Chef Raghav Chaudhary from Aiana is stepping up to represent Ottawa at the 2024 Canadian Culinary Championship in February 2024.
Chaudhary secured his spot after finishing second in Canada’s Great Kitchen Party qualifying event held at the Fairmont Château Laurier this September 2023.
Originally, chef Khalid Farchoukh won the event, but he became ineligible for the national competition. Farchoukh, the original winner, was required to be working as a chef at a restaurant by mid-November to remain eligible.
However, the restaurant he worked at, Carben Food + Drink, closed shortly after his win, leading to his disqualification. As a result, Chaudhary, the qualifying event’s runner-up, will now represent Ottawa.
During the qualifying event, judges noted that while Farchoukh’s dish was highly creative and appealing, the scoring was incredibly close. There was actually just a 1% difference between the top two competitors.
Chaudhary, who leads the kitchen at Aiana, impressed judges with his elaborate seafood dish, “Shuck it — Flavours of Acadia.”
His creation featured an edible oyster shell crafted using a blend of lapsang tea and lavender, along with scallops, crab salad, lemon-algae pearls, and a seaweed emulsion.
He expressed his sentiments and mentioned his respect for Farchoukh’s talent and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding his replacement.
However, Chaudhary still showcased a mix of nervousness and excitement about participating in the championship.
With Ottawa chefs having previously won past championships, Chaudhary acknowledges the prestigious culinary background of the city. Previous winners were chef Briana Kim and the two-time champion Marc Lepine of Atelier.
Aside from Farchoukh and Chaudhary, four other Ottawa chefs also participated in the qualifying event. The national championship will host representatives from ten cities across Canada in Ottawa from February 2-3, 2024.
Be sure to cheer on Chef Raghav to take home the crown once again to our fair city of Ottawa!