Meet the Challengers of the Chef to Be Mystery Ingredient Challenge

Six professional chefs build a team including SAIT culinary students to duke it out for glory.



Attendees can watch — and taste — the action of this delectable death match live at Chef to Be.

Photograph provided by Chef to Be

 

The Fine Food stop organizes a yearly competition for professional chefs and tomorrow's food stars alike at the SAIT Culinary Campus entitled Chef to Be. It tasks six local chefs with the mission of building a team of four (the chef, one SAIT student, one alumni and a sous chef of their choice) to create dishes with mystery ingredients only revealed the night of the event.

The event on November 8 has two key goals: to promote exposure and growth for our local dining scene and to raise $5,000 to be disbursed as scholarships to culinary students. A people's choice winner and a judges' choice winner will be chosen to receive $1,000 each while $3,000 is reserved for three equal allotments to other students who have shown excellence in achievement. All awards are dispersed at the end of the school year and are subject to academic standing throughout the year.

Attendees will enjoy a welcome appetizer and Prosecco, 12 different dishes prepared by the competitors (with wine pairings), pastries created by a mystery chef, a silent auction and the chance to watch and vote on the teams. Get to know the chefs leading the teams now with our questionnaire on what they'll be bringing to the table.

 

Dave Bohati, Murrieta's

Dave Bohati, Murrieta's

Photograph Provided by Dave Bohati

Bohati creates West Coast inspired fare at his Stephen Avenue restaurant.

 

What is your superpower/secret weapon in the kitchen?

My secret weapon is probably good salt or patience.

What do your teammates need to do to push your team to the win?

My teammates just need to have fun and do what they love.

What's something that most people don't know about you or would be surprised to learn?

My birth name is Ferenc David Bohati. The name Ferenc is Hungarian and goes back seven generations in my family. 

What can the participating student chefs do to impress you?

Give it their all and smile... and obviously work clean.

 

Sterling Cummings, Bridgette Bar

Sterling Cummings, Bridgette Bar

Photograph by Tamia Lynette

Cummings prepares notched up takes on classic and comfort food at this chic spot on the west end of the Beltline.

 

What is your superpower/secret weapon in the kitchen?

I am very efficient and always find the best ways of getting things done. With that I am very organized and lead by example.

What do your teammates need to do to push your team to the win?

We all need to stay focused, confident and execute the plan we have in place.

What's something that most people don't know about you or would be surprised to learn?

This is a tough one. I feel like I am an open book, but if I had to pick something it would be that I don’t drink hot drinks: no coffee, tea or anything that is hot. 

What can the participating student chefs do to impress you?

Buy in to the food we are doing and be confident and put themselves out there to take risks.

 

Michel Nop, Buffo

Photograph by Cindy La

Nop creates indulgent, classic Italian fare with a twist at Buffo inside CF Chinook Centre.

 

What is your superpower/secret weapon in the kitchen?

I have a very positive energy coming out of me. I work better under pressure and never show that pressure. I absorb that negative energy and bring it out as a positive energy.

What can the participating student chefs do to impress you?

I have total faith in teammates; all they have to do to push the team to win is to cook and taste the food like they do on a regular basis, showcase the passion they have, and have fun in what they do. Happy chefs make happy food.

What's something that most people don't know about you or would be surprised to learn?

Most people don't know that I don't have a Red Seal.

What can the participating student chefs do to impress you?

It’s not about me but about the team, the "bundle of stick." But if you need an answer, I’ll say [they can impress me] by not trying to impress me: if they push themselves — creativity, skills, limits — I’ll be impressed. At the end of the day we, as a team, [are doing this] competition to make [the students] shine.

 

Jessica Pelland, Charbar

Jessica Pelland, Charbar

Photograph by Jared Sych

Pelland creates Argentinian-inspired steak, seafood and more at Charbar in the East Village. She also swings a pretty mean hatchet.

 

What is your superpower/secret weapon in the kitchen?

Fire! I love working with this ever-changing element and finding new ways to cook food over flame.

What do your teammates need to do to push your team to the win?

Work together, listen to each other and support each other for the unique strengths each has to offer.

What's something that most people don't know about you or would be surprised to learn?

I have pet snakes and love them as much as my own children.

What can the participating student chefs do to impress you?

Smile, have fun and show their passion.

 

Landon Schwarz, Royale

Photograph provided by Landon Schwarz

Schwarz prepares cuisine that puts a Canadiana spin on Mediterranean delights, offering dishes from signature poutine to salmon tartare.

 

What is your superpower/secret weapon in the kitchen?

My superpower in my kitchen is my team that rides with me every day. It may sound cliché, but my accomplishments are their accomplishments and vice versa.​

What do your teammates need to do to push your team to the win?

My teammates need to remember who they are within our team in order to come out with the win. Each individual has a role to play and without that role things don’t quite function they way they are supposed to. Constantly chasing perfection is the key to success; if something is already “perfect” then there is nothing to build or improve on.

What's something that most people don't know about you or would be surprised to learn?

Most people don’t know that I play guitar and sing. It’s always been a passion of mine but has taken a back seat to cooking in recent years.

What can the participating student chefs do to impress you?

The participating student chefs will impress me if they put their heads down but still use their senses. Grinding it out comes first in this career (even though you never really stop); but if you prove you can grind then one day you will get the opportunity to be creative. Trust the process.

 

Quinn Staple, Yellow Door Bistro

Quinn Staple, Hotel Arts

Photograph Provided by Quinn Staple

Staple is the executive chef for Hotel Arts and will be representing their esteemed Yellow Door Bistro on the night of Chef to Be.

 

What is your superpower/secret weapon in the kitchen?

I would have to say team work. You can’t produce great food without a dedicated team.

What do your teammates need to do to push your team to the win?

A positive attitude, willingness to try new things, a little skill and of course some luck!

What's something that most people don't know about you or would be surprised to learn?

Although I have been very fortunate in my culinary career and am incredibly passionate about food and hospitality, being a chef wasn’t my first choice as a teenager. I wanted to pursue a career as a golf pro but spent several seasons watching our local professionals try to get their pro card and realized I didn’t want to pursue that anymore. Luckily, my mom was there to remind me I have always been interested in cooking and pushed me to pursue that instead. And here I am now!

What can the participating student chefs do to impress you?

Don’t be overconfident: you can always learn something new, gave a willing attitude —and "please" and "thanks" go a long way, too.

Chef to Be takes place on November 8 at the SAIT Culinary Campus, 226, 230 8 Ave. S.W. Tickets are available at cheftobe.ca

 

Correction: A previous version of the story contained an error regarding scholarship disbursement. It has been updated to correctly state that scholarships will be given out at the end of the academic year and not the night of the event. 

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