KELOWNA, BC (February 5, 2018) — Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar Executive Chef Alex Chen struck gold yet again and claimed the crown as the nation’s foremost chef at the 12th annual edition of the Canadian Culinary Championships, which took place in Kelowna, BC on February 2 and 3.

Chen was one of 11 chefs who won Gold Medal Plates regional competitions held across the country in 2017 to earn the right to compete in the national championships, which began with a Mystery Wine pairing event on Friday night and continued Saturday with a Black Box competition that allowed chefs just one hour to prepare a dish using seven mystery ingredients.

The two events culminated in Saturday night’s grand finale, where Chen prepared the same signature Parfait of Wild BC Shellfish, ‘Chowder’, Northern Divine Caviar and Bull Kelp ‘Brioche’ — paired with Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards’ 2016 Ortega from Pender Island, BC — that earned him top spot at the Gold Medal Plates regional competition in Victoria, BC last October.

Chen, who took bronze at the 2016 edition of the Canadian Culinary Championships, was joined on the podium by Michelin-starred chef Éric Gonzalez of Montreal’s L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, who won silver, and bronze medalist Barry Mooney of Halifax's Gio.

“This year we had one leader emerge out of the Mystery Wine event, then after the Black Box we had two chefs up front while bronze was still wide open,” said National Culinary Advisor and renowned food critic James Chatto, who presided over the judging panel. “As we headed into the finale we wondered if the two leading chefs would stumble. They did not.”

Chen is more than familiar with high-pressure culinary championships, having led Team Canada to a top-10 finish at the renowned Bocuse d’Or in Lyon, France in 2013 and his Boulevard team to double wins at the 2015 and ’17 editions of the BC Gold Medal Plates in Victoria. The same can be said for Chen’s sous chef Connor Sperling, who took first place at the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship competition in Toronto last October. Also on board at the Kelowna competition was Boulevard Chef de Cuisine Roger Ma, who won both the 2015 Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown and the 2016 Curry Cup in Vancouver.

“I am extremely humbled and could not have achieved this great honour without the support of my incredible team of Boulevard chefs and our providers, which includes Fanny Bay Oysters, Sea Star Vineyards and Northern Divine Caviar,” said Chen. “This was a truly a team effort, and as thrilled as I am to accept this award, my sincere gratitude goes out to my talented team who persevered through the pressure to deliver on my behalf. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and we’re extremely excited to bring this home not just for Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar but for all of BC.”

The Canadian Culinary Championships is the grand finale of the annual Gold Medal Plates, a coast-to-coast project that celebrates homegrown excellence in food, wine, sport and entertainment and has raised more than $12 million for the Canadian Olympic Foundation, which supports Olympic athletes and high-performance programs such as Own The Podium.

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Toronto, January 31, 2018 – SOCAN, the largest organization in the Canadian music industry, realized new record revenues accumulated and distributed in 2017 for its songwriter, composer and music publisher members, but did so with a large dose of realism, revealing that the vast majority of members who received payment for their streamed music in 2017 earned an average of only $38.72[1] despite a growth of 46 percent in Internet-based revenues over 2016.

"SOCAN as an organization is collecting and distributing more royalties than ever because of the incredible work of our domestic and international licensing teams and, frankly, everyone within SOCAN.  Investments in technology and our ability to match data with members' songs have played a big role as well. However, we are restrained with our celebrations," said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. "As a new area of growth, streamed music continues its rapid uptake, resulting in a 46 percent increase in revenues, but, if original music is to thrive or even survive in Canada, overall remuneration for digital music must be corrected to be commensurate with the contributions of music creators and publishers as well as its importance to music fans from coast to coast to coast."

According to preliminary financial results,[2] SOCAN's revenues collected for its nearly 150,000 member songwriters, composers and music publishers continued to accelerate, due mainly to long-term investments in leading-edge technologies, strategic acquisitions and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Estimated highlights include:

  • Total performing rights revenues in 2017 of more than $350-million, a 6.4% increase over 2016 and the first time exceeding $350-million.
  • Total distribution of royalties to SOCAN members of more than $300-million for the first time in the organization's history.
  • Domestic revenue of $274-million, an increase of 4.5% over last year's record, and a 35% increase since 2012.
  • A 46% increase in Internet audio streaming revenues compared with 2016, with $49.3-million realized.
  • Royalties from non-Canadian sources of more than $75-million, now the #1 revenue stream for SOCAN members, reflecting the incredible strength of Canadian talent and SOCAN's repertoire. This marks a 60% increase since 2012.

"SOCAN is collecting more overall on almost every level," Baptiste added. "Our investment in artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies position it at the forefront of the music rights industry now, providing a positive path to the future. Canada's and the world's music creators and publishers are receiving more of what they have earned; however, in most cases those amounts are too small because of frequently unfair royalty rates that are not commensurate with the true value of their creative intellectual property."

The company added that the substantial increase in international royalties collected and distributed can be attributed to the impressive performance of members' works worldwide, a favourable exchange rate, and the efforts of SOCAN's International Relations and Membership teams.


[1] Average annual streaming revenues (including both digital Internet and digital audio-visual performances) distributed to a SOCAN member who earned royalties in 2017.

[2] Estimates; final figures will be determined following the March 2018 meeting of the SOCAN Board of Directors.


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