Chef Mike DiBiase, whose family owns and operates the Grand Chalet Event Venue in Milton, is headed to Luxembourg in November to participate in the Culinary World Cup.
In 2016, he was invited to join a team of six professional chefs to represent Ontario at the Culinary Olympics in Germany, where the team won a silver medal for its culinary dishes.
In the World Cup competition, which runs between Nov. 24-28, DiBiase will be with the same team as they go for the gold.
This time, in addition to being part of the team competition, he is entered as a single competitor responsible for preparing a five-course meal on his own.
“We know our menus beforehand but we have guidelines like how many grams each course should be. We discussed the menu together, then we start practising. We’ve been practising about a year now; we want to make sure we execute it right so there are no glitches.”
“There is a lot of knowledge on the team, so everybody has input.”
Among the up to 1,600 chefs at the competition, there are “a lot of big name chefs from all over the world, a lot of culinary teachers; all major schools are there so there are students competing.”
During his first experience with hundreds of chefs from dozens of countries at the Culinary Olympics, he “might have been a little nervous,” but not so much this time as he knows what to expect.
“There’s lots of support; we all help each other. I just want to do as well as I can.”
DiBiase began his life in the hospitality business as a kid when his father opened the Luguna banquet hall in Mississauga after many years in the catering business.
“I was 19. My father sat us down and said, ‘I’m opening this banquet hall and I want you guys (DiBiase and his brother) to help. I was all in because I always enjoyed it (hospitality).”
“I was more interested in the service part of it. I would book the bands, the weddings, the customers.”
In 2000, the family changed locations taking over the large Milton banquet hall located on Steeles Avenue East.
“from that point I managed the whole place. My parents always enjoyed being in the kitchen; I would cook as well to help out. I was always watching them cook as I grew up. I pretty much learned hands on to be honest; you see things and you pick it up. It became easy and I also enjoyed it.”
DiBiase has been in the kitchen fulltime in the nine years since his father died.
About two years ago a chef friend asked him to join the Ontario team for the Culinary Olympics, an offer he never expected, but couldn’t refuse.
And now it’s on to Luxembourg.
The team will host a Chef’s Charity Gala Friday, Sept. 28 at the Grand Chalet featuring an antipasto buffet and three-course dinner. Tickets are $120 each. For more information, call 905-878-7934.
by Kathy Yanchus