Meet the 2015 Gold Medal Plates Contenders

Steve Buzak
Steve Buzak (Royal Glenora Club) says, “The competition is looking tough— we’ll have to bring our A game. We want to be out of the box, to be innovative, to go in a direction not many have gone before. We’re going for the gold.”
Nathin Bye
Nathin Bye (Ampersand 27) is not only a gold medalist, he is a staunch supporter of Gold Medal Plates, having donated dinners every year. “I love the event and am excited to be participating. It’s great for team building. My approach is perhaps not as avant-garde this time— it’s more familiar things served in a different way. I’m thinking vegetarian so far, maybe red bean, coconut, mushroom, cheese, paired with an unusual wine, Stoneboat Pintotage.”
Andrew Cowan
“It’s an exciting opportunity to be able to compete to show what I can do,” says Andrew Cowan (Pack Rat Louie). “I haven’t quite finalized the dish, thinking a play on fried chicken or maybe charcuterie. Whatever I do I want it to be spectacular because I want to win.”
Bryan Cruz
First time competitor Bryan Cruz (The Marc Restaurant) is “testing a few things here and there, nothing solid quite yet,” he says. But they will be working with Arctic Char and Ungava gin.
Corey McGuire
What is he making? “Definitely pork, a sexy pork dish,” says Corey McGuire (Tzin Wine and Tapas). “It’ll be a challenge to see what we can do out of this tiny kitchen; we’ll have to get creative with organization. The event is a lot of fun and a good cause and a good showcase too. It’s great to get feedback from so many people at once and it gives us a night off from service.”
Lindsay Porter
Chef Porter (El Cortez) nabbed the bronze on her first trip to Gold Medal Plates last year. This year? “I’m taking a different route, working with a whisky, Callingwood Rye, and the dish will be Latin-inspired. Haven’t quite decided
on the protein yet— maybe black cod? It’s pretty stiff competition— I’ll try my hardest and I’m more than happy to take part.”
Cory Rakowski
Cory Rakowski (12 Acres) has worked behind the scenes eight times regionally and once nationally. This is his first year heading a team. “ I learned as much as I could while competing with others. It’ll be great to engineer the dish from the beginning. We want to showcase our animals from the farm so are thinking a beef dish with a lot of textural differences and Saskatoon berries. It’s Alberta on the plate.”
Joe Srahulek
“We’re thinking scallops and chicken liver and Bartier Brothers Syrah,” says Joe Srahulek (La Ronde, Chateau Lacombe).
“This is a great opportunity to raise money for the athletes. It’s great for morale. Our team is excited and a bit anxious—it is a daunting effort, but they’re pretty jazzed; it gives everybody a chance to be part of something big.”
Paul Shufelt
This is veteran competitor Paul Shufelt’s (Workplace Eatery) first time competing as an owner/operator. “My big question for the past few weeks was ‘will my restaurant be open in time?’ This field is fierce with past winners and some new young talent. My dish is coming together in my mind with probably some beets and Chinook salmon involved.”
Jan Trittenbach
Jan Trittenbach (Solstice Seasonal Cuisine) the gold medal winner in 201l, returns to competition this year. “I’m excited to be back. We are working with Sandhill Winery and I’m flip-flopping between hot and cold. I have never done a cold dish. This competition does something for sport and for cooking — it’s my favourite competition. We are a small restaurant and this is a good way to showcase it.”