Chef James McFarland From University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon Heads To The Gold Medal Plates

A Few Questions With Chef James McFarland – Competitor In Gold Medal Plates, Kelowna

The Canadian Culinary Championships will take place this weekend in Kelowna, BC February 2-3, 2018. The eleven competing chefs will be aiming for gold as they compete in three events over two days testing their skills, creativity and endurance. We had a few question for the competitors, here’s the responses from Chef James McFarland.

Chef James McFarland

Tell us a little bit about your restaurant and/or style of cooking.

Chef McFarlane is part of the Culinary program at the University of Saskatchewan. Their mission is “Food is our passion, and our enthusiasm shows in our on campus dining locations. Whether you’re grabbing a coffee on the go, fueling up with snacks, or enjoying a lunch or dinner with friends, Culinary Services strives to provide the University of Saskatchewan community with nutritious, fresh, and delicious dining options.”

Chef James McFarland, born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan began professionally preparing cuisine for others at a young age. He has shared his talents in many areas of the food industry including restaurant, hotel, and resort kitchens throughout Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

In 2001, James accepted his position of Executive Chef at the University of Saskatchewan where he has been integral in developing and leading one the of provinces largest food service operations, transitioning it from a once very institutional cafeteria to one of the most innovative culinary operations in Canada. He has coordinated many large and high profile events that have included menu design, cuisine preparation, and mentoring his team. This team has served many political dignitaries including Prime Ministers, the Supreme Court of Canada, Governor General, and the Queen of England on her Royal visit.

What trend do you wish would die?

Gluten-free (for those without actual celiac disease)

What ingredient do you always have on hand?


What’s your go-to recipe when you’re eating at home? 

Good ol’ Roast Chicken


What cookbook would you suggest for a gift for your foodie friends this year?

Modernist Cuisine at Home

Chef James McFarland

Any hints on what dish you will be preparing for Gold Medal Plates?

It will look a lot like our Gold Medal Plate that we won with in Saskatoon 😉

What wine/beer/libation are you pairing with this year?

Osoyoos La Rose, Le Grand Vin

Who is coming with you?

Two Sous Chefs: Moksud Mohammed (Ahmed) and Douglas Mark

Chef James McFarland

I also surveyed my facebook followers (many are chefs as well) as to what questions they would like answered by chefs when I interview them. 

Colleen Tsoukalas Fav books about food, mystery, travel but their fav food related ones. Role that ethnicity plays in shaping chef, vancouver stories, who is their fav to cook for, most feared? Where food is going…

Ethnicity plays a huge roll in shaping any chef. You need to learn not only ingredients but also how they are properly applied and utilized in the dishes from the different regions and cultures. I think where food is going is away from expensive or pretentious dining to a more casual approach where the old rules of cooking are broken and involve ethnic ingredients mixing the old with the new.

Jennifer Ramsey Schotts I want to know what they love to binge eat, how they take their coffee, fave kitchen appliance if any!

Coffee with Baily’s

Kaitlyn Gabrielle Bogas-Zayac ask what they think of people who claim gluten sensitivity or allergies and want them to modify every item on the menu.

Real medical allergies need to be taken very serious. People who jump on the band wagon confuse the process or importance and unfortunately I think can end up frustrating some service providers taking some of the needed seriousness away.

Nancy Wong What was the favourite thing they learned to cook from a parent or grandparent and how did that experience help set them on their chosen career path.

Favourite thing I think I learned was Nana’s good old Roast Beef with Yorkshires. Way before the thought of cooking professionally I needed to know her trick for making giant pillowy Yorkshires and rich pan gravy… #comfort

Lucia Higgins What is their go to dish when cooking at home and feeling tired or one when inspired?

Pan Fried Pierogis and Famer Sausage with some sort of Veg

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