Meet the Chef Competitors for Canada’s Great Kitchen Party

Meet the 2019 Chef Competitors

Canada's Great Kitchen Party logo

Nine of Edmonton’s best chefs are ready to wow 700 guests and eight judges at the Kitchen Party on October 10. It’s a talented lineup, with eight veterans returning to compete and one newbie, chef Spencer Thompson of The Marc.

Each chef plans a dish around a pairing with a Canadian winery, brewery or distiller in order to win gold and a trip to the Canadian Culinary Championships (CCC) in early 2020.

It’s a great time too. Top-notch food and drink, live music, special guests, feverish bidding on travel and a silent auction.

Canada’s Great Kitchen Party celebrates Canadian talent in food, sports and music. Funds raised support amateur sport via B2ten; MusiCounts, which provides musical instruments to lower income children and the Community Food Centres Canada which runs healthy food programs for low-income Canadians across the country.

For information and tickets visit:

Serge Belair,

Serge Belair, Shaw Conference Centre
Serge is the executive chef of the Shaw Conference Centre where he leads a team of kitchen professionals in preparing over 250,000 meals each year. “My first job was in a restaurant in an old house in the Gatineau. The kitchen there was the size of my office now.” This is his second time competing at CGKP, placing silver last year. “I’m excited,” he says. “Last year was awesome and I am better prepared this year. I’m going with duck from Four Whistle Farm, a play on spice, paired with a wine from Dirty Laundry.

Levi Biddlecombe

Levi Biddlecombe, Why Not Café & Bar
Levi’s experience includes a food truck and an appearance on Chopped Canada before opening the eclectic Why Not Café. This is his third time competing. “I’m sick of not being on the podium,” he says. “This year I really want to nail it, so I’m doing something different with salmon and lime and coconut and pairing it with the Collective Arts Pina Colada Sour. I love to compete. This is the biggest food competition in Edmonton; being part of it is incredible and humbling.”

Scott Downey

Scott Downey, The Butternut Tree
The chef/owner of the Butternut Tree garnered a bronze last year, his first time at Kitchen Party. “I’m really excited. We have a better idea of what happens now. We are ready. We’re planning to push the boundaries this year with tuna and hemp, pairing it with Little Engine’s 2016 Chardonnay, such a great wine.”

JP Dublado

JP Dublado, SC at the River Cree
JP is a SAIT graduate who competed as part of the River Café team and also helped chef Jinhee Lee in Calgary the year she took gold at the CCC. JP has been with SC for almost a year and became chef de cuisine a few months ago. “I haven’t decided yet on the final dish, but it will be luxurious and rich. We’ll pair it with Howling Bluff Sauvignon Blanc Semillon blend.

Eric Hanson

Eric Hanson, Prairie Noodle Shop
Chef Eric Hansen took bronze at the Canadian Culinary championships in 2017. Now he’s back, ready to compete again. “I have just about decided; it’ll be either sparkling rosé with lobster or Pinot Noir with salmon. It all depends on the wine.”

Ryan Hotchkiss

Ryan Hotchkiss, Bündok
A St. Albert native, Ryan moved to Whistler shortly after high school where his culinary career began in the same place where so many cooks start—in the dish pit. Ryan gained experience at several good restaurants including Jack’s Grill and Bar Bricco before opening Bündok in early 2017. He was the bronze medallist in his first foray to Gold Medal Plates.

“We are making a modern version of an old English dish with lamb liver, kidney and leeks,” says Ryan. “For the pastry we are making our own butter and pairing the dish with a Meritage. I’m relaxed and excited. This is my third time competing—it has a different feel this year. We have some new guys on the team and they are champing at the bit.”

Doreen Prei

Doreen Prei, Zinc
Fans know Doreen from her weekly stint on CBC Radio or from Get Cooking or the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald. Now, she’s back in the kitchen at Zinc as the executive chef, and back to competing at the Kitchen Party. She is a fierce competitor, taking a silver and gold in her previous competitions. She’s keeping mum about her dish and pairing—you know it’s going to be a contender.

Medi Tabtoub

Medi Tabtoub, Vivo Windermere
Medi’s food journey started with training in Paris. After moving to Vancouver with his Canadian wife, Medi worked at Blue Water Cafe and Hawksworth. He moved to Edmonton to be closer to family and explore all the opportunities that a rapidly growing city has to offer.

Last year he narrowly missed the podium in an extremely close finish. “I’m a bit nervous,” he says, “I want to do well. “For sure it will be a red wine but not sure which Okanagan wine yet. Thinking it’s going to be duck, a classic French dish, but deconstructed.”

Spencer Thompson

Spencer Thompson, The Marc
A NAIT culinary grad, Spencer credits his apprenticeship with Sonny Sung of the Sorrentino’s Group for teaching the precision needed for high-level cooking. He has worked in several kitchens around town and ran his own restaurant and catering company, before taking over the exec chef position at The Marc. While a teenager, Spencer spent a season cooking at a summer camp—meals for 80 people, three times a day plus snacks. And he did all the dishes. That early experience may come in handy for the 700 plus guests on October 10. This is his first Kitchen Party Competition.

“I visited Clos de Soleil a few years back and fell in love, says Spencer. “I have chosen their Fumé Blanc, so balanced and crisp, super nice with the sweetbreads. Yes, we’ll be the crazy ones pan-searing for 700.”