Chef Brianne Nash Becomes Grand Champion
Brianne Nash, head chef at Saucy Restaurant in Mississauga, won the 2012 Discovered Culinary Competition at the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA) Show in Toronto. The Discovered Culinary Competition features Canada’s up-and-coming culinary stars competing against the clock in a mystery box challenge. Chef Nash was eliminated in round 8 of the preliminaries, but later became one of two fan favourites eligible to compete in the semi-finals after receiving the most votes on the competition’s Facebook page.
The grand prize is the opportunity of a lifetime for Chef Nash: an all-expenses-paid trip to spend a week cooking at Casa Gerardo, a Michelin-star restaurant in northern Spain.
Born and raised in Mississauga, Chef Nash studied at Humber College in the culinary apprentice program, graduating in 2009. Her apprenticeship placement led to a full-time job at Saucy Restaurant where she has worked ever since. Two trips to Europe, one as part of her Humber program, convinced her that food and flavour would remain her career path. “The Discovered Culinary Competition has opened my eyes to future career ideas,” said Chef Nash. “It’s made me take risks. I’m ready to keep climbing this ladder I’ve been building.”
Mystery box ingredients
The ingredients the chefs were required to use in each dish were revealed only when they opened the mystery box on the cooking stage. With the clock ticking, they had only a few seconds to come up with a recipe that would “wow” the judges. Appetizer round ingredients: Blood orange, Camembert, prosciutto and white wine. Nash wrapped the prosciutto around asparagus and stuffed it with the Camembert cheese, then served it with a blood orange and white wine butter sauce. Entrée round ingredients: Cilantro, flat iron steak, fresh corn and instant coffee. Nash rubbed instant coffee and grainy mustard into the flat iron steak and created a boiled corn salsa with cilantro, red onion, green pepper, vinegar, salt, pepper and fresh garlic. To go alongside, she made a hash with caramelized onions, potatoes and prosciutto, and added poached asparagus with butter, salt and pepper. Dessert round ingredients: Buttermilk, dried apricots, ground clove and mint. Chef Nash puréed buttermilk with boiled apricots, strawberries, honey and a pinch of the ground cloves. She marinated strawberries, blueberries and sliced dried apricots with honey and ground cloves, and served the whole dessert with a whipped mint and honey cream.
Other competitors in the final round were Dan Craig, chef at Ebo at the Delta in Burnaby, BC; William Serre, cook at Acadia Restaurant in Toronto; and Alejandro Winzer, chef at Ristorante Verdicchio in Sudbury. The final judging panel included Donna Dooher, executive chef/proprietor at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Toronto; Jamie Drummond, sommelier and senior editor at GoodFoodRevolution.com in Toronto; and Eric B. LeVine, a New York chef, caterer and cookbook author.