UPDATE: Canadian Culinary Championship is leaving Kelowna - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Canadian Culinary Championship is leaving Kelowna

Chefs Eric Gonzalez, Alex Chen, and Barry Mooney (left to right) celebrating victory for placing in the top three at the 2018 Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018. The championship is now moving to Ottawa.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Gold Medal Plates National Head Office
April 16, 2019 - 3:56 PM

KELOWNA - After nine years in Kelowna the Canadian Culinary Championship is being rebranded and moving to Ottawa.

Kelowna will continue to host one of 12 regional cook offs in what is now called Canada’s Great Kitchen Party, according to a news release. Vancouver will also host a competition.

That means more of the money raised by the cooking competition will stay in Kelowna, Karen Blair, Chief Administrative Officer for the Great Canadian Kitchen Party told iNFOnews.ca.

“None of the money had been saying locally,” Blair said, noting that $15 million was raised for high level athletes since the event was launched in Whistler in 2006.

“It was all going on a national level,” she said. “So now, for the music pillar and for the food pillar, there’s money staying in every (host) city across Canada, whether it be a school or a good food organization. We have a kitchen mentor programs where youth are having access to chefs and good food education. The vision is that every city has youth impacted.”

The format was revamped in part to redirect the proceeds. That gave the organization the incentive to re-evaluate all aspects of the competition, so the decision was made to move the championship to a more central geographic location in Ottawa.

“It wasn’t as much as we were leaving Kelowna as we were going to Ottawa,” Blair said. “Initially, the intent was to be there (Kelowna) for three years and then the community, the city, the chefs, the wineries, everyone, wrapped their arms around this project. That’s why we were there for nine years.”

The branding will basically remain the same with regional competitions titled Great Canadian Kitchen Parties and the final still called the Canadian Culinary Championship.

The Kelowna competition will pit six Okanagan chefs against each other on Nov. 15 at the Delta Grand hotel. The winner will qualify for the championship, which will be held in Ottawa from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, 2020.

“We are thrilled with this announcement,” former chair of the Canadian Culinary Championships Judy Burns said in the release. “Kelowna has been proud to stage the Canadian Culinary Championships in our city for the last nine years. Our community created an incredible event which was supported by so many.”

According to the Great Kitchen Party website, the associated events will be a "celebration of the pillars of Canadian culture – sport, music and food."

“High performing athletes are provided the support they need to compete on the world stage. Musical instruments are purchased for schools. And kids learn from leading Canadian chefs how to grow, cook and share healthy food.”

— This story was updated April 17, 2019 at 8:46 a.m. to add in comments from Karen Blair.

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