Chef Murray Hall from BMO IFL was crowned the winner of the senior category at this year’s IACC Canadian Chapter Copper Skillet Cook-Off for his creative vegan dish and became the first entrant to ever compete with 100% plant-based proteins.

The competition, which took place earlier this week, saw chefs from nine Canadian IACC member properties compete in the cook-off at the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre in London, Ontario.

The chefs were presented with basic pantry items along with a “mystery basket” of proteins and grocery items. They were given 30 minutes to prepare, create, and present their creations to judges from the local area.

The two winners of the competition were –

Junior category winner –  Melanie Ruga – Donald Gordon Conference Centre with her dish  of poached arctic char on a bed of wilted bok choy, potato and brussel hash, blueberry gastrique, and cajun chickpeas.

Senior category winner – Murray Hall –  BMO IFL with his vegan and gluten-free dish of chickpea curry, topped with pan seared tandoori marinated tofu and pan fried fingerling potato coins.

Both chefs have secured a place in the IACC Americas Copper Skillet Cook-Off Competition, with two American chefs at the Fitler Club in Philadelphia in January 2020.

Nancy Lindemer, Director of Sales & Marketing at Rizzo Center, and President of IACC-Americas Chapter said: “Each year Copper Skillet competitions deliver skill, passion and excitement and this year was no different. I’m truly impressed with the Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre and how it showcased this amazing culinary artistry and displayed Canada’s finest.”

The winners of the Americas cook-off (one senior chef and one junior chef) will then go on to compete with IACC chapters from across the globe at the International Copper Skillet Competition, which will be held during the IACC-Americas Connect Conference March 30 – April 1 at the Delta Hotels Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center in Dallas.

The popular Copper Skillet Competition was introduced in 2004 to highlight the artistry and skill of the best chefs from IACC-member conference venues around the world, and to honour their contributions to the shared goal of providing an outstanding conference venue experience.