CORNWALL, Ontario, Eastern Canada

Seven chefs from IACC-member properties across Canada gathered to compete for the Canadian Copper Skillet at the NAV Centre, where the winners edged one step closer to the International Copper Skillet Competition finale to be held this April 2017 at IACC-Americas Connect.

“The Canadian competition has previously been held in Toronto,” said Ian Bentley, the NAV Centre’s director of conference services and food and beverage. “This year we wanted to represent Cornwall and our region of Canada, though it's a celebration of culinary talent from across the country."

Jessica Neville, chef at NAV Centretook the “Junior Category Canada Copper Skillet Award.” Judges selected Neville for her dish of Asian noodle with duck vegetable stir fry and red wine Tahini paste.

Kent Phillips, executive chef at Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre, took the coveted “Senior Category Copper Skillet Award” for his winning dish of garlic shrimp, duck confit potato hash, sun-dried tomato Brussels sprouts, green apple-gooseberry slaw and quick pickle golden beets.

In the Canadian Copper Skillet competition, the chefs were presented with basic pantry items along with a "mystery basket" of proteins. They were given 30 minutes to prepare, create and present their creations to local area judges. During the cooking stage, event announcer Michael Smith, one of Canada’s best-known chefs, commented on a very important skill some of the competitors were using.

“Watch how many chefs are tasting their food,” Smith said. “We often like to say a cook’s single best tool is their tongue … it’s a basic skill but a skill that’s often overlooked.”