Chef Jamie Stunt Oz Kafe Ottawa

Jamie-Stunt-300x199#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. Here are the answers from Chef Jamie Stunt from the Oz Kafe in Ottawa.

Where did you first learn to cook?

I went to high school really close to my house and would go home and make BLT s everyday.

What was in your elementary school lunch kit?

Sandwiches, juice boxes. Pretty typical stuff.

Did you attend culinary school – if so, where?

Not yet…

Where has been your favourite place to work to date and why? 

Oz Kafe! Great staff and great customers.

 Who in the industry taught you the most?

Simon Frasier and John Taylor at Domus cafe.

What is your favourite ethnic cuisine?

I would say Polish.

What ingredient(s) can’t you live without?

Vegetables! Literally.

What are the most essential tools for cooking?

A knife and a flame.

Ingredient you can’t get enough of?

Oysters.

Ingredient that will never touch your lips?

Maraschino cherries.

What is your most prized possession?

My 2000 Toyota Echo? I don’t own a lot of things.

What basic recipe/s do you advise for cooking novices to learn as a starting point?

Joy of Cooking is a fine book.

What’s your go-to comfort food?

I love lasagna. Also, homemade soup.

What’s your favourite cocktail?

Sidecar

Do you have a guilty pleasure?

Steely Dan

What’s your definition of a perfect meal?

Anything tasty and nourishing enjoyed with good company is pretty close to perfect.

What do you always have on hand for last minute entertaining at home? 

I’ve got some Steely Dan records…

How do you unwind after service? 

A nice glass of wine or two does the trick.

If you weren’t a chef what career would you have pursued?

Something that provides a creative outlet where you work with your hands.

What would you eat at your last meal? 

Bottomless oysters done in every which way and a bowl of my gramma’s pickle soup.

Who are you dream dinner companions?

The Travelling Wilburys

What do you do in your off time?

Where do you eat in your city when you are not working?

What is the dish/dishes your restaurant is known for? 

Our version of Steak and Caesar, Seoul Food and the daily specials.

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What dish will you be cooking for Gold Medal Plates?

Tiraislin Farms Yak with Northern Divine caviar and beer.

Why did you choose the particular wine/beer pairing for the dish?

The beer was brewed specially for the dish and the event. We chose Ashton because they make great beer.

Who have you brought with you to assist?

Simon Bell who has been with me since I started at Oz and Michael Bednarz, our next most senior cook. Both are great chefs.

For the black box competition are there any strategies that you will employ to succeed?

We’ve been practicing! We obviously don’t know what’s going to be in there but we’ve been getting people to bring us boxes of random ingredients which we open up and cook in an hour using only the communal pantry items. Glad we did because it’s very difficult.

What challenges do you have to face as your travel to another destination to cook?

We’ve done events in places like Montreal before which is tough, but arranging to have ingredients ready for you on the other side of the country to cook what you hope to be the best dish for over six hundred people at a competition like this is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Who do you see as the toughest competitor this year?

Myself I hope.