If you're interested in competing, judging, or volunteering for the Canadian Food Championships, visit www.canadianfoodchampionships.ca to register.
This July, Edmonton will host the first and only Canadian Food Championships. The competition is being held in conjunction with Taste of Edmonton, Canada's largest food festival. Paul Lucas, the general manager of Events Edmonton is the driving force behind the competition. Lucas says he has noticed a huge shift in the Edmonton food scene in the last four or five years and realized that Taste of Edmonton would be a perfect partner for a major food competition. Events Edmonton secured the Canadian Food Championships franchise from 2015-2017 and Shereen Zink, media co-ordinator for the competition, says that they are looking for cooks of all skills levels. There are "home cooks, professional chefs, and people with no competition experience. A sweet and adorable sixteen-year-old is competing, and she's very excited." Participants can win prize money, bragging rights and a golden pass to the World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida.
The competition itself sounds intense. Cooks have one hour to prepare and plate their dish in a small outdoor kitchen. There are a maximum of twenty cooks in each category, and over $55,000 in prizes. Each category has three winners. Nab the gold and you get a cheque for $2,500, a ticket to Kissimmee and a $1,500 travel voucher. Second place receives $1,000 and a ticket to the World's, and the bronze winner gets $500. Not bad for an hour's work. Whether you choose to compete in bacon, burger, chili, pasta, dessert, sandwich, or seafood you'll find the perfect category for your skills. The competitions will be free to the public. Most of the judging spots have been filled, although there are still some vacancies. “The competition gives people an experience they don't usually get to try and it ends up being a really fun thing to watch because we get a lot of characters," says Zink.