Canada’s Great Kitchen Party Rocks the House in Saskatoon
Canada’s Great Kitchen Party is an evening that showcases Canadian talent in music, sports and food — all in one place — and the party came to the Prairies on Saturday, October 27. This popular hybrid event benefits young Canadians aiming to be extraordinary in the fields of music, athletics and the culinary arts.
Canadian television and radio personality George Stroumboulopoulos hosted the packed evening at TCU Place in Saskatoon. The event also featured Canadian multi-Juno award winner and Canadian Music Hall of Fame recipient Jim Cuddy with special musical guests.
A Culinary Competition… and Some Brew, Too
Eight Saskatoon chefs and their teams competed for medals during the first half of the evening. The culinary winners were Christopher Hill of Taste Restaurant Group with Gold, Jonathan Harris of Shift/Oliver & Bonacini with Silver, and Jenni Schrenk of Chef Jenni Cuisine with Bronze.
Chef Hill will continue to compete at the national finals — the Canadian Culinary Championships — in Kelowna, BC in early February. Dishes were judged on visual presentation, texture, technical achievement, taste, wine compatibility and overall “wow” factor.
Chef Hill’s dish featured confit duck leg, wild boar sausage, aerated foie gras, parsnip, beetroot, morel, cabbage, sour cherry, birch syrup salsify bark and juniper jus. He paired it with a 2017 Pinot Noir from Meyers Family Vineyard in the Okanagan Valley, BC. Taste Restaurant Group includes the delicious Saskatoon restaurants UNA Pizza + Wine, Picaro and Bar Gusto.
The evening’s Silver winner Chef Harris chose pork zampone with chillies and blood sausage, mustard and miso as his dish. His wine pairing was a Domaine Queylus 2011 Cabernet Franc from the Niagara Peninsula, Ontario. With stunning views, Shift restaurant is in Saskatoon’s Remai Modern museum of modern and contemporary art. “I’m from Quebec, my wife is from Korea and the Oliver & Bonacini group has an Italian flair. We’ve lived in seven places in seven years, so this dish is inspired by those influences and our travels. I’m really excited to be here tonight!” says Chef Harris. (Refined spoke with Chef Harris before the evening’s winners were announced).
Madeline Conn and brew master Daniel Rommens were at the event representing the Saskatoon brewery High Key Brewing Co. Madeline was raised in Saskatoon, and while training for a job in Dallas, Texas, she was drawn to its craft beer culture. She went on to open High Key Brewing on Quebec Avenue in January 2018. The pair were serving Johnny Kolsch Ale, White off the Hop IPA and Jolly Roger Irish Red Ale. “It’s terrific to be here tonight in the New Brewery Showcase, and to see all the food and drink pairings. It’s a really fun evening!” added Madeline.
Past & Future Olympians Come Out to Celebrate
“It’s such a wonderful feeling to be in the same room as these inspiring athletes, chefs, musicians and the Canadian wineries and breweries. Together they have created this amazing evening that celebrates Canadian excellence,” said attendee Marnie McBean. Marnie is a retired Canadian rower and a three-time Olympics gold medallist at the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
Kirk Muyres is a Saskatoon-based curler and a former Canadian junior curling champion. He has competed four times at the Brier, the Canadian men's curling championship. Kirk hopes to compete on the Canadian team at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing on a four-person men’s team or a mixed doubles team. “It’s great to be here tonight representing Canadian athletes and to try all the food,” said Kirk.
Event Beneficiaries: The Best Things Come in Threes
The three chosen beneficiaries for this year’s Great Kitchen Party were B2ten for sport, MusiCounts for music and Community Food Centres Canada for food. A big part of the evening is the auction for deluxe trips to places such as Mallorca, Spain, Napa Valley wine region and Tuscany.
B2ten contributes to amateur sports with a business-based approach to developing Canadian elite athletes. MusiCounts is Canada’s music education charity and is affiliated with the JUNO Awards. The organization puts musical instruments into the hands of children who need them the most. Community Food Centres Canada builds health and a sense of belonging in low-income communities across the country.
Blair Chapman is co-chair of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party – Saskatoon 2018. “It’s great to be able to see that some of the support tonight helps our athletes on the international stage, that students at Mayfair Community School will now have access to new musical instruments, and that youth at the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre will be able to participate in the Kitchen Mentor program. The youth in our region deserve to have music in their lives and have secure healthy food access.”
Find out more about events across Canada at greatkitchenparty.com.
Photos courtesy Canada’s Great Kitchen Party