Ottawa chef Briana Kim on successful the Canadian Culinary Championship

Ottawa chef Briana Kim on successful the Canadian Culinary Championship

The self-taught chef, whose restaurant Alice was ranked fiftieth on final yr’s checklist of Canada’s 100 greatest eating places, talks about her win, her meals, and what lies forward.

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Ottawa chef Briana Kim has taken a novel journey to change into the winner of final weekend’s Canadian Culinary Championship.

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The chef-owner of the acclaimed restaurant Alice is in her late 30s, studied political science on the College of Ottawa, and labored at Well being Canada earlier than turning into a culinary entrepreneur. In 2009, she opened Café My Home, a low-key Financial institution Avenue restaurant that was unabashedly vegan, consistent with Kim’s personal consuming preferences.

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Since then, the self-taught chef’s ambitions and achievements have solely ascended, in a stepwise however unbounded vogue. Café My Home moved to Hintonburg, and its meals turned extra elevated. In 2019, after Kim closed Café My Home and opened Alice, her plant-based menus turned nonetheless extra subtle. That’s as you’ll count on, given Kim’s curiosity within the slicing fringe of elite wonderful eating, which lately prompted her to go to and be taught at world-class eating places Eleven Madison Park in New York and Noma in Copenhagen.

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Kim demonstrated the calibre of her cooking when she received Ottawa’s Gold Medal Plates competitors within the fall of 2017, qualifying to compete months later on the Canadian Culinary Championship in Kelowna, B.C. Kim didn’t make it onto the rostrum that yr. The occasion subsequently moved to Ottawa, enabling Kim to be topped Saturday evening earlier than a hometown crowd on the Shaw Centre.

Beneath, Kim, whose restaurant was ranked fiftieth on final yr’s checklist of Canada’s 100 greatest eating places, provides concise solutions about her win, her meals, and what lies forward.

Q: Going into the competitors, what did you assume have been your probabilities to win or do nicely?

A: I attempted not to consider my probabilities an excessive amount of. As a substitute, I leaned into my very own expertise from 2018 and used the teachings I discovered to organize for the competitors meticulously.

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Q: How vital, from a aggressive standpoint, was it that you simply made the one plant-based dish within the competitors? What do you assume have been the professionals and cons of not making an animal-protein-based dish?

A: I believe our win helps (folks) to know that any elements can change into fascinating and satisfying if the correct methods and layers of flavours are utilized. I’d say creating complexity and umami with plant-based elements could be more difficult than with animal protein.

Q: Of all of the dishes you’ve made at Alice, what makes your Canadian Culinary Championship dish particular?

A: We get the feedback concerning the complexity and uniqueness of flavours most frequently. It’s the software of ferments reminiscent of inexperienced tomato brine, koji, preserved rhubarb and cured maitake mushrooms that makes the dish particular. The nationwide choose James Chatto described it as deeply savoury and magical.

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Q: Is your successful dish on Alice’s menu now?

A: It’s at the moment a part of our Forest Menu for a number of extra weeks till we launch the Cellar Menu in April. Some elements could come again on the menu, however we don’t maintain something on the menu for too lengthy.

Q:  You’re a self-taught chef and also you’ve been resolutely plant-based for years, fairly other than extra typical and carnivorous cooks. Do you’re feeling validated by this weekend’s win?

A: Sure. Not everybody understood the dedication and intentions behind a venture like Alice at first. However we noticed a path and by no means wavered. Once you’re doing one thing totally different, you’re usually confronted with skepticism. However we discovered to make use of it as a motivation.

Q: Do you assume or hope you’ll affect different cooks?

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A: I hope it’s inspiring and inspiring for cooks who’re paving their very own paths.

Q: You’re now one in every of three nationwide culinary champions from the Ottawa space, becoming a member of Yannick LaSalle and Marc Lepine. Is there one thing about Ottawa’s culinary scene that helps champions develop?

A: I believe Ottawa welcomes creativity and distinctive experiences. This enables us to push the boundaries extra and see what’s attainable.

Q: You and Marc Lepine, whose restaurant Atelier is across the nook from Alice, share some frequent pursuits with respect to innovating within the kitchen. How would you describe his affect?

A: I believe chef Marc has impressed plenty of cooks throughout the nation, together with myself, to be curious and modern. It’s inspiring to us to see the fixed innovation from Atelier each menu.

Q: What’s subsequent for you?

A: We hope to construct a fermentation lab within the close to future, and are planning on a fermented juice collaboration with an organization in Copenhagen.

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