Cook­ing un­der pres­sure

Ex­ec­u­tive chef Javier Alarco an­nounced as 2017 Chic Chef of the Year

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY SALLY COLE COM­MU­NITY

Javier Alarco knows how to work un­der pres­sure.

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?’ ”

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