For the second year in a row, a Red River College grad has taken the top prize at an annual competition showcasing the local culinary scene’s best and brightest.
Chef Mike Robins (Culinary Arts, 2010), of Osborne Village eatery Sous Sol, claimed the prime podium spot at this year’s Gold Medal Plates competition in Winnipeg. He now advances to the Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna.
Robins edged out the competition with a perfectly seared scallop dish that judges described as “so simple [and] so delicious” — though they went on to concede the rest of the elements on his plate were anything but basic.
“Headlining in terms of umami-saturated flavour was a superb sauce — a beurre blanc made from a dashi broth and enriched with miso, [Robins’] homemade Dijon-style mustard, lemon, wine, and the liquor from the raw scallops,” reads a rave posted to the event’s blog site.
“Button-sized slices of zucchini, pickled in apple cider and cider vinegar flavoured with turmeric and mustard, stood upon dots of puréed carrot. A half teaspoonful of pickled mustard seed was carefully judged — not too tangy — while fresh dill fronds and a cool herb oil made with sorrel, dill and chives brought a little chlorophyll to the party.
[Mike Robins' seared scallop dish] “Potato also featured, but in a most unexpected way. They had been put through a Chinese turning slicer, emerging like string, which [Robins] dyed black with cuttlefish ink, wrapped around a cannoli tube and then deep-fried into crispy spirals.”
Each year in cities across the country, Gold Medal Plates regional events find chefs battling each other and the clock — with just 90 minutes to prepare and serve their culinary creations to a crowd of 600.
Dishes are then judged by a panel of food critics and culinary experts. This year’s judges included RRC’s Jeff Gill (Director, Food Services), former College staffer and MasterChef Canada contestant Mike Green, and last year’s regional winner, Culinary Arts alum Jeremy Friesen, of Pizzeria Gusto.
The events also double as a fundraiser for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports the technical, scientific, medical and coaching needs of Canada’s athletes.
The national competition takes place Feb. 2 and 3, 2018.