Chef Darren Craddock Riverside Country Club Saskatoon
#ccc2013 @goldmedalplates Chefs from Canada will meet in Kelowna from February 7-9, 2013 to compete in the Gold Medal Plates Canadian Culinary Championships. I sent them some questions prior to the challenge. Chef Craddock reports in below.
What was your first food memory?
Cooking breakfast with my dad on Sunday mornings
What was in your elementary school lunch kit?
Peanut butter and jam sandwich
Where did you first learn to cook?
My dad showed me a few things, he trained as a chef in England at the Dorchester hotel in London
Did you attend culinary school – if so, where?
Yes, in England @ Milton Keynes College
Where has been your favourite place to work to date and why?
So far it is my current place, Riverside CC, as it gives me so much freedom and the members are great, but I have enjoyed all of the places I have worked.
Who in the industry taught you the most?
I have learned so much from all of my past chefs, but the ones that stick out are Chef Martin Patten from my time at Parkside Hotel in England and Chef Michael Mandato from my time at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
What is your favourite ethnic cuisine?
What ingredient(s) can’t you live without?
Garlic, salt & Ranch Dressing
What are the most essential tools for cooking?
Sharp knives & an open mind
Do you have an unforgettable taste combination?
When I vacationed on the south coast of Turkey I had grilled lamb, fresh lemon, garlic and fresh parsley with a fresh tomato and onion salad tossed with Turkish olive oil, it was so good…mouth watering
Ingredient you can’t get enough of?
Three Farmers Camelina Oil
Ingredient that will never touch your lips?
Shellfish only because I am allergic
What is your most prized possession?
My home, because that’s where my family is…
What basic recipe/s do you advise for cooking novices to learn as a starting point?
Master the basic stocks and the 5 basic sauces & that’ll set you up for success
What’s your go-to comfort food?
I love a toasted ‘everything’ bagel with bacon and aged white cheddar and sliced fresh vine tomatoes
What’s your favourite cocktail?
A Cape Cod- or a nice Gin and Tonic
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Ice Cream, can’t get enough of it…
What’s your definition of a perfect meal?
If you eat with good company you can’t go wrong
What do you always have on hand for last minute entertaining at home?
I always a have a nice bottle of red or white wine in my cellar
How do you unwind after service?
Drive home, then a cold beer on the deck
Most overrated food trend?
Favourite culinary destination?
Most memorable meal last year?
The chefs pre competition dinner cooked by Chef Bernard Casavant
If you weren’t a chef what career would you have pursued?
I always thought if it didn’t work out I would have liked to have been a carpenter
What would you eat at your last meal?
Might as well go for the double big mac and extra large fries & try to go out quick!
Who are you dream dinner companions?
If I could have all of my family together for a meal in one spot at the same time, that would have to be it…plus could I bring Britney?
What do you do in your off time?
Spend time with my family as much as I can, my children are growing up too fast
Where do you eat in your city when you are not working?
Weczeria Food & Wine with my wife, colleagues or friends & Jerry’s Food Emporium if I am with the family
Are there some regional dishes your city is known for?
We are in the prairies, so a lot of good beef, lamb, grains and wild mushrooms
What is the dish/dishes your restaurant is known for?
Pan Seared Pacific Halibut, Lemon and Herb Crust with a Clam and Local Potato Chowder
What dish will you be cooking for Gold Medal Plates?
That will remain a secret
Why did you choose the particular wine/beer pairing for the dish?
We narrowed it down because of the profile of the wine and incorporated ingredients into the dish to compliment the wine
What ingredients have you brought with you?
That’s a secret too….
Who have you brought with you to assist?
I have brought along my two sous chefs; Danielle Moser and Lee Dolan
For the black box competition are there any strategies that you will employ to succeed?
Communication between my sous chef Lee Dolan and I and move fast
What challenges do you have to face as your travel to another destination to cook?
Transportation of the food is the biggest challenge, keeping my team focused while in a strange kitchen environment
Who do you see as the toughest competitor this year?
All of the other chefs, they are all talented.