Monday, February 9, 2015

Discovered Culinary Competition 2015: Calling All Industry Professionals!

I'm baaaaaaaaack! After a week-long hiatus in sunny Mexico I'm now back home in chilly Toronto (blah!) Before I get back to my usual restaurant write-ups and whatnot, I need to tell you guys about Discovered Culinary Competition 2015 first. In its third year running, the Discovered Culinary Competition (@DiscoveredChefs) held at Nella Cucina gives up-and-coming competitive culinary talents the opportunity to showcase their culinary skills as they work against the clock in a high energy, black box competition (think Food Network's Chopped). All to win the coveted Grand Prize of an all-expenses-paid trip to Spain for a week long stage in a Michelin star restaurant! 

How the Discovered Culinary Competition works:

Start date: February 23, 2015

Each competition will be held at Nella Cucina (876 Bathurst Street, Toronto).
Each competition will be 2 hours long beginning at 7pm and ending at 9pm.

The competition will begin with four contestants. Each contestant will be provided with a basket of mystery ingredients as well as a stocked pantry. Contestants must use only equipment provided by Nella Cucina¸ except for the use of personal knives.  Once the timer begins the contestants will have 20 minutes to prepare an appetizer using all of the mystery ingredients. Each contestant must have a completed plate as the buzzer goes at the 20 minute mark. Whatever is on the plate will be judged by the judges.

The judges will judge each plate using the following criteria: Use of the mystery ingredients, Creativity, Skill, Visual appearance & Taste

After judging, one contestant will be eliminated. The remaining three contestants will then be given another basket of ingredients and 30 minutes to complete an entrée using all of the mystery ingredients. After the entrée judging, one more contestant will be eliminated.
The final two contestants will then be given their final basket of mystery ingredients and a final 20 minutes to prepare a dessert using all their mystery ingredients. After judging the winner of the competition will be revealed.

Starting on February 23, there will be 14 weeks of preliminary challenges where both winners and runner ups will advance from the weekly challenges, resulting in 14 semi-finalists plus two Facebook fan favourites.

A total of 16 semi-finalists will include: 14 ‘Nella Cucina’ winners & 2 Facebook Fan Favourites. These 16 semi-finalist contestants will then move on to the second part of the competition, composed of four semi-final matches resulting in four finalists.

Finalists will compete at Nella Cucina in June 2015 where one winner will be awarded an
all-expenses-paid trip to Spain for a week long stage in a Michelin star restaurant.

Lucky me, I was on the Discovered Culinary Competition 2013 Round 7 judging panel with Rodney Bowers (Owner of Hey Meatball) and Luca Stracquadino (head chef of Ovest Cucina e Vineria). It was such a fun and memorable experience critiquing food alongside two great chefs. And whaddayaknow? I'm back at it this year!

If you are a Canadian chef over the age of 19, I highly suggest you go for the Discovered Culinary Competition. The competition is an amazing opportunity to challenge yourself amongst your peers by putting your skills and creativity to the test. C'mon, you've got nothing to lose, and if all goes well you may be the one going to Spain.

The competition is in two weeks so if you think you have what it takes then click HERE to apply now!

For more information or to apply online, visit the Discovered Chefs Facebook page at For those of you that want to be part of the audience please email  

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