Monthly Archives: November, 2019

Shokunin Wows the Crowd for Great Kitchen Party Calgary Gold

November 18th, 2019 Posted by Past Events No Comment yet

Shokunin took home the gold award at the 13th edition of Great Kitchen Party Calgary. The head-to-head competition and win against ten of Calgary’s finest culinary masters at the prestigious culinary competition sees the team go on to compete at the Canadian Culinary Championships, Canada’s Great Kitchen Party Finale, in Ottawa in February 2020.


“The Shokunin team and our Chef Jenny Kang work hard, bring creativity and know how to focus on the details that make the difference around the tables at Shokunin and on tough competitive platforms like this one,” says Shokunin chef and owner Darren MacLean. “Proud times! Look out Ottawa, the national title is in our sights. We are proud to support this serious but friendly competition for an important initiative that combines food, sport and music.”

James Chatto, National Culinary Advisor and Head Judge for Canada’s Great Kitchen Party said: “It was a really interesting and wonderful evening. This time, we didn’t have an obvious frontrunner, we had a lot of chefs cooking a lot of intriguing food. I noticed a lot of Asian influences with beautiful plating. We felt that the chefs who did the best tonight were the chefs who were cooking their own food; this was the food they understood and was completely original to them.”

“My team helped me so much to make this seafood dish have so much texture and flavour. We call it a ‘seafood garden,’ where all the different seafood flavours really make up the dish as a whole.”

Congratulations to Chef Kenny Kaechele from WORKSHOP kitchen+culture for taking the silver and Chef Darnell Japp from Rouge for bronze.

Judging the 2019 competition were: James Chatto (national Culinary Advisor), John Gilchrist (Senior Judge), Michael Allemeier, Jamie Herbison and Chef Dave Bohati (2018 Gold Medalist and bronze medalist at the 2019 Canadian Culinary Championships).

Each dish was judged out of 100 points, based on visual presentation (20%), texture (10%), technical achievement (10%), taste (40%), wine compatibility (10%), and wow factor (10%).

Chris Lee, co-chair of the event was thrilled with the evening, especially the overwhelming attendance of this year’s event. “Given the economic challenges in this city and what we’re going through, this year’s attendance demonstrates to me the spirit of giving that we have in this city. I’m
so proud to live here and I’m so proud to be a part of this committee. It’s been an honour for me to be a co-chair. This is what this night is about: getting behind inspiring musicians, athletes, and chefs.”

Karen Blair, co-founder of Canada’s Great Kitchen Party, also emphasized how pleased she was with the event, “Calgary is always a highlight event for us because of the quality of the business people who attend. There was a great buzz in the room and so much generosity for the youth in this city and beyond!”

Several Canadian athletes took part once again, including Four-Time Olympian, Olympic Silver and Bronze Medalist in Luge, Alex Gough; Gold, Double Silver and Triple Bronze Paralympic Medalist in Para Nordic Skiing, Mark Arendz; Four-Time Olympian, Double Gold and Bronze Medalist in Speed Skating, Catriona Le May Doan; Olympic Gold Medalist in Wrestling, Erica Wiebe who is training to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Summer Games; Invictus Games athlete in Indoor Rowing, Lorne Ford and more! The athletes finished the show on stage with singing their hearts out to
thunderous applause from all attendees.

Canada’s Great Kitchen Party is a social enterprise dedicated to “Building a Better Canada” through the elevation and celebration of Canadian excellence through food, sport and music. Staged in twelve cities across the country, each event is a regional culinary competition of which the winning chefs move on to compete against each other at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Ottawa on January 31 and February 1, 2020. Chefs, athletes, musicians and business leaders all come together for a spectacular experience and to provide young Canadians the opportunity to be extraordinary through sport, music and food. We proudly contribute to the following three beneficiaries: B2ten, MusiCounts, and Community Food Centres of Canada. For more information and finale ticket details, visit

Forest Exchange in Tokyo, Japan

November 18th, 2019 Posted by Past Events No Comment yet

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With the support from Canada Beef, Sunterra Pork, Wines of British Columbia and Sakagami, Chef Darren MacLean, finalist in Netflix’s hit cooking competition ‘The Final Table,’ and Japanese Michelin Star Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa presented Forest Exchange, a culinary celebration of nature, sustainability and recovery in Tokyo, Japan October 20-21, 2019. Guests were immersed in a gastronomic exploration and celebration of Canada and Japan’s wild places, and the remarkable influence forests have on humanity and our well-being.

