PG's Chef Challenge Dinner with host Bob Blumer


In August of 2015, Prince George hosted the Northern Taste Market at the BC Northern Exhibition, with its most memorable highlight being the Iron Ore Chef Challenge where the city’s best greatest chefs gathered for a head-to-head competition mirroring those found on television hosted by flamboyant hosts spouting memorable catch-phrases. 

Northern Taste was lucky to boast such a presenter in the form of Bob Blumer—host of Food Network's The Surreal Gourmet, Glutton for Punishment, and World's Weirdest Restaurants.  With Bob as emcee, the original Iron Ore brought together the head chefs of favorite local spots such as Twisted Cork, North 54, and White Goose Bistro.  After three days, Ryan Cyre and his team from White Goose emerged victorious. 

The event proved such a hit that Bob returned for a repeat a year later, seeing the return of Ryan’s team along with new competitors from Shiraz and EZ Meals, though it was the meteoric rise of chef Dawna Laramee from the amateur division that drew the crowds.  Ultimately, the winner fell to Jagdish Gill and her team from Karahi King, boasting unique dishes that would eventually find themselves on the restaurant’s menu that patrons can still order today. 

Which brings us to the present, and the PG’s Chef Challenge Dinner, hosted on May 10th.  Four of Prince George's top restaurants faced off in a multi-course dinner with Bob Blumer again graciously returning to host. 

And this time, it was for charity, raising money for the Prince George Hospice Society.  Each chef presented their original dish as part of an overall meal, concluding with an original dessert from Blumer himself.  Throughout the evening, Bob interviewed chefs and attendants; no panel of judges this year—the audience alone decided the victor.

This fundraiser dinner featured the culinary talents of…

Ryan Cyre from White Goose.  A fixture in the Prince George culinary scene, Chef Ryan’s restaurant was named one of Canada’s Top 25 restaurants by enRoute magazine, and he is a winner of the Farmer’s Market Chef Challenge and the Golden Cork Award.


Brian Quarmby of Betulla Burning.  Heralding from world famous vacation spots like the Sonora Resort and Mission Hill Winery, Brian eventually landed at local hot spot Nancy O’s.  It didn’t take long before he took charge next door at Prince George’s most famous pizzeria.


Jim Demarce of The Twisted Cork.  Jim works at Twisted Cork, a restaurant stemmed from a concept of upscale home cooking, comfort food with a twist.  


Jagdish Gill from Karahi King.  Jagdish operates not only one of the most famous restaurants in town, but arguably one of the most famous Indian restaurants in all of BC, proudly display awards to prove it.  And yet, Jagdish still prides herself claiming Karahi King as a simple neighborhood restaurant. 


Unlike other fundraisers, often aristocratic and starched, this evening became relaxed and fun as Bob lightened the crowed, culminating in a relay race where contestants were forced to separate eggs, eat hot peppers, and carry wine and two glasses on a platter around the room.  However, in the end, everyone gathered around Bob as he revealed the winning chef of the competition.  It was a close race, but in the end, Brian Quarmby from Betulla Burning emerged victorious.  His rivals will not let that stand, and I hope this new format food challenge returns.

Chris Dias