Canada’s best young chefs battled to the bitter (or savoury?) end for the top title.

The pressure was on this past Saturday (Sept. 12), when Canada’s top young chefs went knife-to-knife, vying for the prestige (and paycheque) of the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship champion title. The culinary competition—named for its founder, famed Vancouver chef David Hawksworth—focuses on young, up-and-coming talent from across Canada. Now in its third year, the competition received more than 150 applications nationwide, with only 37 competitors selected to compete in the regional competitions. The cutthroat pool was narrowed further to eight chefs (two from each regional battle), who came together for the challenge at VCC. This year, dishes were critiqued by Chef Mark McEwan, Chef Normand Laprise, Chef Scott Jaeger, and Chef Anthony Walsh, as well as notable food journalists Jacob Richler, Sarah Musgrave, and Alexandra Gill. Competitors were given only 30 minutes to formulate their dishes—which included the "black box" ingredients (kept secret until the last second) squab and lobster—and a dessert, with only two hours to execute their plates. Judging was based not only on plating and taste, but kitchen etiquette and technique—elements that contribute to the sense of professionalism in these young chefs. The $10,000 payout first-place winners receive is second only to the opportunity that the scholarship provides: a culinary internship that allows them to work side-by-side with internationally recognized chefs and restaurants anywhere in the world. View the winning dishes below and take note of the names—they’re Canada's culinary future.

The 2015 Winner
Scholarship founder David Hawksworth with winner Ian MacDougall of Modern Milk Calgary
First Place Dessert
First place winner, Ian MacDougall's dessert dish
Finalist Dish
Finalist Stephen Baidacoff's main course dish
Stunning Dessert Display
Third place winner, Alec Fraser's dessert dish
A Glimpse Inside The Kitchen
Marvin Palomo of Toronto’s Dailo restaurant
A Dish From Vancouver's Own
Vancouver's second finalist Keith Hodgson's dessert offering
Second Place Dessert
Second place winner Cynthia Iaboni's dessert
Calgary Finalist's Dessert
Finalist Marvin Palomo's stunning dessert
Behind The Scenes Look
Sean MacDonald of Calgary's Market restaurant
Vancouver's Second Finalst
Vancouver finalist Kevin Tang's dessert creation
The Winning Dish
Ian MacDougall's winning feature dish
More Kitchen Action
Third place winner Alec Fraser of Montreal's Toque!