La Chaîne is an organization involved in food and wine – the unique interfacing of professionals and amateurs versed in "l'art de la cuisine et la culture de la table".
Welcome from Bill Pechtel, Bailli Regional, Edmonton
2012 was my first full year as Bailli Regional and thanks to the efforts of our Executive and membership we experienced another successful year for the Edmonton Bailliage. We ended our year with 75 members and this included the 6 new members that we welcomed to the Chaine at our Chapitre Dinner that was held on Sunday November 18th at the Westin Hotel Edmonton. Within our numbers we have 28 professionals. While we inevitably will have some changes in our membership going forward in to 2013, I am please to note that we already have a number of interested individuals who have expressed serious interest in joining our ranks.
We have a great list of events planned for the 2013 year. We will have a total of 6 events of which 3 will be black tie, 2 will be semi formal and of course there will be the annual Bar-B-Q to be held in August. 2012 saw good attendance at all our events and we really did experience some outstanding dishes – the best of which will be recognized at our first event this February with the presentation of the 2012 “Best Dish” award. We’ve been treated to great dinners prepared by passionate chefs but of course no dinner is complete without great wines. Wade Brintnell has done an outstanding job over the years in pairing up wines with really diverse menus. This is often a real challenge and Wade has always been up to the task. Thank you for that Wade.
As with many organizations, the Chaine too is evolving. Heading into 2013 I intend to work with our Executive to ask questions of our membership to gauge their feelings and seek their guidance as to the direction the Chaine should be taking. A survey has just been prepared and is being sent out this month to the entire membership asking a variety of questions. We’ve also prepared a separate set of questions for our professional members. Everyone’s input will be essential in determining how we proceed not only in 2013 but in years to come. I look forward to hearing back from as many members as possible so that we can take our Bailliage forward in the coming years.
The 2012 event this year took place at NAIT on February 4th. There were a total of 13 schools that took part in the preparation of 6 different menu items. The Awards Lunch took place on March 7th to celebrate all the competitors and to announce the competition winners. The wining schools for 2012 were Queen Elizabeth, the Skill Centre and in 3rd place Bev Facey. All competitors of the High School Culinary Challenge are eligible to apply for scholarships to attend NAIT’s culinary apprenticeship program. This program is one of the best in all of Canada. Our Bailliage works not only with the High School Challenge by way of financial assistance but also provides scholarships to NAIT via the sponsorship of the annual Young Commis Competition.
We gave 4 scholarships to NAIT culinary arts students this past year valued at $500.00 each. The funding comes from our Bailliage directly in the amount of $1,000.00 along with a matching amount from the National Bailliage also in the amount of $1,000.00.
Two scholarships were awarded on the basis of academic achievement in the final year and their excellence in the preparation and presentation of food. The other two scholarships were awarded to first year students in the Culinary Arts program on the basis of their outstanding academic achievement as well as demonstrating financial need.
As mentioned above we provided a $500.00 to the scholarship program sponsored by the Canadian Culinary Foundation, Edmonton High School Challenge. This amount is also matched by the National Bailliage.
2012 Young Commis Competition
The Chaine des Rotisseurs young commis culinary competition took place at NAIT school of hospitality on Saturday, 12 May, 2012. It was a spectacular day! The finest young chefs in the city were ready to compete. Sitting calmly in their pristine chef whites, they were anxious to get started and to finally open their mystery black boxes. The atmosphere in the room was intense.
At 7:00am, the menu planning started. Arctic char, juicy plump bay scallops, tender duck breasts, wild rice, oyster mushrooms and quail eggs were amongst some of the fresh produce that they had to incorporate into a winning three course meal within the 3.5 hours allocated.
Two professional kitchen judges were stationed in the kitchen to ensure the highest standards were maintained, whilst three professional tasting judges waited in the judging room. Soon the first appetizers were plated and delivered. As the judges sampled the tantalizing morsels of exquisite food and marked their score sheets,the tension and excitement gained momentum.
Once the last dessert was plated and the kitchen was being cleaned, the exhausted competitors took a much needed break. The overall scores were counted and verified. There was a clear winner, Miss Amanda Kerswell from the Fantasyland Hotel.
Her winning dishes wowed the judges. Her appetizer comprised of a delicately poached ravioli, filled with a sumptuous mousse of arctic char which added an extra dimension; embraced with oyster mushroom butter, a perfect harmony of flavors that were bold and yet, distinct.
Her entree was a modern twist on an old surf and turf classic. Seared duck breast which added brightness to the dish, with a beautifully grilled bay scallop and an orange cinnamon sauce that added a sudden moment of intensity, nestled on a delicate pillow of carrot puree and sautéed asparagus. A brilliant combination of textures and flavors that tantalized and aroused one's taste buds.
Amanda's dessert was the masterpiece on her menu; the lightest Belgium chocolate mousse imaginable that was a pure delight. Mirrored on a kiwi sauce with lychees, the flavors subtle but true, and crowned with a crisp caramel wafer.
Our 3 tasting judges were Mr. Ashish Bhatnagar, Executive Chef of the Marriott Hotel River Cree, Mr. Ihab Rafeh, Executive Chef of the Nisku Hotel and Conference Centre and finally Miss Allana Sykes, Driector of Marketing - Chefs Hat International.
Best Dish Award
The 2011 "Best Dish" award goes to the Derek Ingraham of the Jasper Park Lodge. The winning dish was the butter poached Nova Scotia Lobster with fennel galette, pickled remoulade and house grown microcress.
My hard working executive is as follows:
In closing I would once again like to thank the Executive for all their work and dedication to making our Bailliage as successful as it is. I look forward to an outstanding 2013.