On Friday, the executive chef of the Waters Edge and his team at the Delta Prince Edward Hotel were busy with major food preparations.
“We have 400 for lunch and 400 for dinner and in between there’s just small function, but still I want to make sure the best food goes forward,” says Alarco.
At the same time, he was expected to attend the P.E.I. International Shell Fish Festival launch, in partnership with Best of the Sea, at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino, where a special announcement was about to be made.
In what could only be called split second timing, Alarco arrived at the exact moment to see a video announcing his win as the 2017 Chic Chef of the Year by Best of Sea. The chef also took time to speak to the enthusiastic audience waiting for him and answering questions before heading back to the hotel before a busy noon hour.
“Winning this is a tremendous honour, representing the Island, utilizing the local seafood, which is incredible, is a great privilege, encompassing everything we have to offer,” says Alarco who, like cream, rose to the top during a month-long competition involving 16 of P.E.I.’s top chefs.
His ability to work under pressure will help him when he takes the 12th spot in the Garland Canada International Chef Challenge when it returns to the P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival in September.
“It’s a privilege and an honour to represent the Island on this fantastic culinary dream.”
The competition is the festival’s most prestigious event and gets underway on Sept. 15 with the semi-finals on Sept. 16 and finals on Sept. 17. Food Network’s Chef Lynn Crawford will return as a head judge, along with other judges soon to be announced.
“It’s going to be interesting. It’s a black box (competition) so as soon as we know what the ingredients are we can start focusing on (what we will create). But right now, we don’t have a clue.”
For Alarco, the creative process begins as soon as he learns what’s in the box.
“It’s a muscle memory thing. As soon as you see what the product is you start thinking ‘what you’ve done in the past?’ and ‘how can I influence that for the future?’ ”
At a glance
P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival
-When and where: Sept. 14-17, Charlottetown.
- Entertainment: Headliners include Gordie McKeeman and his Rhythm Boys and the Big Bad Party Band on Friday, Sept. 15, Trinity Bradshaw and Signal Hill, Sept. 16 and Matt Minglewood on Sept. 17.