Guelph’s Good Food Innovation Award 2012
The University of Guelph created the Good Food Innovation Award to honour food professionals from across the country who strive to provide innovative menu solutions based on Canadian ingredients. There are chefs and restaurants that are the virtual homesteaders of Canadian cuisine. In their evolution, they’ve traveled down different culinary pathways on extraordinary journeys that have led the way for others. They have created milestones. They have created history.
The menus were judged on Canadian content, creativity and clarity. Judges also looked for innovation in the use of ingredients and sustainability in the choice of those ingredients.
Taking Gold for the second year in a row is Sooke Harbour House (right) on Vancouver Island. For years this restaurant and its creative owners, Frederique and Sinclair Philip have dug deep into the culinary soul of the Pacific Northwest to effectively set the bar as high as any restaurant in North America. From their signature flower blossom salad with wild nodding onions and fireweed dressing or the organic quail stuffed with smoked pig tail and served with chickweed through to marvelously creative desserts like tuberous begonia mousse on raspberry sponge cake with slow roasted Sooke Harbour House plums, their Food Day Canada menu drew rave reviews from guests and judges alike.
Silver was claimed by Chefs Charles Part and Jennifer Warren-Part of Restaurant Les Fougères, named after the fiddlehead ferns that flourish in the forests around Chelsea, Quebec. Charles and Jennifer are renowned for their brilliant interpretation of the ingredients of their part of the Laurentians near Ottawa. They constantly insist that their menus are absolutely dependent upon the quality of the foodstuffs regionally available to them from bison and cheeses to maple and duck.
The Bronze Award goes to another Quebecer, Chef Nancy Hinton of Les Jardins Sauvages (right). Her specialty is foods of the wilderness on and around the farm she and her partner François Brouillard own/operate north east of Montreal. Their intelligent menu for Journée des terroirs was a culinary chronicle that was at once creative and very adventurous.
It’s a nice problem to have but the quality of the 2012 menus was astounding!
We will be giving some VERY Honorable Mentions to Chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar in Kelowna, British Columbia and Chef Alex Haun of Savour Restaurant in Chamcook, New Brunswick; Sal Howell and her team at Calgary’s legendary River Café; Chef Hamid Salimian from Diva at the Met in Vancouver; the inimitable Chef Roary MacPherson of the Sheraton, St. John’s; and Chef Ken Hodgins of Envers in Morriston, Ontario. And check out those of Quebec’s gorgeous Jardins de Métis; King Pacific Lodge, an award winning floating, luxury fishing lodge in north coastal B.C. and Whistler’s Araxi led by the inspired Chef James Walt.
The University of Guelph, a proud Charter Member of Food Day Canada®, is ranked as Canada’s most inventive university or one of the nation’s top comprehensive universities because of their commitment to student learning and innovative research. It is dedicated to cultivating the essentials for our quality of life – water, food, environment, animal and human health, community, commerce, culture and learning. The University community also shares a profound sense of social responsibility, an obligation to address global issues and a concern for international development.