Blue Water Cafe – Frank Pabst hooks Silver at the Canadian Culinary Championships

Vancouver, B.C. – Following three gruelling days of competition, Blue Water Cafe’s executive chef Frank Pabst emerged with the Silver medal at the Canadian Culinary Championships in Banff, Alberta. Held at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel over this past weekend, Pabst was one of six competitors–all regional champions from Gold Medal Plates competitions in November–vying for the national title over three rounds of adrenalin-charged competition: Mystery Wine Pairing, Black Box Competition and Grand Finale.

The Mystery Wine Pairing revealed a 2005 Inniskillin Okanagan malbec, which Pabst paired with a Savoy cabbage roll filled with braised elk, pork shoulder and double smoked bacon, accompanied by a celeriac and apple purée, and served with a reduction of the wine and braising liquids.

Saturday morning’s Black Box Competition unveiled six locally-sourced ingredients to be incorporated in two dishes. With 10 minutes to plan and 50 minutes to plate nine servings of each dish, Pabst created a pork loin with Saskatoon berry gastrique sharpened with sherry vinegar, thyme and shallots, and an Alberta gouda cheese Pommes Anna. For his second dish, trout fillets arrived crusted with mustard-spiked oatmeal over onion soubise, with a crisp of the fried trout skin for textural contrast.

In the Grand Finale, Pabst honoured West Coast seafood with a triptych of Kusshi oyster, Qualicum Bay scallop and red sea urchin–an ode to his winning Vancouver Gold Medal Plates dish and annual Unsung Heroes menu, available at Blue Water Cafe until February 28th.

“I can honestly say that the competition was one of the most stressful, yet exhilarating three days of my life,” said Pabst, shortly after leaving the podium. “A huge congratulations to all of the chefs who participated, especially Hayato Okamitsu of Catch in Calgary, who took Gold. Well deserved, my friend.”

For a full summary and images, visit and, courtesy of James Chatto and Andrew Morrison respectively, both judges in the competition.


More than 100 of Chef Pabst’s award-winning recipes–including those from his Unsung Heroes menu–are featured in the Blue Water Cafe Seafood Cookbook, to be published by Douglas & McIntyre this May.

Blue Water Cafe is Vancouver’s definitive seafood restaurant located in the heart of Yaletown at 1095 Hamilton Street. Dinner is served nightly from 5:00pm – 11:00pm with late menu until midnight. For reservations call 604 688 8078 or


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Top Table Restaurant Group
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Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
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