Operation Occupy Bacalao

8 Feb 2012

In the true Newfoundland and Labrador style of coming together to face a challenge, a team of local chefs will take over the kitchen at Bacalao to offer special five-course dinners while Chef Mike Barsky and the team represent the province at the Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships in BC February 8-12.

Chefs Todd Perrin (the Chef’s Inn), Steve Watson (Central Dairies), Roary MacPherson (Sheraton Hotel Newfoundland), Mark McCrowe (Aqua), Shawn Hussey (Chinched Bistro), Chris Sheppard (Bonavista Institute), Roger Andrews (College of the North Atlantic) and Steve Gugelmeier (Delta Hotel) are volunteering their talents to keep Bacalao open while Chef Barsky, Sous-chefs Ivan Kyutukchiev and Matt McDonald and wine-expert Andrea Maunder are away. Without this incredible act of generosity, the restaurant would have to close for the duration of the competition.

“This is a historic first step in creating a safety net for small restaurant owners, for whom the costs associated with out-of-province culinary competitions are too prohibitive to allow them to take part,” said Nancy Brace, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland Labrador. “It is also a wonderful show of camaraderie within the industry.”

“We are floored by the generosity! While it is an honour to represent the province in Kelowna, the financial commitment is significant… ingredients for 600 plates, travel, accommodations and then the additional factor of closing the restaurant while we are away. Now we can focus on the competition and know the restaurant is in great hands,” said Andrea Maunder, co-owner of Bacalao. “Essentially, by doing this, the chefs have become part of our team in Kelowna!”

For each of the four nights, Wednesday, February 8th through Saturday, February 11th, guests chefs will pair up in teams of two, working with Bacalao Sous-Chef Jamie Ryan and kitchen staff Mil Curl and Andrew Parsons to create special five-course dinner menus for $75 per person. With different menus and chefs each night, diners may like to take advantage of a 4-night package for $275 per person. Very limited seating.

The Bacalao team won the gold medal at the regional Gold Medal Plates culinary competition in St. John’s in November (a national event raising money to support Olympic athletes) and now go on to represent the province as they compete against gold-medal-winning chefs from across the country at the championships in Kelowna, BC.

From left, bronze medal winner Tony Velinov of Bistro Sophia, gold medal plate winner Mike Barsky from Bacalao, and silver medal winner Chris Chafe of Magnum and Steins.