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Turning up the Heat at the 2024 Canadian Culinary Championship

By Sarah Israel/

Ten chefs, three high-octane challenges, and one title at stake – the Canadian Culinary Championship is like an episode of Iron Chef turned up to 11! 

Canada’s Great Kitchen Party: Promoting Canadian Excellence

Canada’s Great Kitchen Party (KP) has been building a more inclusive Canada for nearly two decades. They celebrate Canadian culture and raise funds for Canadian youth through music, sport, wine, and of course – food!

The Canadian Culinary Championship 2024: 10 Chefs, 3 Challenges, 1 Winner

Every year, CGKP hosts the Canadian Culinary Championship. This annual fundraising event is the country’s premier national culinary competition. 

The ten Canadian Culinary Championship 2024 chef contenders stand outside in their tan aprons. Canada's Parliement Hill in Ottawa is visible in the background.
The ten Canadian Culinary Championship 2024 chef contenders represent their home provinces and territories proudly!

Regional events took place across the country ahead of this year's national competition. Ten of Canada’s best chefs emerged triumphant:

1. Calgary: Rupert Garcia, Hawthorn at The Fairmont Palliser
2. Edmonton: JP Dublado, Red Deer Resort and Casino (Red Deer, AB)
3. Montreal: Thomas Deschamps, Les Têtes Brûlées (Mascouche, QC)
4. Newfoundland: Kyle Puddester, Fork (Mobile, NL)
5. Okanagan: Neil Taylor, Home Block at CedarCreek Estate Winery (Kelowna, BC)
6. Ottawa: Raghav Chaudhary, Aiana
7. Saskatoon: Garrett Thienes, Harvest Eatery (Shaunavon, SK)
8. Toronto: Frank Parhizgar, FK
9. Vancouver: Jasper Cruickshank, Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar (Whistler, BC)
10. Winnipeg: Kristopher Kurus, deer + almond

The Canadian Culinary Championship Challenges

Our ten regional champions traveled to Ottawa in February 2024 to compete for the title of Canadian Culinary Champion. These incredible chefs faced a series of gruelling tests of their skills and creativity. Here’s how it all went down.

The Mystery Wine Pairing Challenge

Chefs each received $550 to purchase all the ingredients needed to create a dish for 250 guests (and nine discerning judges!) that paired perfectly with the flavour profile of the mystery wine. More on this below!

The Black Box Competition

Each chef received a box full of mystery ingredients selected by the judges and were given an hour to produce and plate two spectacular dishes.

This year’s black box included sake lees from Artisan SakeMaker (a paste-like by-product of sake production); chicories from Gaetan Cyr; the last of the season’s sunchokes; whole grain farro from Flourist; soft lactic bloomy rind Le Figaro cheese from Glengarry Fine Cheese; Greenland Halibut from Baffin Fisheries; and last but not least, tender duck tongues from Mariposa Farm.

The Grand Finale

On the last evening of competition, chefs were given carte blanche to plate their signature dish for the judges and attendees. The sold-out crowd was treated to a symphony of flavours on the road to crowning a champion.

The Canadian Culinary Championship Medalists

After a thrilling weekend of creative cooking, three chefs took home medals and bragging rights!

The Canadian Culinary Championship 2024 medalists pose on the podium with their medals and trophies.
From left to right: Chef Rupert Garcia, Chef Jasper Cruickshank, and Chef JP Dublado.


Third place overall went to the chef representing Edmonton: Chef JP Dublado from Red Deer Resort and Casino in Red Deer, Alberta. 

Dublado put his Filipino heritage on display with a trio of beautifully-presented components, including Hokkaido scallop kinilaw (often referred to as “Filipino ceviche”). He also plated a delicate red beet tartelette with corn and foie gras crémeux and a perfect BC sablefish and scallop mousse, all tied together with a corn miso sauce. 

Dublado paired his dish with Frind Estate Winery’s 2020 Chardonnay. He also picked up the People’s Choice Award during the Mystery Wine pairing competition, proving that his wine-pairing skills are unparalleled.

The culinary world brings people together, and our time at the Championship exemplifies the spirit of collaboration, passion, and excellence. My experience of connecting with chefs from across Canada, sharing camaraderie, and forming lasting friendships is incredibly special. Here’s to many more memorable moments in our culinary journey.

— Chef Dublado


This year’s runner-up was also from Alberta! Chef Rupert Garcia from Hawthorn at The Fairmont Palliser in Calgary built a dish to complement the flavours of his wine pairing, Monte Creek Winery’s 2021 Hands Up Red. Garcia’s “Steelhead Trout Textures” included nori-cured BC trout, applewood-smoked caviar and a brandade of confit belly. Every component on the plate brought out new flavours in the wine for an ever-evolving dining experience. 

