Tuesday, September 17 2013

Published : Saturday September 14, 2013
Patrick Lacelle
L’Acadie Nouvelle

Dieppe – The water was boiling. Knives were chopping. Barbecue grills were ready. The first Battle of the Grills during which some of the greatest chefs of New Brunswick competed, was intense.

The talent was indisputable for the first culinary competition at the Dieppe Harvest Festival held this weekend.

Saturday, 6 chefs of the Greater Moncton area and elsewhere have demonstrated their expertise in a culinary competition outside the Dieppe Market. Ben Cormier, from Lamèque, won top honors in the competition putting his hand on a cash award of $ 1,000.

Clearly happy to have won the first Battle of the Grills, the young 28-year-old chef admits that the experience has not been easy.

« The outdoor kitchen was a new challenge for me. I competed before, but never like this. To be forced to choose certain ingredients added some difficulty. The caliber of the other chefs was also extremely high. I didn’t expect to win… I just wanted to do my best and make a beautiful presentation. I am very happy with my performance, » said the Acadian who now works in Moncton.

Ben Cormier and his rival, Alexander Haun, began the final round at the same level. A box was given to them two minutes before the start of the competition. Inside was the list of ingredients that they had to use : a live lobster, carrots and squash were required to be the main ingredients in their dish.

Mr. Haun, chef of two restaurants in St Andrews, did everything to meet the challenge, even sending a collegue to look for oysters less than 10 minutes before the end of the competition, but in vain.

« Ben created a beautiful plate. I simply didn’t have it in the finals. Ben threw me to the ground, there is no other way to say it. There are no other chef I would have liked to see win. Me and Ben, we’ve known each other for a long time. This is his first big win and he deserves it, » said the 27-year-old chef.

Chef Emmanuel Charretier (Bistro l’Idylle) was one of the three judges of the event. The dishes created were above expectations. Although recognizing the talent of the 6 chefs who participated in the battle, he argues that Ben Cormier was able to lead from the first round.

« He must have had a vision of what cooking is about. He is fast, quick-witted and he immediately understands what to do. He also works as simply as possible with the products but finding the taste of the ingredient. For example, if working a beet, he does not hide it. He puts it in the foreground.

A festival that is growing

DIEPPE – The Battle of the Grills is Chef Pierre Richard’s idea. It was created to fill a void in New Brunswick. In the absence of such events in the province, Chef Richard approached the organizers of the Dieppe Harvest Festival and the City of Dieppe to try to set up a competition. They agreed.

« There is really no culinary competition in New Brunswick ». This is something that is really fun to do for chefs. The festival committee and the city have liked the idea. So we started to meet to make the event happen, » said the Chef of Little Louis in Moncton.

Extremely pleased with the talented chefs who participated this year, Pierre Richard is already dreaming the 2014 version of the event.

« This is the first edition and we will surely try to bring it to another level next year. We could perhaps send the chefs through the Dieppe Market to find ingredients » said the enthusiastic young chef.

The Battle of the Grills was presented in the fifth Harvest Festival organized by the Really Local Harvest Co-op in collaboration with the City of Dieppe. This culinary competition fits into what made the event, according to the Executive Director of the co-op. Mathieu d’Astous.

« It is growing slowly. It is a festival that is beginning to find its identity. We always wanted to promote local products and producers. We started to take a cullinary turn and with the Chef competition and gourmet picnic, it strengthens it, »said M. d’Astous.

In addition to the competition during the festival, people could participate in tasting meals from local produce prepared by chefs from the region.

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