Ontario chefs prep for gold at Culinary World Cup

FROM THE RIGHT HAND SIDE: 1. CARL COPP, Retired RCMP, support team, 2. CHEF RYAN MARQUIS, Corporate Chef C W Shasky and Associates,  3. CHEF TONY FERNANDES, Executive Chef/ F&B Director, Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport, Manga Hotel Group,  4. CHEF MIKE DIBIASE, Executive Chef/Owner, Le Grand Chalet,  5. CHEF THUSHARA FERNANDO, Banquet and Garde Manger Chef, Hilton Garden Inn, Vaughan,  6. In the back CHEF PAUL HOAG, Executive Chef, McMaster University,  7. IRENE COPP, Retired Teacher, she is the support team  8. CHEF CHAMINDA PALIHAWADANA, Garde Manger Chef, Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport, Manga Hotel Group.

FROM THE RIGHT HAND SIDE: 1. CARL COPP, Retired RCMP, support team, 2. CHEF RYAN MARQUIS, Corporate Chef C W Shasky and Associates, 3. CHEF TONY FERNANDES, Executive Chef/ F&B Director, Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport, Manga Hotel Group, 4. CHEF MIKE DIBIASE, Executive Chef/Owner, Le Grand Chalet, 5. CHEF THUSHARA FERNANDO, Banquet and Garde Manger Chef, Hilton Garden Inn, Vaughan, 6. In the back CHEF PAUL HOAG, Executive Chef, McMaster University, 7. IRENE COPP, Retired Teacher, she is the support team 8. CHEF CHAMINDA PALIHAWADANA, Garde Manger Chef, Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport, Manga Hotel Group.

TORONTO — Culinary Team Ontario held a fundraising dinner on April 27 to raise money to send the team to the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg this November. Funds also went towards the charity, Engage and Change, to help combat homelessness. All together the dinner raised $21,000.

Guests enjoyed a reception and delicious four-course fine dining menu, prepared by members of Culinary Team Ontario, who have the honour of representing the province at the 'Expogast' Culinary World Cup, to be held November 23-29, 2018 at the Vatel Club in Luxembourg.

The team captain, manager and leader is Tony Fernandes, executive chef at the Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport, and an internationally qualified Level A culinary competition judge.  Tim Overton, general manager of the hotel, calls him “Our Tony Award-Winning Chef.” Another member of the team, Chaminda Palihawadana, also works at the Crowne Plaza. The Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport is owned by Sukhdev Toor of Manga Hotels.

Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport GM Tim Overton.

Crowne Plaza Toronto Airport GM Tim Overton.

Overton told the audience his recipe for a chef who competes internationally. “One part artistic skill, one part organizational skills, one part science, one part math and one part ambition. Put it in the blender. If you want to, leave it a bit lumpy!  Put it on the stove and stir until you get it to the right consistency.”

“… And garnish with a bit of attitude,” added Ryan Marquis, corporate chef at C.W. Shasky & Associates, and team member in charge of Business Development.

Chef Tony Fernandes playing his guitar.

Chef Tony Fernandes playing his guitar.

Chef Fernandes entertained the group by playing guitar and singing John Denver's “Take me Home, Country Roads.”

The team (all volunteers) is comprised of chefs from across Southern Ontario who have exhibited excellence in culinary skills and will represent the province with passion and pride. 

The road to gold begins long before the five-day competition in Luxembourg. From the team selection process, many hours of practice, fundraising events and logistical planning, Culinary Team Ontario is committed and determined to bring home the Gold for Ontario and show that they are a cut above the rest.

Jody Steinhauer of Engage and Change described the homeless people her charity deals with as “people like you and me who have really sh—- luck.” Under Project Winter Survival, they gave out $500,000 worth of supplies to 195 homeless shelters. She noted that help in the summer is even more important as people can die of dehydration. Engage and Change distributed 300,000 bottles of water, plus sunscreen and hats to the homeless.