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Cheers erupted as Burnaby’s Michael Christiansen was announced as the winner of the 2014 Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts on Sunday. The 23-year-old from Winnipeg, MB walked away from the Sept. 28th competition with not only a $10,000 cheque and bragging rights, but also the opportunity to stage at a top a restaurant of his choice.

The competition showcased 8 young hopefuls – Michael Christiansen from Winnipeg, MB; Stephen Baidacoff from Georgetown, ON; Alex Fraser from Calgary, AB; Corey Hess from Vancouver, BC; Alex Nacinovich from Richmond Hill, ON; Solomon Chau from St. Catherines, ON; Michael Dolente from Halifax, NS and Nehemiah Lim from Toronto, ON.

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Christiansen, who works at The Pear Tree Restaurant, was accompanied in the top three by runner up, named the Le Creuset Rising Star, Corey Hess from L’Abattoir and third place winner Stephen Baidacoff from Get Cooking Edmonton. The competition began in the early hours of the morning and showcased the best that Canada’s young chefs had to offer, testing their culinary skills and creativity, as well as their ability to work under pressure and a intense panel of judges.

In the judging room Hawksworth Restaurant’s David Hawksworth and Kristian Eligh were accompanied by Chef Michel Jacob from Le Crocodile, Chef Scott Jaeger from The Pear Tree, Chef Normand Laprise from Toqué and Brassterie T!, Chef Anthony Walsh from Oliver & Bonacini, Jacob Richler, food writer for Macleans and Marie-Claude Lortie from Montreal’s La Presse.

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Faced with a surprise pantry and the Freybe Mystery Black Box of required ingredients, creating a winning dish to impress the esteemed judges was no easy feat. Chef Hawksworth noted that Christiansen’s “very well balanced dish” of pan roasted lingcod, salsify puree, chanterelle mushrooms, clam foam chorizo dish, “was definitely of restaurant quality.”

Young Canadian chefs looking to apply, take note that applications for the 2015 open this Spring at www.hawksworthscholarship.com.

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