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Hawksworth Young Chefs Competition

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

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.

Scholarship founder David Hawksworth with winner Ian MacDougall of Modern Milk Calgary

First place winner, Ian MacDougall’s dessert dish

Finalist Stephen Baidacoff’s main course dish

Third place winner, Alec Fraser’s dessert dish

Marvin Palomo of Toronto’s Dailo restaurant

Vancouver’s second finalist Keith Hodgson’s dessert offering

Second place winner Cynthia Iaboni’s dessert

Finalist Marvin Palomo’s stunning dessert

Sean MacDonald of Calgary’s Market restaurant

Vancouver finalist Kevin Tang’s dessert creation

Ian MacDougall’s winning feature dish

Third place winner Alec Fraser of Montreal’s Toque!