Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship

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. 

Golden Dumpling Contest 2015

If you've ever been to Vancouver before, it would be difficult to not notice the abundance of culture and food in this bustling city.

This year's Golden Dumpling Cook Off was the perfect marriage of the two. Eighteen of the city's best restaurants and chefs competed in this year's competition for the coveted Golden Dumpling trophy. There was a full array of restaurants from the traditional Chinese, Mexican, Peruvian, West Coast fusion, Vegetarian, to the hip trend-setting Farm to Table. Each dumpling was judged on taste, presentation and creativity.

We were very excited to take part in this year's contest as a sponsor, as the proceeds from the day went toward the Chinese Elders Community Kitchen, a program on the Downtown Eastside that helps Chinese elders cook and enjoy a meal in a safe environment.

A picture of all the competing dumplings!

A picture of all the competing dumplings!

The event this year took place on the grounds of the Vancouver Food Cart Festival. A site that attracts thousands of hungry residents every weekend. The crowds quickly filled the grounds and soon there were lineups for each restaurant. Each guest received a dumpling passport that they would take around with them to each of the stalls. Though the tastings were bite-sized, 18 of them were enough to fill even the hungry.

The competition was intense, but the chefs were not the only ones competing as 8 women and 8 men battled it out in the annual dumpling derby. The winner of the women's category managed to finish 24 dumplings in 2 minutes. The men's winner finished an impressive 47 dumplings in the same amount of time!

At the end of the day, it was Executive Chef Armando Brown from the La Mezcaleria team with his Cochinita Pibil Dumpling that took home the trophy. Their dumpling was a traditional Mayan slow-roasted pork prepared inside a banana leaf, marinated with orange and achiote chili, wrapped in corn and topped with habanero-orange jelly and spicy pickled red onions.

Photo courtesy of  @LaMezcaleriaYVR

Photo courtesy of @LaMezcaleriaYVR

We had a great time at this event and are looking forward to next year's cook off!  Congratulations to all the winners and participants!