Local chef conquers black-box competition, wins gold in Canadian Culinary Championships

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar's executive chef Alex Chen beats out chefs from across the country in event that benefits Canadian Olympic Foundation

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      While Canada continues to hold its own in the Winter Olympics, a B.C. chef has won gold in the food sphere.

      Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar executive chef Alex Chen won the 2018 Canadian Culinary Championships. His victory marks the first time in a decade that a chef has brought the gold medal home to British Columbia.

      He was one of 11 chefs who won regional competitions held right across the country last year, earning the right to compete in the national event.

      Held recently in Kelowna, the championships involved a mystery-wine pairing event and a black-box competition, which gave chefs just one hour to prepare a dish using seven secret ingredients.

      Chen won with what he called parfait of wild BC shellfish “chowder”, Northern Divine Caviar, and Bull Kelp “Brioche”. He paired it with Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards’ 2016 Ortega from Pender Island.

      Joining Chen on the podium was chef Éric Gonzalez of Montreal’s L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon (silver) and bronze medalist Barry Mooney of Halifax's Gio.

      Since its inception 12 years ago, the Canadian Culinary Championships has raised more than $12 million for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports Olympic athletes and high-performance programs such as Own the Podium.