The first annual Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship competition took place last Sunday. Erstwhile and dedicated young chefs from across the country participated, and the stakes were reasonably high: $10,000, plus the privilege of telling the world that the judges who made the award were a veritable who’s who of Canadian culinary competence. Paul Moran from Kelowna, British Columbia came out on top to win the prize, presented by Chefs’ Table Society of B.C. He also will be given a stage at a top international restaurant.
Those judges? Chef David Hawksworth recused himself, since he worked hard behind the scenes, and assembled the magic “black box” of secret ingredients the finalists in the competition had to work with. The black box contained steelhead, lobster, palm hearts, almonds, and Meyer lemons. The judges: Vancouver’s Vikram Vij of Vij’s and Scott Jaeger of the Pear Tree Restaurant; Anthony Walsh of Oliver & Bonacini Restaurants, Mark McEwan from Top Chef Canada, and food writer Jacob Richler, from Toronto; and Normand Laprise of Toqué restaurant in Montreal. One highlight was a Q & A panel discussion with the chefs. Another was dinner at Hawksworth Restaurant, with the winning chef being able to work in the kitchen alongside the celebrity chefs, each of whom presented a fabulous plate to the lucky diners in attendance. A splendid time was had by all.
Photos: Jessica Haydahl Photography.