"My first big break was getting the Executive Sous Chef job at Sutton Place, which turned into a Chef job within two months. I was twenty-five years old... and it was a huge catapult for me. Whoever wins this competition, even the young chefs that come in the top three, are instantly catapulted into a new category." Mark McEwan remembers his first steps on the road to success, where he developed a keen eye for spotting top talent in the culinary arena. The Food Network Head Judge now knows the best place to look for the next Top Chef is among the young chefs. That's exactly why he heeded the call of superstar chef David Hawksworth to judge this year's Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship.
This Sunday, ten red seal chefs, all under the age of 28, will create a main course for four with a limited pantry and just two hours to work with. The top three victors will then have two hours and fifteen minutes to prepare and plate a main course and dessert from the ingredients provided in a black box challenge. The competitors include:
Mark Andrew Brown - 27, Ayr, ON
Ross Derrick - 27, Winnipeg, MB
Arnie Mitchell Guieb - 23, Vancouver, BC
Talib Hudda - 24, Sherwood Park, AB
Carmen Ingham - 27, North Vancouver, BC
Hayden Johnston - 24, Thunder Bay, ON
John Ly - 24, Vancouver, BC
Brad Masciotra - 23, London, ON
Paul Moran - 26, Kelowna, BC
Garrett Rotel - 21, Calgary, AB
Pride, prestige and a $10,000 prize rest on the palettes of the esteemed judging panel, which includes Food Network Canada's Mark McEwan and Vikram Vij, who are working more than their marking pens on Sunday. The judges themselves will each create a course for the scholarship's gala fundraising dinner, which is open to the public. Tickets are still available for $140 and $218 with wine pairings. Reservations can be made by calling (604) 673-7000.
If you can't make it out there this weekend, follow FoodNetworkCA on Instagram for a live look at the competition as it unfolds!
by Joanna Gryfe