We are proud to announce Takashi Ito the winner of the October 2018 Canada’s Great Kitchen Party (previously known as Canada’s Gold Medal Plate) in Victoria, B.C. Chef Ito, of Aura Waterfront Restaurant and Patio in Victoria, paired his winning plate with our Fraser Valley Junmai Renaissance Nigori creating a decadent, imaginatively Canadian balance. Bravo Chef Ito!

James Chatto’s Culinary Report of the event included this stunning breakdown of the winning dish:
“Present on the plate was spot prawn head karaage, pressed octopus, He presented a little orchestra of local seafood, starting with a dramatic, sculptural whole prawn head karaage, fried to a crunch, that shattered like puff pastry when one bit into it. Beside it was a very thin slice of pressed octopus “sheet” powerfully seasoned with sea salt while various sauces formed a delta of strong flavours across the plate – a black garlic aïoli, another aïoli flavoured with red pepper and gochujang and a togarashi mayonnaise. The second cluster of treats on the plate was based upon a slim quilt of okonomiyaki pancake stuffed with shrimp, Taiwanese cabbage and tenkasu, topped with shiso leaf and a delicate onion and soy salad. Neatly lined up on this busy bed was half a butter-seared scallop that had been deglazed with sake, a tender spot prawn poached in sake, half a soft-boiled quail’s egg garnished with fish roe, and a morsel of a soft, sweet Dungeness crab terrine. A tiny pipette of soy sauce was provided to give a final umame spritz but it really wasn’t needed – the flavours were big and brave, speaking most eloquently of the sea. Chef chose sake for his pairing – an admirable decision: it was the pungent, fruity, unfiltered Renaissance Fraser Valler Junmai Nigori sake from Osake, made on Granville Island in Vancouver.”

The next step for Chef Ito, and us, is THE CANADIAN CULINARY CHAMPIONSHIPS in Kelowna, BC in the beginning of February 2018. More info can be found on the Great Kitchen Party website.