NIAGARA FALLS (August 28, 2020) ‒ James Price, the executive chef at Niagara Falls Convention Centre, recently took home the first-place prize in a cooking challenge hosted by Centerplate.
Price was nominated by his chef peers and instantly got excited over the idea of returning to his work kitchen after months away due to the outbreak of COVID-19. “Like a lot of people who had found themselves bored at home, I wanted the chance just to do something creative again,” said Price. After a trip to the farmer’s market, where he found inspiration in local ingredients and a favorite poem from his adolescence, Price decided to plate up his interpretation of a chicken liver parfait.
His video submission for the first-ever cooking challenge shared step-by-step preparations of all the components that had gone into the final dish. “I liked being able to walk the judges through my choice of Niagara ingredients, and my reasons for combining different flavours and textures,” said Price. While the camera may have placed him centre frame, Price believes the real stars were the peaches, corn, mushrooms and wine he had sourced from local suppliers. “If the judges could have tried the dish, I think they would have been pleased with its taste and balance.”
The weeks he waited after the deadline never really ate away at Price. “I was thrilled to participate, but didn’t expect it to go any further than that,” he said. The panel of judges tasked with evaluating all 12 submissions was made up of top executives and culinary heads at Centerplate. Once they compared scorecards and settled on the top three winners, the judges and participants convened virtually on August 25 for the big announcement.
With taste ruled out, the judges looked to criteria such as originality, execution, appearance and cost-effectiveness to score Price’s chicken dish. Noel Buckley, the centre’s president and general manager, added, “James was the only Canadian in a pool of talented chefs from across the US to participate in this challenge. I congratulated him as soon as he told me about taking first place, and all he could say was how surreal it felt to win.”
For media inquiries, please contact:
Noel Buckley, President & General Manager
Niagara Falls Convention Centre
Paul Pattus, Communications Director