UPDATE: Chef Carey took home 2nd place and the silver medal during the competition. His winning dish was a toasted peanut and sweet chili pork belly with white kimchi, puffed pork and ginger apricot purée paired with 2013 Martock Select Late Harvest from Avondale Sky Winery in Newport Station. Read more here.
The first time Chef Thomas Carey competed in the Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships it was at the side of celebrity chef, and NSCC grad, Ray Bear. This year, it’s Chef Carey who’ll be headlining a skilled culinary team.
“We won provincially back then, and went on to compete nationally,” says Chef Carey of his first Gold Medal Plates appearance. “The experience I gained and the people I met were incredible. It was inspiring as a young cook, and I’m pleased to be able to bring my class with me this year.”
With his 2nd year students from the restaurant program at his side, Chef Carey will go head-to-head with premier chefs from across the province on October 29th by preparing dishes for over 600 attendees. “I think my biggest competition will be Martin Ruiz Salvador from Fleur de Sel in Lunenburg. He has great flavour and has won this competition before. I’ve actually worked for him, and I know he goes in to win every time.”
High calibre competition
Chef Carey and his students will also cross paths with some familiar faces: NSCC Culinary Arts program grads Chef Bee Choo Char of the Prince George Hotel, and Chef Mark Gray of the Brooklyn Warehouse. “With the amazing culinary program NSCC offers, it is no surprise to see chefs of this calibre competing.”
Those in the know are wondering if Chef Carey’s award-winning Northumberland Seafood Chowder will make an appearance during the event. Just last year, the caviar-garnished delicacy beat out nine other entries allowing the Cape Breton-born chef to become the first-ever Taste of Nova Scotia Chowder Cook-Off Champion.
“The biggest challenge for me was to decide what to cook. It had to be very bright in flavor—a real show stopper,” says Chef Carey who is remaining tight-lipped about what will be on his menu. “My dish won’t be unveiled until the day of the event.”
Chef Carey admits that while winning would be great, it isn’t his only goal. “It’s about executing amazing food with the students from NSCC and supporting our Canadian athletes. Also, I’m always up for a good challenge.”