Thunder Bay’s Top Chef Crowned

Thunder Bay Top Chef 5 Forks Restaurant's John Graham
Thunder Bay Top Chef 5 Forks Restaurant's John Graham
Thunder Bay Top Chef 5 Forks Restaurant's Graham Davis
Thunder Bay Top Chef 5 Forks Restaurant’s Graham Davis

5 Forks Restaurant’s Graham Davis – Thunder Bay’s Top Chef

THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay has crowned Graham Davis from the 5 Forks Restaurant as the Top Chef. If you missed the 3rd Top Chef event, you sure missed one excellent foodie night!

The third top chef certainly raised the bar for future top chef events, all the food was simply top notch.

Top Chef was put on by Sharla Brown and Keynote Events. The event was held in the Victoria Inn Embassy Ballroom. Twelve local restaurants and their chefs were entered to see who would become Thunder Bay’s Top Chef in the third annual competition.

The twelve entries (in no particular order); The Da Vinci Centre,  Beaux Daddy’s, Daytona’s, OLG Casino Getaway Restaurant, The Foundry, Victoria Inn, 5 Forks, Pinetree Catering, Cindy Loohoo’s, Windigo Catering, Runway25, and the Silver Birch Restaurant.

5 Forks Slider - The winning dish
5 Forks Slider – The winning dish

Each participating chef had to create a bite size portion not only for the panel of judges but the 500 guests as well. When you arrived at the Victoria Inn you were greeted in the hallway by Keynote staff, they checked the list and issued you a voucher sheet, on the sheet was one voucher to sample each restaurant along with a free coffee voucher for Twin City Refreshments and a free sweet voucher from Sweet Escapes Bakery.

Victoria Inn's famous CJ Wings in Bourbon Sauce
Victoria Inn’s famous CJ Wings in Bourbon Sauce

The twelve restaurants put together some amazing bite size bites for guests.

The chefs were all very friendly and pleasant explaining each dish and what was involved in the preparation.

This year there were no seafood entries but a few new dishes, such as duck and oxtail.

A fan favorite from the start was the OLG Getaway Restaurant, people were talking about how good that dish was, along with Victoria Inn’s bourbon chicken, it was delicious with that made from scratch bourbon sauce, excuse the pun but “I put that sh*t on everything!”

Spring Roll with Duck from Pine Tree Catering
Spring Roll with Duck from Pine Tree Catering

In the end, it all came down to what chef/restaurant created the best bite.

This year was a bit different, Sharla Brown announced that we were going to do audience participation. That would decide which Chef’s creation was the crowd pleaser, who entertained us the most, with the loudest vocal, Chef House came out on top!

The Da Vinci and Chef House won for crowd pleaser best entertainer.

The other new item this year was judges favorite, this year the judge’s favorite was Pinetree Catering, Nikos Mantis presented his famous Local Motion food truck item, duck confit spring roll.  The judges loved it. Who would have thought, duck in a spring roll, and to think he makes this for his food truck crowd.

Then it came down to the crowd, who had the most votes, 5 Forks had the most votes which made them Top Chef 2014, followed by Pinetree Catering in second and OLG Getaway Restaurant in third.

My own personal choice for this year were OLG Getaway Restaurant, then Victoria Inn followed by 5 Forks. Those were the dining lady’s three top chef choices, I had two out of the three winners selected!!

Top Chef has become one of Thunder Bay’s favourite events of the year, tickets sold out quickly for this event.  If you want to attend next year, watch Keynotes Facebook page or sign up for their newsletter. If this year was any indication on how great this event is, then next year can only get better!! Great job Sharla Brown and Keynote Events!

Kim Berly

Chef House from The Da Vinci Centre with his Crazy Canuck Sitting Duck Slider
Chef House from The Da Vinci Centre with his Crazy Canuck Sitting Duck Slider

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Kim Berly was born and raised in Thunder Bay. She grew up in Shuniah Township and attended Hillcrest High School. She shared, “I am in my forties, married 25 years and have 3 grown children, and 2 grandchildren. I’ve always enjoyed trying new restaurants and decided why not create a on-line group where people could discuss their experiences at local restaurants”. Kim will be writing for sharing the local dining treasures in our community. Interested in joining the discussion? Join the Thunder Bay Dining Group on Facebook!