In days to come as you go for a stroll around St. John’s (especially in the Water and Duckworth Street area) keep an eye out for a colourful emblem. It will be prominently and proudly displayed in the window of certain restaurants.
It’s called, the Gold Medal Plates “Emblem of Distinction”. When you see this emblem displayed by a St. John’s or Newfoundland restaurant, you can be confident that it is an excellent restaurant with a talented chef, and that chef and restaurant have met the highest culinary standards in the nation.
It also means that the chef, a member of our local St. John’s (or other Newfoundland community) was specifically chosen by a group of Gold Medal Plates culinary judges (including yours truly and National Head Judge, James Chatto) to compete in the Gold Medal Plates St. John’s culinary competition, the winner of which travels to the national competition, the Canadian Culinary Championships. Hence the words on the emblem, “The Road to the Canadian Culinary Championships – Gold Medal Plates.”
Gold Medal Plates events take place each fall in eleven major Canadian cities from St. John’s to Victoria, BC. Proceeds from Gold Medal Plates events are used to support the Canadian Olympic Foundation and our Canadian Olympians. Without the participation of chefs like our talented local culinarians, Gold Medal Plates would not exist. Gold Medal Plates depends on the enormous contribution of time, talent and resources from our chefs and restaurants across Canada.
The Gold Medal Plates Emblem of Distinction therefore has a twofold purpose. It acknowledges a chef’s participation in this significant national program in support of Olympians, and also endorses their restaurant as a quality dining establishment. As James Chatto has stated, “…those who enter their establishments are treated to an exceptional dining experience.”
This November 13th, 2014, Gold Medal Plates St. John’s welcomes eight of St. John’s best and brightest chefs. A few are previous gold medal winners and several are previous silver or bronze medallists. Please take a few minutes and read what follows about them and their 2014 competition dishes.
Chef Gregory Bersinski
Black Sea Restaurant and Bar
193 Water St., St. John’s
Gregory Bersinski returns as a Gold Medal Plates competitor after an absence of four years. He’s a veteran of the St. John’s culinary scene having made his name as a star chef at Bianca’s during its formative years. Bersinski’s current passion is creating comforting dishes reminiscent of those he enjoyed as a young man in his native Sofia, Bulgaria.
Dish: Pan seared veal sweetbreads with fresh fava bean cassoulet
Beverage: Red Paw Vineyard 2010 Pinot Noir, Coyote’s Run Estate Winery, Niagara
Chef Chris Chafe
The Doctor’s House Inn and Spa
Old Hopeall Rd., Green’s Harbour
Chris Chafe is a past Gold Medal Plates silver medallist, where he was one of the youngest competitors. He’s gained considerable experience since then, leading to a refinement in his thoughtful, honest cuisine.
Dish: Duck charcuterie (liver pâté, leg rillettes, prosciutto, sausage) with local Trinity Bay berries and apples from the Doctor’s House gardens
Beverage: 2012 Pinot Noir, Meyer Family Vineyards, Okanagan
Chef Shaun Hussey
7 Queen St., St. John’s
As a previous Gold Medal Plates gold medallist and Canadian Culinary Championships competitor, Shaun Hussey brings formidable knowledge and experience to the St. John’s competition. Once again he will present a dish highlighting pork (his favourite ingredient) along with other local fare.
Dish: “An Unlikely Trio of Pork with Seasonal Flavours”
Beverage: Merlot, Rollingdale Winery
Chef Ivan Kyutukchiev
65 Lemarchant Rd., St. John’s
Ivan Kyutukchiev holds the distinction of being the first Gold Medal Plates St. John’s Champion. He won the gold plate in 2009, beating a field of the city’s most talented and skilled chefs. He was also a key member of the Bacalao team when Mike Barsky won the competition in 2011.
Dish: Smoked pork cheek, pig’s liver crème caramel, porridge of chestnuts, apple, celery root, boudin, buckwheat, golden raisins, chicharron, white port and cider pork jus
Beverage: 2013 Gewurztraminer Riesling, Pelee Island Winery, Pelee Island
Chef David Langmead
160 Water St., St. John’s
What David Langmead may lack in Gold Medal Plates experience is made up by his obvious enthusiasm for the event. A first time competitor, having recently assumed the mantle of Executive Chef at Oliver’s, Langmead’s the third Oliver’s chef to take part in a GMP competition.
Dish: Pulled rabbit, lentil and bean cassoulet topped with shaved duck breast, partridgeberry gastrique, butternut squash, corn tuile
Beverage: Quidi Vidi special brewed beer
Chef Roary MacPherson
115 Cavendish Square, St. John’s
Roary MacPherson is a veteran Gold Medal Plates St. John’s competitor. He’s participated in every event since 2009 and has received a GMP bronze medal. He is renowned as a mentor chef and champion of local farmers, fishermen, producers and their products.
Dish: “Goose and Chips” (goose roulade rolled in smoked pork belly, pommes pont-neuf with seabuckthorn ketchup)) apple and parsnip purée, confit of giblets and leg with root vegetables
Beverage: Farm Reserve 2012 Riesling, Lang Vineyards, Naramata Bench, Okanagan
Chef Mark McCrowe
310 Water St., St. John’s
Mark McCrowe is a Gold Medal Plates St. John’s silver and bronze medallist. Like MacPherson, he has competed in every GMP event. These days McCrowe prefers to work with local ingredients as often as possible. That preference is reflected in this year’s dish.
Dish: “Moose and Juice” (charcoal grilled loin with chanterelle dust, ragout of shank and fatback) Nan’s toast, roasted roots, moose jus with Labrador tea, pickled berries and crispy moss
Beverage: 2013 Zweigelt, Norman Hardie Winery and Vineyard, Prince Edward County
Chef Ken Pittman
One 11 Chophouse
Murray Premises, St. John’s
Ken Pittman is another first time Gold Medal Plates participant but no stranger to culinary competition. He has vast experience working with many styles of cuisine and ingredients. These days he’s bringing out the best in cuts of beef at the high-end steak house, One 11 Chophouse.
Dish: Braised hanger steak, chanterelle and sunflower seed risotto, onion ring, Newfoundland and Labrador berries and carrots, pea sprout purée
Wine: 2012 Pinot Noir, Orofino Winery, Similkameen Valley
If you’d like to purchase a table or tickets for the Nov. 13th. event please contact co-chair and co-ordinator, Mark McCarthy at 579-4444 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Karl Wells is an accredited personal chef, author of “Cooking with One Chef One Critic” and recipient of awards from the national body of the Canadian Culinary Federation and the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Contact him through his website,
Follow him on Twitter: @karl_wells