Filming the Gold Medal Plates

Canadian Culinary Championships

On Thursday evening walking into Quails Gate Winery were 9 of Canada’s finest Chefs, each of them had battled hard in their respective Provinces to be here tonight to compete in Canada’s most prestigious Culinary Competition. The prize – to grab Gold and the reward of being recognized as Canada’s number one Chef, but more importantly raising funds for Canada’s Olympic team and this being the year they head off to compete in London proving even more significant.

I was hired to document the finals from Thursday evening right through to the culmination of the Awards on Saturday evening at the Delta Grand where the nation would find out who would claim Gold and “own the podium”.


I had the pleasure of working alongdside DoP Brian Chambers from Toronto. We had some great tools to work with, shooting on a Canon 5D mk11 and Canon 7D, we had to shoot both video and stills. I think this is where DSLR’s come into their own as this is becoming a common request from clients. I was fortunate to have Todd Dailey from LensLenders offer his support and loaned me two quite brilliant lenses…the Canon 16-36L and the superb 50L 1.2. I had 3 events to film, the majority of which suited a run n’ gun set up. I rigged out my 7D with the workhorse lens the 16-35, Zacuto Stryker, Zacuto Z Finder and the Zoom H4N.


The first of the events was the mystery wine pairing and each Chef was given a budget of $500 to create a dish for 300 people…no mean feat!

Friday morning I was up at 5am for a rendezvous with Vancouver Chef, Rob Feenie, along with 2 of his support team we jumped into a cab and headed out to do some speed shopping. This is run n’ gun at it’s best, quickly grabbing footage in the cab and filming instore trying to avoid being thrown out by the Superstore’s management for filming without permission…all good fun!

The Hotel Eldorado was the venue for the first event, lighting was a challenge with parts of the event in low light and other areas very bright. In the low light I had to supplement the available light with an on camera LED which helped enormously, I do find however that the 7D is challenged in low light whereas the 5D is outstanding.

The following morning commenced with the black box event in which each Chef had to create 2 unique dishes from the mystery ingredients found in the box….they had to make 24 servings for the judges in under 1 hour. Things were getting intense in the kitchen, I was getting pushed around by Chefs and support team to avoid collisions, anyone who has filmed in a kitchen knows it can get pretty manic, even more so with a Gold Medal on the line.

Chef Marc Lepines' winning dish - image courtesy of Scout Magazine


Saturday evening the Delta Grand …the Finale. The Chefs prepared their signature dish for VIP’s, Olympic athletes and around 500 guests. Once again the Chefs worked their culinary magic to pull off a stunning end to a jam packed  exhausting 3 days.

The results were in…. Marc Lepine of Ottawa’s Atelier picked up the Gold Medal, Vancouver Chef Rob Feenie of Cactus Club winning silver and J.P. St. Denis of Montreal’s Kitchen Galerie Poisson grabbing Bronze.

So now it’s over to the athletes to pick up where the Chefs left off and take their game to London this summer….good luck.