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Calgary chef wins gold at Culinary Championships

After a couple days of competition in the kitchen, a new Canadian Culinary Champion has been crowned.

Chef Jinhee Lee, from Calgary, put herself on top of the podium with her final dish on Saturday, “Cha Ca La Vong”.

The dish featured turmeric fish mosaic with dill and it was paired with the Bartier Brothers 2014 Gewurztraminer, which proved to be a winning combination.

“This is such an honour, I’m so shocked and proud,” said Lee after being named champion. “I’m so happy to win and thankful for my team.”

Lee took home a two-year lease of a BMW 435i xDrive Gran Coupe for her work over the two days.

Chef Joe Thottungal, from Ottawa, and Chef Eric Hanson, from Edmonton, came second and third respectively.

The Canadian Culinary Championships began on Friday evening with the Mystery Wine Competition, where chefs had to prepare a dish that paired with a bottle of wine they were surprised with on that day.

That was followed up by the Black Box Challenge early on Saturday, where all chefs had one hour to prepare a dish using all the ingredients they found in their black box.

Finally it was the Grand Finale event at the Delta Grand Okanagan on Saturday night, where Lee rose above the rest to take home the gold medal.

On the wine side of the competition, best in show went to the Sea Star 2015 Blac de Noir Rose from Sea Star Vineyards on Pender Island.

“This has been a great weekend, I’m proud to see the chefs putting their hearts into their work,” explained Brian Stemmle, the emcee from Saturday’s Grand Finale event. “You could feel the energy in the room!”

The Canadian Culinary Championships will be held annually in Kelowna until at least 2020.

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