These talented chefs did not disappoint at this year’s event, creating savoury dishes containing an element of chocolate. Each competing chef was vying for the coveted “Best Chef” award. And if their delicious food wasn’t enough, they were paired with a complimenting spirit partner, who competed for the Best Spirit award.
Meet the talented line-up of savoury chefs:
Winner of the Best Chef Award 2017 & 2015 ~ Toivo Heyduck
Best Chef Award Recipient 2017 & 2015 ~ Toivo Heyduck, The Duck Cooks
About: Chef Toivo Heyduck competed in Chopped Canada in the 2013/2014 season, completing the competition as a semi-finalist. He has worked under Chef Massimo Capra (Restaurant Makeover) and Master Chef Didier Leroy in Toronto. On the West Coast, Chef Heyduck has worked at Sooke Harbour House and has been a featured chef at the Oregon Truffle Festival (2014 through current). Heyduck has been working in remote communities where he can cook great foods and enjoy the wild outdoors. Currently, he operates The Duck Cooks catering company.
David Edigar, Toque Catering
About: David was born and raised in Port Moody, a sleepy suburb of Vancouver and came to cooking in his early 20’s. He attended the Northwest Culinary Academy and began working at Aurora Bistro, a pioneer of the “farm to table” movement in Vancouver. Aurora’s owner and chef, Jeff Van Geest, opened his eyes to the bounty of ingredients BC had to offer, from the amazing seafood in our local waters, to the stunning wild mushrooms that grow in our forests. After Aurora, he spent four years at one of Vancouver’s premier fine dining restaurants, Diva at the Met. At Diva, he honed his skills under the leadership of Executive Chefs Dino Renaerts, Quang Dang, and Hamid Salimian. He left Diva after having risen to the rank of Sous Chef.
David and his wife Erin then decided to start a family, and he began his career in catering at Culinary Capers Catering, one of the largest and most successful catering companies in Vancouver. He spent two years at CCC and learned first hand the keys to a successful catering business. His family then moved to Victoria in 2015, where he was fortunate to become part of the Toque Catering family. David brings together the skills he’s learnt to create a catering experience that goes above and beyond your expectations!
Sam Benedetto, Royal Colwood Golf Club
About: Sam Benedetto found his way to Victoria in 1995 after earning his cook’s Red Seal from Sir Sanford Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario. Subsequent years he has been fortunate enough to work in some of Victoria’s great restaurants with some of Victoria’s great chefs. Camille’s Restaurant, Sooke Harbour House and Zambia’s Restaurant to name a few. He was the head chef at the opening of Temple Restaurant before heading to London UK in 2004.
Sam returned to Victoria in 2008 and resumed cooking at Sooke Harbour House once more. In 2013 he opened his own restaurant, The Guild Freehouse to capture some of the lightening in the bottle that is exploding local craft beer industry. The cuisine was unapologetically British as a nod to his mother’s heritage. After selling The Guild, he has moved on to Royal Colwood Golf Club.
As the Executive Chef at Royal Colwood Golf Club, Sam gets to direct skilled chefs in an innovative kitchen where the Club’s members are informed diners and are excited about food. From large banquets to cooking for two in the clubhouse, Sam believes the ingredients and skills are as equally important in creating a successful experience.
Mike Dunlop, Chateau Victoria
About: Mike Dunlop earned his cooking degree from Malaspina University in 1992. Since completion of his certification, Mike has held various top culinary positions in notable Victoria establishments such as Topo’s and The Laurel Point Inn. Mike joined the culinary team at the Chateau Victoria in 1998 and has been an integral part of the team that has put Vista 18 and Clive’s Classic Lounge on the culinary map in Victoria. Mike’s achievements include numerous awards at the Grand Marneir Dessert Competition, Rib Fest and Ice Carving Competitions as well as being an active participant in helping raise funding and awareness for the “Save Madrona Farm” initiative and the ICC.
