Chef Nathin Bye puts the final touches on his dishes at the Black Box competition of the Canadian Culinary Championship at Okanagan College on Saturday.
The 10 chefs at the Black Box competition of the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna had only 10 minutes to decide.
Those were just some of the surprise ingredients in the second round of the competition that took place on Saturday morning at Okanagan College.
"The chefs were called into the kitchen one by one in random order and presented with a box with six ingredients, which the judges from across Canada have put together," said Lisa Pasin, event manager of the Canadian Culinary Championships.
"Each chef was allowed to take one sous chef into the kitchen with them and given 10 minutes to decide what two dishes they wanted to plate for the 12 judges. Then they had one hour to prepare it all."
The other ingredients were ground red fife wheat and two ingredients from the Okanagan: goat Gruyere from Carmelis Goat Cheese and Hazeldell Orchards pears.
"There were a couple of things I was surprised by how well they went together," said Marc St. Jacques, chef from Auberge du Pommier in Toronto.
"I thought it was a very interesting choice of meat," he said.
Spectators in the kitchen cheered on the chefs as they plated dishes before their time was up. The element of surprise and high-pressure atmosphere in the kitchen led to this competition being compared to the television show Iron Chef.
"It is one of the hardest competitions across Canada and one of the only in Canada where you invite chefs from across the country. It's a pretty amazing experience for the chefs," said Pasin.
"I'm happy with how everything went. I think it's a great venue with good space and good cooking," said chef Nathin Bye from the Wildflower Grill in Edmonton.
The competition is also a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation's Own the Podium program.
Over the nine years the championships have been held, $7.2 million has been donated to help Olympic athletes with everything from training to nutrition.
Round 1 was held at the Mystery Wine Pairing event at the Hotel Eldorado on Friday. The winning chef was to be chosen at the grand dinale at the Delta Grand hotel on Saturday night.