Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar’s executive chef Roger Ma beat out 12 leading chefs from across the country in the Canadian Culinary Championships in Ottawa on February 2, bringing home gold.
Ma called his winning ocean-inspired dish "BC Coastal Terroir": honey mussel “gratinée”, foraged bull kelp, sea urchin custard, Yukon-potato-and-scallion terrine, and manila clam emulsion. Head judge James Chatto described it as “so meticulous, so thoughtful, yet vivid and alive. The flavours were rich, interesting and clear — it was Vancouver on a plate.”
Montreal's Marc-André Jetté of Hoogan et Beaufort restaurant took home silver with a dish of Blanc de Gris mushroom, matsutake gel, burnt pickled onion, smoked bread, and Louis d’or cheese. Winnipeg's Emily Butcher of deer + almond, meanwhile, won bronze with her glazed sablefish with turnip cake, whitefish roe, and turnip roe.
The Canadian Culinary Championships is the culmination of Canada's Great Kitchen Party, which runs in the fall in 12 cities across the country. The finalists make it to what's considered the chef Olympics, the two-day closing event featuring three competitions: Mystery Wine Pairing, Black Box, and the Grand Finale.
Canada’s Great Kitchen Party and the Canadian Culinary Championships support not only the country's food scene but also sport and music through organizations like B2ten, MusiCounts, and Community Food Centres Canada. Elite athletes are given resources to compete on the global level and musical instruments provided to school kids.
Ma's entire family was in Ottawa to cheer him on. He said his dish represented "who I am and where I come from".
Meanwhile, Signature Restaurants' executive chef Alex Chen, Ma's mentor, will appear on Food Network Canada's new show Wall of Chefs, which premieres tonight (February 3).