Chef Eric Hanson Wins Gold at 2016 Edmonton Gold Medal Plates
October 24, 2016
Eric Hanson has another accomplishment to add to his resume these days. The gluten-free Chef of Prairie Noodle Shop took home gold at Gold Medal Plates last Thursday, where, in front of an audience of 700 people, he competed against Edmonton’s best chefs for the running in the upcoming Canadian Culinary Championships.
Chef Hanson — who’s cooked in 40 countries, including Berardo’s in Australia and 5 Star Tala Private Game Reserve in South Africa — won with a single spot prawn poached in a smoked sturgeon broth with dehydrated peach-flavoured meringue. "My dish is an exercise of less is more," says Hanson. However, that doesn't mean it was easy to come up with — "to prepare, I spent months deciding how best to make a dish that encompasses both my career and my personality, which was as hard as it sounds."
His plate won by a landslide, wooing the six-judge panel — featuring Mary Bailey, senior judge and publisher of The Tomato Food & Drink; Chef Chris Wood; Brad Smoliak, chef and owner of Kitchen by Brad culinary studio; Ryan O’Flynn, winner of the Canadian Culinary Championship for Edmonton in February 2015; Chef Karl Johann Unnarsson, executive chef from the Hotel Ranga in Iceland; and Chef Jan Trittenbach, 2015’s gold winner.
"There are many competitions in the city but this is the only one that takes you to a national stage, which adds more than just legitimacy, it adds a big scoop of pride, which is how this competition made me feel," says Hanson, "I look forward to the next phase, getting to represent our city, but also being able to come back next year as a judge and the one who cooks the first course everyone gets. It's awesome that they bring you back, I feel the love."
The silver and bronze wins were a close call, having only been separated by less than a percentage point. Chef Doreen Prei of Get Cooking placed silver with a pan-seared salmon sourced out from Iceland and topped with crushed, cold-smoked pumpkin seeds. While Chef Shane Chartrand of River Cree Resort’s Sage created a “Charcoal and Smoke” dish featuring sablefish and albacore tuna with fondant potato and Marsala demiglace.
Gold Medal Plates is an annual event, which raises money for Canadian Olympic athletes while celebrating Canada’s food and wine excellence. The event crowns a gold, silver and bronze medal culinary team in 10 cities across Canada with the gold winners of each city moving on to compete in the Canadian Championships in Kelowna on February 3 and 4. St. John’s is the second city to name a gold winner (Chef Ruth Wigman of Oppidan) with the next event in Halifax on Thursday, October 27.