Second Consecutive Year Boulevard Back-of-House Team Member Reigns Supreme, Claims $10,000 Grand Prize, Coveted Stage at Acclaimed International Restaurant
For the second year in a row, a key member of the Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar back-of-house team won the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship finals in Toronto as Junior Sous Chef Daniel Kim reigned supreme at the annual culinary competition this past weekend.
In winning the prestigious title, 24-year-old Kim follows in the footsteps of 2017 winner and fellow Boulevard Chef de Partie Connor Sperling, who was part of the Boulevard team that travelled to this year’s event to assist Kim on his culinary quest for glory. Kim claimed his spot at the 2018 finals after winning one of four regional heats that were held in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montréal earlier this year.
The national competition involved a black-box challenge during which the eight finalists had three hours to incorporate such mystery ingredients as Fraser Valley Specialty Poultry duck, guanciale sorrentino, butternut squash, local honey, Canadian eggs and Cacao Barry Origin Saint-Domingue 70% Dark Chocolate into a main dish and dessert course. An all-star culinary panel of 13 top chefs and critics including David Hawksworth, Norman Laprise, Lee Cooper, Jacob Richler and Lian Yeung judged the final dishes.
Kim, who edged out runner-up Jordan Wilkinson (Hexagon, Prince Albert, SK) and third-place finisher Michael Roszell (The Pear Tree, Burnaby) for top spot, is the fifth BC-based chef in six years to win the competition, following Paul Moran in 2013, Michael Christiansen in ’14, Alex Hon in ’16 and Sperling last year.
“This is an amazing honour, and no easy feat when you consider the talented group of chefs that were part of the finals,” said Kim. “I credit a lot of this to the advice and training of mentors like (Executive Chef – Signature Restaurants, Sutton Place Hotels) Alex Chen and (Boulevard Executive Chef) Roger Ma, who taught me the importance of staying calm when it comes to high-pressure culinary competitions.”
The Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Foundation is a culinary arts non-profit created to recognize and inspire young Canadian chefs, while promoting professionalism and culinary excellence within the hospitality industry. Through its national annual competition, the program provides a platform for talented young chefs to get a head start with an unparalleled opportunity to work in the country’s leading restaurants. The winner of the competition receives $10,000 and a stage at a selected top international restaurant.
“We can’t express enough how proud we are of Daniel for showing such discipline and rising to the challenge on a national stage like this,” said Chen, who was named Chef of the Year at the 2018 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. “It just speaks to the maturity, professionalism and skills that both Daniel and Connor possess and why they are such a key part of our team at Boulevard.”
ABOUT BOULEVARD KITCHEN & OYSTER BAR | Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar redefines the fine art of dining with subtle, unexpected and playful approaches to cuisine, service and style. From the all-star front-of-house team to the acute attention to detail in design to the understated elegance of the restaurant’s seafood-focused cuisine infused with casual West Coast flair, Boulevard sets forth an uncompromising standard of excellence guaranteed to capture the attention of food-savvy Vancouver residents and visitors on plate and palate alike. Paired with exceptional service, a wide-ranging selection of wine and cocktails and true European ambiance in a traditional-yet-modern setting, Boulevard — winner of the 2018 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards for Best Seafood and Best Upscale — offers breakfast (6:30 to 11 a.m.), lunch (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), dinner (5 to 11 p.m.) and late-night service until 1 a.m. seven days a week, as well as weekend brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and happy hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
ABOUT DANIEL KIM | While he has only been wearing the whites for six years, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar Chef de Partie has already established his reputation as a rising star in Vancouver’s culinary scene. Armed with creativity, style and technical skills to spare, Kim began his career in the kitchen at South Granville staple West shortly after graduating from high school in 2012. It was during his two years there as a chef de partie that Kim sampled his first taste of high-pressure culinary competitions when he helped then-Executive Chef Quang Dang secure a podium finish at the 2013 Bocuse d’Or national selection competition in Montréal. Kim joined the back-of-house brigade at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in 2015, where he was mentored by such notable chefs at Bobby Milheron, Roger Ma and Vancouver Magazine’s 2018 Chef of the Year Alex Chen. Kim bolstered his competitive skills by playing a key role in the restaurant’s wins at the 2015 and ’17 Gold Medal Plates regionals in Victoria and the 2018 Canadian Culinary Championships in Kelowna as well as Boulevard’s recent double accolades for Best Upscale and Best Seafood at the 2018 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.