The University of Guelph Culinary Innovation Award 2010

The University of Guelph Innovation Award is presented to restaurants from across Canada that approach food in a new and exciting manner with a particular emphasis on creativity and innovation.

A menu design might solve a problem, add unusual flare to a traditionally prepared dish or perhaps highlight an original technique. Innovation can include one ingredient in a menu, or several menu items.This award is a great testament to Canadian chefs who are always pressing the limits of food preparation and culinary arts through bold innovation and comes with its own menu of prizes from which the winning chefs/restaurants made a selection.The Judging Panel chose the top three restaurants unanimously.

Claiming Gold is Restaurant DNA of Montreal. Chef Derek Damman harvested their own rich region as well as Canada for ingredients to create dishes such as Gereli Farms Veal Heart Tartare which he served with Ste-Beatrix pepper, foie gras and ciccioli brioche.  From Ling Cod baked in organic hay to pigs blood that thickened the Panna Cotta,  Chef Damman honoured not only innovation but tradition is his exceedingly creative menu.   Next spring Derek and his DNA partner Alex Cruz will enjoy a personally guided tour of all the University of Guelph has to offer from the high tech labs to its research stations and it’s culinary book collection.

The Silver Award for Innovation is Chef Nancy Hinton of Les Jardins Sauvages. Her menu exclusively used the foraged foods of the region around the farm.  Northern cold water shrimp were served with wild ginger and seaweed while local venison was paired with wild mushrooms and cattail flour quenelles.  In the new year, Chef Hinton will have the opportunity to spend some valuable one on one time with a University of Guelph researcher or at the Guelph Food Technology Centre to help her develop a personal innovation that could become market ready.

Bacalao’s creative culinary pair, Andrea Maunder and Mike Barsky, claims the Bronze Award for Innovation who also picked up a Silver in the Hyper-Local category. Their ingredients descriptions when far beyond any other Food Day restaurant and brought Newfoundland & Labrador to their lucky diners, from Snow Crab Spring Rolls to Lady of the Woods Wine-laced Crème Brulee.   As their University of Guelph prize, Andrea and Mike chose to work with Ontario’s top tomato breeder to develop their own special tomato with key characteristics that will translate into fabulous food for years to come.   Their Bacalao tomato will be ready for harvest sometime later in 2011.

Food Day Innovation Kudos also go to RauDZ Regional Table, Kelowna, B.C.; Juniper Kitchen and Wine Bar, Ottawa; Klondike Kate’s, Dawson City, Yukon; Les Fougeres, Chelsea, Quebec; the Inn at Bay Fortune, Bay Fortune, P.E.I.; Rossmount Inn, St. Andrews, New Brunswick; CharCut, Calgary, Alberta; Langdon Hall Country House Hotel & Spa, Cambridge, Ontario and Sooke Harbour House, Sooke, B.C.

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