Over the weekend, the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship competition took place at Vancouver Community College. This is FreshPoint's third year as a sponsor (bronze).
The HYCS Foundation is a culinary arts non-profit organization created to recognize and inspire young Canadian chefs. The winner of the competition receives $10,000, and a stage at a top international restaurant – giving the young chef the inspiration and opportunity needed to develop their professional skills.
The top eight finalists competed in the black box challenge at VCC early on Saturday morning. The finalists were given three hours to cook a main course and a dessert course using all the black box ingredients. This year, the box ingredients included squab, lobster, pears, oats and sea buckthorn. The finale proved to be challenging as almost all contestants have not cooked squab before. During the judges' critiques, a judge revealed that all but a couple desserts were inedible. The top three were Alec Fraser, Cynthia Iaboni and Ian MacDougall. Ian MacDougall of Calgary's Model Milk was the winner. We're looking forward to Ian's journey as a young chef on his way to excellence in his culinary career.
Later that night, we attended the fundraising gala as a finale at Hawksworth Restaurant. It was a full house at the Gala Dinner, which was presented by TD Aeroplan. It was a special night as six notable chefs prepared our dinner of six courses. The food was phenomenal.
We enjoyed a lightly smoked "Hawkshaw" Sockeye salmon with squid crisp sea asparagus tempura with peppered dressing by Chef Scott Jaeger (The Pear Tree in Burnaby). Chef Mark McEwan (The McEwan Group in Toronto) prepared a scallop crudo with green strawberries, tomatoes, serrano ham and marcona almonds. In Italian, 'crudo' means raw. It is similar to a ceviche, with the tanginess of a fresh citrus drizzle and the sweetness of the green strawberries. Chef Normand Laprise (Toque in Montreal) prepared a course of foie gras terrine with brioche alongside finely shredded savoy cabbage with fried leeks. Chef Anthony Walsh (Olivier & Bonacini Restaurants in Toronto) prepared a confit St-Canut porcelet with chanterelle mushrooms and turnips. Chef David Hawksworth and Chef Kristian Eligh (Hawksworth Restaurant) prepared a roast lamb saddle with licorice salsify and fig. Dessert was by Chef Wayne Kozinko (Hawksworth Restaurant). He prepared a peach sorbet, with compressed peaches, crispy choux, and a delicious milk chocolate praline creme.
Each course was paired with carefully selected wines (by sommelier Bryan Mao), which complimented the food beautifully.
It was a wonderful celebration of the talented young chefs of tomorrow, and our current leaders in Canada's culinary scene. Congratulations to Ian MacDougall on his win, and to all the young chefs who competed.