Every year, the Canadian Olympic Foundation sponsors a Gold Medal Plate competition where the top 10 chefs in each Province are selected and invited to compete. Our Chef Lorenzo Loseto of George Restaurant, has been asked to compete since 2005, winning many bronze and silver awards. But this year he has won the Gold Medal.

The Chef explained how he created his dish:

“I wanted something seasonal, balanced and cold because I had never tried a cold entry. I chose sashimi style ahi tuna wrapped in crisp potato strands, roughly the same width as the laces of my hockey skates. This was garnished with fennel and pear relish, roasted shaved carrots, peppercorn mayo and jasmine carrot juice. This combination worked but I gradually adjusted it, improving the balance of tastes and textures so that each complemented each other but contributed to the effectiveness of the dish as a whole. I started with the red colour of the tuna and found that because of the freshness of the ingredients, all the colours looked wonderful together.”

In August, our wine committee headed by Sommelier, Ian Thresher, met with the Chef who brought to the table some of the ingredients he wanted to use. Ian’s recommendation was to invite Kew Vineyard of Beamsville Bench to participate with us. It is newly arrived and owned by the much larger Angels Gate Winery. The object in forming Kew was to provide the Angels Gate winemakers with a new challenge to produce better Ontario wines. In 2013, Kew won the double gold medal in the All Canadian Wine Awards for its 2012 Marsanne Viognier wine. At the outset, Ian thought we should use this wine, but the slight oak tended to overwhelm the delicate taste of the tuna. Later on, when the Chef added fennel, Ian was concerned that he would be able to find any wine because fennel tends to dull the tongue. Further, if a stronger wine was chosen to deal with the fennel, the wine could overwhelm the tuna taste. But Kew’s old vine 2010 Riesling worked because it was slightly more mature and complex (like the dish). Problem neatly solved!

One of the judges, James Chatto, wrote that the choice of winners was very contentious except for the Gold Medal. James writes: “The one thing all the judges agreed about was the gold medal winner. Five of us had him at number one and the sixth judge made him first equal.”

Here is Chatto’s description of the Chef’s dish:

“Lorenzo Loseto of George has been a most loyal supporter of Gold Medal Plates over the years, competing in every event we have held and winning silver three times, a unique feat. Last night he won gold. His dish centred upon perfectly cooked ahi tuna that had been wrapped in threads of potato and fried for a very brief time, just long enough to crisp and bronze the potato and set a gradation of colour around the outside of the fish’s ruby centre. Soft ribbons of roasted carrot lay beneath the fish which was surrounded by a relish of juicy pear and crunchy carrot cut almost as finely as a brunoise. Also in the mix were pea-sized beige balls of a marshmallow consistency that turned out to be slow-roasted carrot butter transformed by multidextrin. A beet-stained, tartly pickled sliver of celery added a moment of intensity; another was provided by a small mound of a highly seasoned peppercorn mayo, working as an optional condiment. The dish was finished with a dust of pistachio and fennel pollen. The overall effect was entirely harmonious and impeccably judged, all textures and flavours in complex, balanced patterns that delighted the crowd and the judges. Chef Loseto also scored high with his wine match, the 2010 Old Vine Riesling from Kew Vineyards on Niagara’s Beamsville Bench, a wine full of the aromas of petrol and lemon zest.”

How superbly described by James Chatto!

Chef Loseto will be Toronto’s champion going on to Kelowna in February for the Canadian Culinary Championships.

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