After two days of gruelling competition, Montreal-based chef Mathieu Cloutier bested winning chefs from six other cities to become this year's Gold Medal Plates national champion. Little known outside of Montreal, where he co-owns the restaurant Kitchen Galerie with fellow chef Jean-Philippe St-Denis, Cloutier's previous claim to fame was as the man who created foie gras à la lave-vaiselle, or foie gras cooked in a dishwasher.
Cloutier's playful, exuberant approach may have given him the edge in Vancouver. His winning dish featured a "brussel sprout" that was created by wrapping spinach leaves around a meatball of ground rabbit and foie gras. The main element was a rack of rabbit confit with a foie gras parfait, Chioggia beet chutney and a toasty slice of deep-fried bread.
Toronto chef, David Lee, of Nota Bene restaurant, placed second and Ottawa chef Matthew Carmichael of Restaurant E18hteen took the bronze. Local favourite Rob Feenie was surprisingly shut out.
After a short break, Mr. Cloutier is expected to do the media circuit before returning to his stove (and dishwasher) in Montreal.