Laura Moore, Good For You Gourmet
About: Chef Laura Moore began her career as a whole foods personal chef in 1998, as the ‘Recipe Creator’ for the Fresh Piks Organics weekly newsletter. When her loyal following of recipe lovers began asking her to cook for them, privately and for special events, her passion for making and eating wholesome, natural foods, and deep green interest in the earth-friendly practices of recycling, organic gardening and composting blossomed into Victoria’s first green, whole foods personal chef and catering service. Her company, the Good For You Gourmet, offers a convenient, gourmet, whole-foods personal chef and catering service that specializes in customized menus to suit customers personal preferences and special dietary requests using natural, seasonal ingredients. ‘’I invite everyone to embrace gourmet West Coast whole foods for wellness, flavour, nutrition and presentation when they hire a caterer or personal chef’’.
Long before the ‘100 Mile Diet’ was ‘a thing’, Chef Richard was working in the food services industry, and intent on using local ingredients, cultivated direct relationships with local farmers. During his time as Director of Food And Beverage for Relais & Cháteaux property, the Aerie, they were honoured with the Conde Nast Magazines’ coveted Resort of the Year, North America. After a short break from the industry working as an independent home renovations contractor, he has returned to the food services industry with a rekindled passion for food and flavour. His company, ’Howling at the Spoon’ offers gourmet personal chef, catering and sommelier services. “I look forward to bringing amazing food and wine combinations to all of my clients.”
When these two chefs met in Fall of 2015, they began cooking for each other, and it wasn’t long before they were catering GFYG events together, learning from each others diverse kitchen skills sets. Mutual passion for good food and fabulous flavours kindled a professional friendship that led to collaborating on Flavour of Chocolate in 2016, and again this year. We look forward to bringing forth exciting taste combinations and presentation again this year!
Robert Parson, Victoria Golf Club
About: Born in Victoria, BC, Robert has always worked in the kitchen. It all started for him when he would help his mom cook dinner for his family. In high school, it was no different as he was in the cooking program every year.
Robert has worked at various restaurants in Victoria, Vancouver and the Interior of B.C. He apprenticed under Chef Nathan Waters at the Victoria Golf Club and attained his Red Seal in cooking in 2013.
When Robert is not in the kitchen, he likes to go camping, hiking and spending time with his family.
Dave Roger, Songhees Seafood & Steam
About: Chef David Roger began his culinary career more than 30 years ago in Vancouver, B.C and returned to Victoria in 2004 to open the Victoria Marriott Inner Harbour Hotel. He apprenticed at the renowned five-star Pan Pacific Hotel’s award-winning Five Sails Dining Room, working with European Chefs dedicated to perfection in all aspects of dining. Later, he continued his career at Holyburn Country Club and the Coast Victoria Harbourside Hotel & Marina’s award winning Blue Crab Bar & Grill which has been rated as one of the top seafood restaurants on Vancouver Island.
At the Marriott, he headed up the culinary team, including signature restaurant, Fire & Water Fish and Chop House, as Executive Chef and helped place the hotel as the #1 Marriott in Canada after just over a year of operation. In 2013, Chef Roger was selected as the only Canadian Marriott Chef to head to their sister property in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to open their fine dining steak house. The launch was so successful that the Canadian ambassador himself wrote Roger a letter of commendation!
2017 Pastry Chef ~ Patti Ross, Roost Winery Bistro & Farm Bakery
About: My aspirations to become a chef started at a young age while cooking with my grandmother in her kitchen on the farm. As my life progressed, I switched gears and went into Tourism at North Island College, however, culinary arts kept calling me back to the kitchen. In 2000, I received my Red Seal. Since then I have made numerous guest appearances on television and radio. A few of the coveted gourmet restaurants I’ve been fortunate enough to work at are the Salmon House On The Hill in West Vancouver for the Relais & Chateaux Hotels. My culinary career has taken me to many places but it has brought me back to the Island. My commitment to local, sustainable foods and the people has led me back to the Roost where the mandate ties into my own philosophy of health living.
Flavour of Chocolate is managed by the Westshore Soroptimist Society for Women & Families (WSSWF) to benefit community organizations supporting women and girls, including Soroptimist International of Victoria Westshore. WSSWF is a registered BC Society and is pending federal charitable status.