward.
The Auberge du Pommier team (photo: Brian Chambers
Judges, Olympic Gold Medalist Adam van Koeverden and 24 VIP guests gathered at Auberge du Pommier in the morning, just before noon hour. It was the first stop of their culinary journey and Marc’s mission was to set the pace with bold, unapologetic flavours to represent the cuisine at Auberge du Pommier. As I stepped into the kitchen during prep time, I could feel the intense energy in the air and the spirit of teamwork was stronger than ever, with Marc and his sous-chefs Coulson, Moto and Nelson working in tandem. Marc’s deep desire to reflect the heart of his kitchen brigade in the dish came through in every component, a sentiment that the judges reiterated later that evening.
And the soul of Marc St. Jacques’ food shone through boldly, taking him and his team at Auberge du Pommier to gold.
To read the full press release
, please click here