Ottawa’s luminaries came out in force last night at the National Arts Centre for some competitive eating at this year’s Gold Medal Plates culinary competition held to raise funds for Canada’s Olympic athletes.
The three day event involves the top chefs in nine major Canadian cities preparing samples of their best main meals along with wine accompaniment to compete for the title of Canada’s best chef.
The Ottawa leg of the competition was attended by an estimated 90 MP’s, media personalities and other Canadian notables. Those in attendance included Conservative Minister of Labour Lisa Raitt, Montreal Liberal MP
Justin Trudeau and former press secretary to Stephen Harper, Dimitri Soudas. The real stars at the event however, were Canada’s former and present day Olympians including figure skater Joannie Rochette, speed skater Tania Vicent and Glenroy Gilbert.
Attendees sampled the culinary delights from Ottawa’s best restaurants including Restaurant E18ghteen, the Courtyard Restaurant, the Zen Kitchen and the Luxe Bistro. Truffles, wild venison, lobster terrine were just some of the taste sensations on offer. Judges of the Ottawa competition were six Ottawa foodies including food writer Anne Desbrisay, Margaret Dickenson and Pam Collacott.
However, the event organized by the Canadian Olympic Committee wasn’t just about Canada’s finest noshing it up. The Gold Medal Plates event in Ottawa and beyond has a serious purpose – to ensure our Olympic athletes have the resources they need to bring home Olympic metal.
Bronze medalist at the Vancouver Winter Olympic games Joannie Rochette said funds raised from the Gold Medal Plates event and the sale of red mittens through the Canadian Olympic Committee, allowed Olympians to
concentrate on what they do best – competing. Although Rochette will not be competing in the next winter Olympics, she emphasized the importance of helping Canada’s next Olympic athletes to succeed.
“We get support from Government but it is not enough to cover all of our expenses,” said Rochette. “The extra funding allows you to have your mind clear. When you are training for the Olympics you don’t want to have to
think too much about your finances. It’s great to have that out of your head.”
Funds raised through previous Gold Medal Plates event helped Rochette offset the expenses associated with hiring a top notch choreographer and figure skating outfits which cost up to $5,000 apiece. “It is especially important to have this funding during the Olympic season. It allowed me to have the best and to feel I had the best,” said Rochette.
Founded in 2004, Gold Medal Plates has so far raised $5 million dollars in funds for Canada’s Olympic athletes. Buoyed by Canada’s incredible success at last year’s Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Winter
Games, Gold Medal Plates hopes to raise more money than ever to send Canada’s finest athletes to the summer Olympics in London 2012 and Sochi winter Olympics in 2014. The main sponsor of the Ottawa event was
Capital Power Corporation – a power generation company which operates across three Canadian provinces. For more information about Gold Medal Plates can be found at www.goldmedalplates.com.