Chef Garcia had kind words about his experience at the Canadian Culinary Championship:

The camaraderie amongst the chefs and the support was incredible.  Such a great group of people.  I hope I get an opportunity to go for GOLD next time.

— Chef Garcia


This year, the Canadian Culinary Champion title went to Chef Jasper Cruickshank (representing Vancouver) from Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar in Whistler, British Columbia!

Cruickshank selected a Roche Wines 2021 Tradition Pinot Gris as the pairing for his “Wild BC Experience” dish, which included side stripe shrimp terrine, feuille de brick tartelette with poached Dungeness crab and crab espuma, and a wakame leek crisp. The judges were impressed by the minimalist presentation that belied big, phenomenal flavours.

Winning this title proves to me that hard work, dedication, perseverance and having a dream can take you anywhere. I had a great time with everyone involved with the Championship. I’ve come home with long-lasting friendships with my fellow competitors and everyone involved. I want to continue to grow as a mentor and chef.

— Chef Cruickshank

Canadian Culinary Champion Chef Jasper Cruickshank plates a dish during the Mystery Wine Pairing Challenge.
Canadian Culinary Champion Chef Jasper Cruickshank plates a dish during the Mystery Wine Pairing Challenge.

The Canadian Culinary Championship: A Celebration of Local Wines

The Mystery Wine: Lailey Vineyard Zweigelt

One of the most intriguing parts of the Canadian Culinary Championship is the Mystery Wine Pairing Challenge, which puts every contestant’s palate to the test. Chefs were given a chance to taste and analyse the wine (in this case, a bold and complex red) before setting out to create a dish for 250 guests on a $550 budget. 

A bottle of the 2024 mystery wine selection, the Lailey Vineyard Zweigelt

At the end of the competition, it was revealed that National Wine Advisor, David Lawrason, had selected a rare Zweigelt from Lailey Vineyard in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Only a handful of participants were able to identify this Austrian variety of grape, but every chef put forth wonderful dishes to pair with the wine’s fruit-driven profile. 

The mystery wine dish competition was the most enjoyable part of the competition. Shopping, prepping with the students and serving 250 guests all in the same day was an incredible achievement by all the chefs. Seeing the guests enjoy the dish and receiving such good feedback made the day feel even more special.

— Chef Taylor, Home Block at CedarCreek Estate Winery, Okanagan, BC

Best Overall: Rosehall Run Wineries St. Cindy Pinot Noir

A bottle of the 2024 Wine of the Year, Rosehall Run Wineries St Cindy Pinot Noir

The Canadian Culinary Championship includes a wine competition that runs concurrently with the culinary challenges. Wineries from across the country provided each regional competition with bottles of their very best vintages for judging. The local judges sampled a total 110 wines in the lead-up to the Championship and selected 30 to advance to the final judging.

Over the course of two days, the Canadian Culinary Championship wine panel sampled 30 wines over two days, including many from promising new wineries in Niagara and beyond. After much deliberation, judges selected the 2020 St. Cindy Pinot Noir by Rosehall Run Wineries in Prince Edward County, ON. as the 2024 Wine of the Year. Congratulations to winemaker Dan Sullivan and the Rosehall Run team!

Looking Forward to the 2025 Canadian Culinary Championship

The Canadian Culinary Championship brings together chefs from across the country for an incredible weekend of culinary excellence. This year’s cohort raved about the warm atmosphere and feeling of camaraderie! 

The level of culinary talent on display here this weekend was phenomenal. Not only was the food absolutely brilliant, at this level that’s almost a given, but the integrity, camaraderie and passion displayed by these chefs, even under the most intense pressure, was inspiring.

— Chris Johns, Head Judge and National Culinary Advisor, KP

Want to check out a future Canadian Culinary Championship event? Save the date for the regional qualifiers and 2025 championship:

  • Ottawa – Wednesday, September 25, 2024
  • Montreal – Friday, October 4, 2024
  • Edmonton – Thursday, October 10, 2024
  • St John’s – Thursday, October 17, 2024
  • Saskatoon – Thursday, October 24, 2024
  • Winnipeg – Monday, October 28, 2024
  • Toronto – Wednesday, November 13, 2024
  • Calgary – Thursday, November 21, 2024
  • Vancouver – Date to be announced
  • Moncton – Date to be announced
  • Canadian Culinary Championship, Ottawa – January 31 & February 1, 2025