As the clock ticked towards the two-hour mark, tensions and temperatures ran high at the end of the east coast heat of the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship competition, held on a hot summer’s day at George Brown College, Toronto this June.

Now in its second year, the young chef challenge was founded in 2013 by Chef David Hawksworth to offer emerging culinary talent the chance to shine in front of a panel of celebrated chef judges.

Joining us at the east coast heat were Food Network Canada Chefs Anna Olson and Lynn Crawford, who assisted in judging the competition alongside Hawksworth Restaurant’s Chef David Hawksworth and Chef Kristian Eligh. Shangri-la’s Executive Chef Damon Campbell and Buca’s Chef Rob Gentile helped select the four best young chefs who will go on to a national final in Vancouver this September.

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With just 120 minutes on the clock to create a winning dish, the eight hopefuls battled it out for a chance to win $10,000 presented by the Chefs’ Table of BC and a stage at an international restaurant of their choosing.

Michael Dolente (Shangri-La, Toronto), Alex Nacinovich (Canoe, Toronto), Nehemiah Lim (Jump, Toronto) and Solomon Chau (Stock, Toronto) all won over the judges during the heat and will head to the west coast this fall.

Michael Dolente, originally from Nova Scotia, won first place honours with his warm chickefn terrine and a crispy potato cylinder with carrot puree – a judge favourite that bagged him a set of Le Creuset’s Stainless Steel Pans and round-trip airfare to Vancouver.

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The national final will take place at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver on September 28 and eight finalists will create a dish from the Freybe Mystery Black Box ingredients to compete for the top prize – visit the website or follow the scholarship on Twitter @HawkScholarship for more information.

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