By Yose Cormier
For the second year in a row, a Kitchissippi chef won the Hopewell Eating Disorder Centre’s Breaking Bread Breaking Stigma sandwich competition.
Justin Champagne of Bar Lupulus followed in the footsteps of Pat Garland of Hintonburg’s Absinthe Café..
“The event was a ton of fun. I love to do things like that,” said Justin.
The event raised more than $47,000 for the centre.
Justin’s winning creation featured pulled Quebec boar pressure cooked with birch syrup, fermented crab apples, kombu, lobster mushrooms on a togarashi infused pretzel bun dusted with burnt crab apple skins and seared in lactobacillus fermented barley koji butter. The sandwich included “Champagne” grape mustard (“I used the juice from the three main varieties of grapes used in Champagne production”), 12-month-aged manchego cheese (only thing that was not made in house), pickled red onion, crispy shallots, fresh sage and lemon zest.
For the judges, Justin added an extra touch: a small package of sage wrapped in birch bark lit on fire, adding a distinct aroma to the dish.
Even Justin doesn’t know how he comes up with his creation.
“I’m not really sure. My brain starts wandering and I try to pair flavours. I don’t do things that have already been done and I don’t like to play it safe. I like to add oddness. Sometimes I just make things up as I go.”
Justin had help from his girlfriend, Amanda MacIntosh, and one of the Bar Lupulus cooks, Ian “Trout” Giles.
“Amanda must have taste-tested about a dozen different pretzel buns before the competion,” said Justin.
“It was two hours of non-stop cooking. We were moving as fast as we could, but it was a lot of fun,” he says.