Healthy Chefs Competition

Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts and their Dessert

On March 17th I attended the 11th annual Healthy Chefs Competition held at the Hyatt Regency. This was the first time that I had attended this event and had no idea how the successful evening was going to unfold. Guests mingled about enjoying appetizers and drinks while bidding on silent auction items and previewing each of the restaurants food displays and menus for the evening. Before Dinner began, everyone at the table received an envelope with 2 cards inside for one entrée and one dessert. My friend and I had our cards but managed to sweet talk some of the chefs in giving us extra dishes so that we could taste them to see which were the best, we then went about tasting the various entrees and desserts.

Executive Plaza Hotel and their Dessert

Over the past month, lower mainland based culinary schools, hotels and restaurants have been pondering how to incorporate an insane amount of produce into their entrées while impressing the judges with their use of colour, taste, texture, temperature and creativity.  New this year is the Healthy Plate Award where one of the competing establishments will receive a generous monetary prize based on how they use fresh produce.

Blueberry, lemon and basil mousse cake from Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

Upside-down Strawberry Cake from the Hyatt

Pressed Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Praline from Carver's

Temptations. Strawberry shooter from Executive Plaza Hotel

It was the desserts that I enjoyed the most and my favourites were the Blueberry, lemon and basil mousse cake (Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts), Upside-down strawberry cake with strawberry and rhubarb mousse and almond croquette (Hyatt Regency), Pressed Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Praline with Chilliwack farm organic hazelnuts, minted mango strawberry salsa, mandarin brandy glaze, strawberry coulis (Carver’s Steakhouse), and Temptations a Strawberry shooter, ginger peach frozen yogurt, espresso creme brulee, wild berry coulis (Executive Plaza Hotel).

The Healthy Chef Competition’s first ever Healthy Plate Award was given to the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre for their Trio of Stuffed Vegetables

Vancouver Community College Chef Dave Ryan and his team received the Healthy Chef Competition Award for Best Entree.

Healthy Chef Competition Award for Best Dessert was accepted by Chef Julian Bond on behalf of his students from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. The winning creation was a Blueberry & Lemon-Basil Mousse Cake.

Chef Donald Gyurkovits of The International Culinary School at the Arts Institute of Vancouver and his hard-working team took home the Best Table Showcase and the Peoples Choice Award.

By: Richard Wolak