By Jamie Drummond

On Thursday the 19th of November at Toronto’s Metro Convention Centre, 10 talented Chefs went head-to-head to compete for bronze, silver and gold medals in the illustrious Toronto Gold Medal Plates competition. The winner of Toronto’s gold medal moves forward to compete against the other regional finalists in Vancouver.

Founded in 2003, the goal of Gold Medal Plates is to raise substantial funds for Canada’s high performance athletes, while celebrating Canadian excellence in cuisine, wine, entertainment and athletic achievement.

2009 Gold Medal Plates Toronto Judges

The judging panel for this year’s Toronto competition consisted of James Chatto, Sasha Chapman, Christine Cushing, Lucy Waverman, Anita Stewart, John Higgins, Patrick Lin, Geddy Lee and David Lawrason.

The bronze medal was awarded to Anne Yarymowich from Frank at the AGO who presented a wonderful dish of roasted and glazed Tamshire pork belly with sauerkraut of purple cabbage and red onion, a whole brandied blue plum and a Cookstown blue potato chip. This was paired superbly by Sommelier Courtney Henderson with Cave Spring’s 2007 Estate Riesling, a personal favourite of mine.

Anne Yarymowich from Frank, at the Art Gallery of Ontario

The silver medal was given to the talented Jonathan Gushue from Langdon Hall who put together a delightful plate consisting of a torchon of Rougié foie gras embedded with five-spice pigs cheek served with  lentils du Puy, purée of parsley root, and (just as a little surprise) a wee spoonful of what was referred to as “lobster pudding” (lobster with bacon, cream, shallots and just a splash of icewine). This complex dish was expertly matched with Daniel Lenko’s 2007 Gewurztraminer by Sommelier Katy Moore.

Jonathan Gushe from Langdon Hall

Jonathan Gushue of Langdon Hall

As the evening wound to a close it was announced that the gold medal winner of Toronto’s Gold Medal Plates was Nota Bene’s David Lee. Chef Lee had created one of the most unusual plates of the evening with his crisp chicken skin and chicken cartilage. The dish was lifted with just the right amount of plum hoisin sauce alongside a little sour apple compote flavoured with ginger and coriander. Sommelier Otta Zapotocky rose to the challenge of finding just the right match for this challenging dish, pulling it off with quite the aplomb by selecting 13th Street’s 2007 “June’s Vineyard” Riesling.

David Lee from Nota Bene

For more pictures of the evening (and the other Chef’s dishes) please click here.