Friends and acclaimed chefs Darren MacLean of Canada and Yoshihiro Narisawa of Japan launched and co-hosted a culinary exchange in Tokyo that spanned two international dining experiences to inform and bond the culinary cultures of Canada and Japan. The two-part ticketed dining event, Forest Exchange, showcased the chefs’ mutual appreciation for forests and the vital role these natural environments play in sustainable food and drink.


Chef MacLean says:

“This is greatest moment of my career and I thank Yoshihiro Narisawa. This year has been an absolute whirlwind, culminating in this event with the incredible team at Narisawa. It was six years ago I first came here to Japan and met Narisawa — one of the biggest influences of my culinary life — and I never believed I would ever be cooking alongside him, nevermind collaborating! The icing on it all is that I got to showcase Canadian ingredients with the support of Canada Beef, Wines of BC, Sunterra Pork and Sakagami. Dreams do come true.”

Guests at the open format Celebration of the Forest on October 20 were immersed in conversation and interaction with chefs MacLean and Narisawa while sampling small plates highlighting the flavours of Canada and Japan. The first event at Bees Bar by Narisawa featured British Columbia wines poured alongside sake and thematic cocktails using wild, foraged botanicals from both countries.

The following day, on October 21, Exploration of the Forest was an immersive eight-course in-depth dining experience. Chefs MacLean and Narisawa crafted dishes using both their own ingredients and the ingredients of the other’s country. Each course was paired with both wine and sake, from both countries, as well as cocktails using the forest’s essence.

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Canada’s sole contender on Netflix’s global cooking competition ‘The Final Table,’ MacLean is the man behind Calgary’s Shokunin, named one of Canada’s top 50 restaurants for the past three years. On a life-altering trip to Japan seven years ago, he met Chef Narisawa owner of Tokyo’s two-Michelin star restaurant Narisawa. The two chefs quickly established a bond through a shared appreciation of nature and vision for Japanese cuisine.

“I have been fortunate to have many menu influences and mentors, but none have affected my career path or philosophy as much as Yoshihiro Narisawa,” said MacLean. “Over the years, our ideas and conversations about sustainability and the planet always lead us back to the forests.

“All of humanity is connected to the forests that have provided the air we breathe, the structures we inhabit, the medicine we need, and the food we eat,” said MacLean. “Forests allow us to reflect on the amazing similarities that unite us. So, Forest Exchange is a testament to our humanity and an exploration of the ties that bind us and the wonderful differences that make our cultures unique.”

The healthy, natural menus at the Forest Exchange provided a delicious reminder of what we stand to gain by preserving forests forever.

MacLean recently opened Greenfish in Calgary serving the highest quality, handmade, fully sustainable sushi and he was the first-ever Canadian chef invited aboard Princess Cruises as a guest chef. Narisawa is one of Japan’s most revered chefs who calls this cuisine “innovative Satoyama” which reflects part of a cultural philosophy to take only the most necessary resources from the earth. His flagship Tokyo restaurant, Narisawa, holds two Michelin stars and is listed on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

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Canadian Producers Support

“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to support the Forest Exchange event with the supply of Sunterra pork from our farms in Alberta, Canada,” said Ray Price, President, Sunterra Group. It was  an exciting format and the chefs’ creations showcased the very best of Canada and Japan.”

“Wines of British Columbia was thrilled to partner on this extraordinary event in Tokyo,” says Miles Prodan, CEO and President of the British Columbia Wine Institute. “BC VQA wines continue to be chosen favourites among international chefs and this event offered an excellent opportunity for wine enthusiasts to experience their purity, vibrancy and freshness which pairs exquisitely with the refined elegance of Japanese cuisine.”

“Canada Beef was proud to be a sponsor of this collaborative international culinary event given Canada’s natural, rugged landscape attribute to the unique qualities of our cattle herds and ultimately the quality of our beef,” said Joyce Parslow Director Consumer Relations, Canada Beef. “It was exciting to see Canadian beef used in delicious dishes at the hands of these two masterful chefs.”

Showcasing Canada Beef 

Showcasing Sunterra Pork

Showcasing Wines of British Columbia

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Venue and Agenda

The host venue, Bees Bar by Narisawa, itself embodies a forest theme and a spirit where nature and people live together. This value placed on sustainability reflects in its décor with evocative forest, ocean and mountain photographs from around Japan by Brazilian photographer Sergio Coimbra. Bees Bar by Narisawa is located at 〒107-0062 Tokyo, Minato City.