Food and Drink: Gold Medal Plates

Gold Medal Plates St. John’s combines world class chefs, music and Olympians for an unforgettable event.


Imagine an evening featuring the island’s best chefs, world class musicians and Olympic Gold Medalists. It’s not fantasy. On October 20 the St. John’s Convention Centre will play host to Gold Medal Plates St. John’s, where world class chefs from across the island will vie for the title of Newfoundland’s Gold Plate Champion and earn a coveted slot at the Gold Medal Plates Culinary Championships in Kelowna, British Columbia from February 2-3.

We caught up with Chef Roary MacPherson, who has been involved with the Gold Medal Plates since its inception in 2004. This year, for the second straight year, MacPherson serves as one of seven judges, standing alongside the likes of National Culinary Advisor James Chatto, Chef Shaun Hussey and NTVs own Sharon Snow.  

“I’ve been judging with the Canadian Chefs Federation for many years,” says MacPherson, explaining how it feels to be on the other side of the judges’ table for the second straight year. “It’s always different being on the other side.”

Gold Medal Plates supports Canada’s athletes through the ultimate celebration of Canadian Excellence in cuisine, wine, the arts and athletic achievement. Since 2004, Gold Medal Plates has generated a combined net total of over $12 million for Canada’s Olympic athletes.

Supporting Athletes

“I think everyone likes to do their part in regards to supporting Canadian athletes,” MacPherson explains. “Chefs are very competitive, as are athletes. This is a chefs opportunity to get out there and show everyone what they can do, while doing their part in helping an athlete – whether from our own province or another province – to go and showcase what Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador is all about.”

For Sharon Snow, who is no stranger to working alongside established culinary artisans like MacPherson, the Gold Medal Plates will serve as an experience of a lifetime.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be participating this year as guest judge for Gold Medal Plates,” says Snow. “I have worked closely through the years with many executive chefs and consider it an honour to be  part of the judging team!”

The evening kicks off with a VIP reception before the competition begins, where the chefs’ creations will be sampled, as well as some of the best wine, spirits and pints in Canada. The sit down gala features a live auction, entertainment from the iconic Jim Cuddy and features special guest Olympians Curt Harnett, Jamie Korab, Adam van Koeverden and Newfoundland’s own Katarina Roxon.

Fierce Competition

MacPherson shared that while competition is always fierce between the chefs, any man or woman has the chance to walk away with the top prize on the night.

“I’m a firm believer in the fact that anybody has just a good a chance as anyone else,” he says. “When you say the best of the best, I think our provinces is blessed with many great chefs, all across the province. Everyone deserves their shot to compete in a competition like this. What you look for is people’s ability – whether it is someone working at the smallest pub or biggest hotel, any day can be any chef’s day.”

As a former medalist in the competition, MacPherson attests to the thrill of competing at such a high level. 

“It is a sense of pride for a chef to partake. I can speak for myself personally when I say I really enjoyed it every year going, not only to display what I could do, but also to give back to the community. That’s what it is all about.

“Any competition there’s an adrenaline rush,” he adds. “Everybody enters with the expectation that they’re going to win. Chefs are generally very humble and they won’t say it, but no one competes to lose. Everyone likes to put their best foot forward and do the best they can. When you’re at the discretion of judges, the same if you’re an athlete, you’re at their discretion. You try to put what you can do on the plate for your best chance at being successful. At the end of the day if you’re happy with what you put out it doesn’t really matter what anyone else says. The setup of this event has seven judges and it’s every man and every woman for themselves.”

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