Inspired by the harvests of B.C.’s land and sea, a group of dynamic chefs will be cooking for gold at the World Culinary Olympics in Germany
Culinary Team British Columbia, a group of dynamic young chefs, is all set to cook for gold at next month’s World Culinary Olympics in Germany.
“This is the youngest Olympic team I have ever worked with, and I am impressed by their dedication and eagerness to learn,” said team manager John Carlo Felicella, a multi-award winning chef with an illustrious career in the realm of international culinary competitions.
The menu to wow the judges at the 2020 IKA World Culinary Olympics that begins on Valentine’s Day in Stuttgart, include farmed B.C. salmon and Gindara sablefish, Alberta Triple-A beef, and an array of produce from micro businesses in British Columbia.
The plates will be primed with purees and wine, broth and vinaigrettes, stews, sauces and sorbets, all created with the bounty of Canada’s land and sea.
“We are proudly British Columbian and we love our local products,” Felicella told SeaWestNews.com, as his team prepped for their trip, where they will vie for honours alongside 2,000 chefs at the world’s largest and oldest culinary competition.
Over the past year, the team has been honing their menu at public and private events all across B.C. with the final practice run slated to be held at the Holt Renfrew’s Colette Grand Café in Vancouver, this week.
Felicella said seasonal availability and sustainability are the key components in the creation of the menu for the Olympics.
“We choose the ingredients that we love, then we develop and hone our menu…after that we approach the companies which have the best products for our creations,” said Felicella.
On their quest for culinary supremacy, the team found that farmed salmon was the best fit for their confit.
“We had been working on this dish for months and B.C. farmed salmon consistently came out on top for this dish…the higher fat content works great in a confit, and it holds its form well in the presentation…collectively, we love working with this fish for easy handling, taste, sustainability and of course, it is always seasonal” said Felicella.
Dismissing claims, that farmed B.C. salmon is inferior to its wild counterparts, Felicella said his team sees nothing wrong with this product.
“Farmed fish is the future, it’s happening everywhere. Did you know almost all the fish served in Europe is farmed?
“In fact, many chefs serve BC farmed salmon, and they love it, they just won’t come out publicly and say it and I don’t know why.
“After this competition, we want to move further with B.C. farmed salmon…we would like to showcase it even more, like in the Luxemburg competition coming up later this year,” he said.
The other seafood the team will be using is Gindara sablefish, farmed in the oceanic waters of Kyuquout Sound off Vancouver Island.
The entry is being described as Miso Glazed SableFish with Ginger Broth, Shrimp Gyoza, Braised Romaine Lettuce with Shiitake Mushrooms, Edamame and Pickled Daikon.
“We love it and we think it represents our region well and so it should be showcased on the culinary world stage,” said Felicella.
“In addition to B.C.’s farmed seafood, all our specialty items will be travelling with us, like the local wines and alcohol we will be using in our dishes.”
Felicella said Team B.C.’s participation in the Olympics will further enhance British Columbia and Canada’s enviable reputation in the culinary world.
“I have worked in a lot of places, in Canada and abroad, and I can say without a moment’s hesitation, we have it together…. Chefs in B.C. love to work together…We are all passionate about our work, and we are all competitive too, but we respect each other and love to work together,” he said.
As for his team, Felicella said: “This is the youngest Regional Olympic team in Canada and they are basically going in to play with the big boys…They are ready…They know what it took to get here, and what it takes to bring home a gold.”
Meet the team
Image Left to Right in stripes: Aaron Hoffman, Heejo Jung, Natasha Norton, Kurt Waddington, and Tina Tang – The management in whites are Chefs JC Felicella and James Hutton