Sean MacDonald is the Best Young Chef for Canada
Following remarkable performances by 10 of Canada’s rising young chefs, chef Sean MacDonald (Executive Chef, Market Restaurant, Calgary) swept the night with his signature dish “Duck and Carrot”, winning both the judges' and public support for his dish. The unanimous decision has earnt the young chef the opportunity to compete for the title of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 in Milan on 13 October, 2016.
Chef MacDonald was among the 10 semi-finalists chosen to compete before a local jury of renowned chefs – Normand Laprise (Toqué! and Brasserie T!, Montreal, QC), Connie DeSousa (Charcut, Calgary, AB) and Rob Gentile (Buca, Bar Buca and Buca Yorkville, Toronto, ON) at the Art Gallery of Toronto on 6 June. Each of the 10 semi-finalists' signature dishes was assessed based on the five “Golden Rules”: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message.
The Mentor: Normand Laprise
Normand Laprise will mentor Chef MacDonald, helping him to perfect his dish in the coming months before he travels to Milan to compete for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 title: “It’s amazing to see how a chef’s personality shines through their dish. As a mentor, I’ll work with Chef MacDonald to channel his raw talent and creativity, ultimately refining his technique and organisation.” On travelling to Milan, Laprise says, “These chefs are like family, regardless of where they’re from, so it’s always exciting to work side by side with the world's best in the pursuit of creating spectacular food.”
The Signature Dish: "Duck and Carrot"
With a signature dish of pan-roasted duck breast, brined in fennel juice and served with caramelised carrot, pickled fennel, roasted date jam and star anise jus, Chef MacDonald reflected on the influences that went into his dish: “As a boy, you grew up eating carrots out of the garden. The natural sweetness and the way they grow in Alberta is second to none. Naturally, I thought pairing the duck and carrot together had some great components and made for a very simple dish that let the natural flavours shine."
The Challenge Ahead
S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 will now enter the last of its four phases for chef Sean Macdonald, as he prepares to go head to head with 20 regional finalists from around the world at S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2016 in Milan in October. It is here that the young chef's dish well be subject to the scrutiny of the seven top judges, who will crown the eventual global winner.