Chef Elsier Wins Round Nine

By / Magazine / February 24th, 2012 / 1

Chef Bruno Elsier, executive chef at Toronto French School, won round nine of the new Discovered Culinary Competition. Chef Elsier will join the winners of the first eight rounds to compete in the semi-finals on March 4 – 6, 2012 at the Direct Energy Centre in Toronto.

The Discovered Culinary Competition is a four-month search for the best of Canada’s up-and-coming culinary stars. The winning chef will get the opportunity of a lifetime: an all-expenses-paid trip to spend a week cooking at a Michelin-star restaurant in northern Spain.

In a mystery box challenge, the Discovered Culinary Competition features four Canadian chefs competing against the clock each week to create an appetizer, entrée and dessert. In addition to Chef Elsier, competitors included Claudio Giganti, chef/owner of Giganti Event Planning and Catering in Grimsby; Jorge Delarosa, first cook at Torito Tapas Bar in Toronto; and Deb Rankine, president of the Fridge Whisperer Cookbook Series in Pickering.

The judging panel comprises three local chefs. Last night’s panel included Matt Blondin, chef at Acadia; Daniel Mezzolo, executive chef at Gusto 101; and Luca Stracquadanio, executive chef at La Bettola di Terroni/Osteria Ciceri e Tria, all in Toronto.

The mystery boxes included shrimp, kaffir lime leaves, tomatoes and corn chips for the appetizer round; LiberTerre lamb loin chops, Israeli couscous, eggplant and black olives for the entrée round; and strawberries, basil, mascarpone and balsamic vinegar for dessert. “I usually compete three times a year,” said Chef Elsier. “After 20 years in the business, the bug is still there. Competing gives you an idea of what level you’re at and really, it’s fun.”

For his appetizer, Chef Elsier butterflied the shrimp and coated it with a breading of crumbled corn chips and chopped lime leaves and served it with a cocoa chili mayo. He grilled the lamb with garlic, olive oil and rosemary for the entrée and cooked the couscous with fennel seeds and garlic salt. He served it with grilled eggplant, braised mushrooms and roasted tomatoes, with a julienne of black olives. For dessert, he created a pastry cream using mascarpone, vanilla and buttermilk and macerated the strawberries with balsamic vinegar and basil.

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