Edmonton chef celebrates culinary success as top 3 cook in Canada

An Edmonton chef has returned home a national champion.

Executive chef Serge Belair of the Edmonton Convention Centre (ECC) took third place at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Ottawa. 

His team headed to the competition after winning the Great Canadian Kitchen Party, which was held on his home turf at the ECC, with a dessert made alongside his executive pastry chef Jason Wang.

Belair was the only chef out of the nine to compete to represent a convention centre. He took bronze, with gold going to Ottawa chef Briana Kim and silver awarded to Vancouver’s Bobby Milheron.

For the first part of the competition, Belair and his team were tasked with planning, shopping and cooking for 300 guests with a 10-hour time limit and a budget of two dollars per diner.

They accomplished the feat with a pâté en croute with pickled beet puree and winter greens. It’s a complicated dish that normally takes several days to make, Belair said.

In the end, a sweeter offering is what helped the team surge ahead and Belair became the first chef in 14 years to make it to the podium with a dessert.

The winning offering was a warm chocolate cake, paired with pear, gorgonzola ice cream, white wine sabayon and a citrus pear macaron. To garnish the dish, Belair brought some locally sourced sorrel from Strathcona Microgreens.

“It’s an honour to represent Edmonton and our local producers on a national stage at a competition of this calibre,” Belair said. “Competing among the best chefs in the country is an important opportunity to showcase the innovation of our venue while pursuing the highest degree of culinary excellence.”

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