The Tomato

Ryan O’Flynn on the podium"

Congratulations chef!

Edmonton’s Ryan O’Flynn takes gold at the Canadian Culinary Championships, (CCC) Kelowna

Ryan’s bravura use of Canadian sturgeon and expert technique wowed the 14 judges from across the country at the three day event in the heart of BC wine country.

The Westin Edmonton’s exec chef impressed the judges from the get-go. He guessed the mystery wine, a brash and somewhat rude Pinotage from the southern Okanagan, and paired it beautifully (and not without some risk) with sturgeon with a smoked beet puree in Friday’s night’s Mystery Wine Challenge. He played the Black Box Challenge safely with a well-executed pan-seared duck breast and yam puree, which kept him in the top three.

Chef O’Flynn’s grand finale dish was as thrilling to the national judges and Kelowna guests as it was to Gold Medal Plates judges and attendees last fall. The vintage change to 2013 Sandhill Small Lots Viognier was even better with the creamy textures and bold flavours of the Quebec foie gras and pine-smoked sturgeon terrine with Northwest Territory-sourced morels. During his presentation of the final dish to the national judges, Ryan talked about being a garde-manger in a resto in France and spending six months cleaning foie. This depth of experience, superb skill and obvious talent set him apart, even in this group of chefs, who were brimming with talent and desire.

We are thrilled for his sous and the Okanagan College culinary students who worked on Ryan’s team in Kelowna — they were all over the moon.

This is Edmonton’s first big win in 10 years of CCC. We have something to shout from the rooftops now — let’s have a little swagger!

More: Ryan O’Flynn’s Proust Culinary interview.

Want to tell your chenins from your chards? Or learn why some wines taste like vanilla and others like butter? Learn to taste like a pro in a Wine Spirit Education Trust (WSET) program, taught in 58 countries, and in Edmonton by Natasha Susylinski (WSET Advanced, FWS) and Mary Bailey (AIWS, FWS). A one day Level One Foundation runs February 21 at the Hardware Grill (9797 Jasper Avenue). Visit www.winecollege.ca to book.

The popular Boardwalk resto Sabor (10220 103 Street, 780-757-1114) is getting into the pizza biz, opening the Urbano Pizza Co. in early April. Expect a casual menu to eat in or to take-away.

Kudos to home economist Pat Inglis and Linda Whitworth, the market development manager for Alberta Barley. Their book Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain (TouchWood Editions) is the winner of the Best Historical Recipes Book: Canada, by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Next up is Gourmand Best in the World competition, to be announced in June. We’re thrilled to bits— here’s what we said about Go Barley when it was released last spring: http://thetomato.ca/2012-may-june/dish-mayjune-2014

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Western Living Mag has released the short list for its Foodies of the Year 2015 recognition. From this they’ll whittle to 10 people. Congratulations and good luck to all those nominated, and of course we are rooting for the Alberta noms, listed here:

Chefs Nathin Bye, &27; Shane Chartrand, Sage, River Cree Resort; Mike Scorgie, Woodwork. Also nominated: Edmonton Food Council’s Dustin Bajer, urban agriculture teacher; Ryan Mason and Cathryn Sprague, Reclaim Urban Farm; Jacqueline Jacek, JACEK Chocolate Couture.

Calgary chefs: Alison Bieber, Black Pig Bistro; Dave Bohati, MARKET, Calgary’s GMP winner; Karine Moulin, Hotels Arts.

Let’s not forget our liquid culture; the winemakers, somms and bartenders: Tyler Harlton, TH Wines, Summerland; Matt Dumayne, Okanagan Crush Pad, Summerland; Brad Royale, Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts, Calgary; and Vancouver’s Emily Walker, Four Seasons Hotel, and Jason Yamasaki, Chambar.

And the creators of Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story which showed at Relish Film Fest last fall: Jenny Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin. For the complete list vist: http://www.westernlivingmagazine.com/2015/01/30/2015-foodies-year/

The Blue Chair Cafe (9624 76 Avenue, 780-989-2861) is ideally suited to become Ritchie’s neighbourhood café, especially with the new breakfast and lunch service— coffee and baked goods at breakfast, and what owner Harold Wollin is calling simple home-cooked comfort lunch specials, meatloaf and the like.

NAIT Continuing Education’s new event management certificate is one of the most comprehensive in the country. “We completely redeveloped the event management offering,” says Nancy Milakovic, program manager, Business and Hospitality, Continuing Education. The certificate covers everything aspiring planners would need to know including marketing, sponsorship and critical path analysis.

“It prepares people for a meaningful career in events, the depth we’ve gone to, people can hit the ground running. They will be able to walk into any environment and get started,” says Nancy. For the complete course lineup, visit nait.ca/coned.

One of our favourite chefs, Filliep Lament, now runs the kitchen at the revamped North 53 (10240 124 Street, 587-524-5353) owned by Kevin Cam. Check it out, the food is great, the atmosphere is playful, and it’s open late!

The Glass Monkey (5842 111 Street, 780-760-2228) celebrates their first year anniversary with a reserve wine list with gems from Italy, Spain, Australia and France. Pair with their daily specials or the delish grilled flat iron steak with chimichurri, duck confit with chili and palm sugar glaze, and Moroccan-style braised lamb shank.

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