NIPAWIN — The chef and owner of a Nipawin-area restaurant will compete in a province-wide culinary competition.
Michael Brownlee of Mabel Hill Farm Kitchen and Marketplace is one of eight Saskatchewan chefs that will participate in the Great Canadian Kitchen Party competition in Saskatoon at TCU Place on Nov. 24.
If the judges choose his dish, he will be awarded the Saskatchewan Champion for the Great Canadian Kitchen Party and will receive a ticket to Ottawa to compete against other provincial chef winners along with the bragging rights of being crowned the Canadian Champion.
Brownlee said was surprised and overwhelmed that he had been selected as one of the eight.
There will be around 300 to 350 invited guests and among those, there will be judges who taste test his dish. The contest criteria tells him to bring five sous chefs to help him prepare all his dishes.
He said has yet to decide on what he will ultimately serve the guests.
The 31 year old chef grew up in Carrot River. He has credited his grandparents and parents for knowledge and skills when it comes to gardening, farming and running his business. Brownlee said he comes from a Ukrainian background and has always been around his parents and grandparents when it came to cultivating a bountiful crop of vegetables.
Brownlee was accepted into the culinary arts program in Charlottetown and went to Holland College and was one of two recipients of the president’s award. He received his diploma in culinary arts, as well as a two year applied culinary operations diploma.
In 2018 the vision of Mabel Hill Farm Kitchen and Marketplace, a destination restaurant two kilometres east of Nipawin came to fruition.
Brownlee said that the business has not always come easy for him.
“What I am trying to bring to the clientele, is not familiar to local people. It has taken time for the public to fully embrace his cooking style because there just aren’t many restaurants like us around here or in Saskatchewan for that matter.”
Along with the pandemic in 2020, there have been a few bumps and learning curves but he feels good about his business and how it is growing now.
Mabel Hill Farm and Kitchen and Marketplace is not only a restaurant also a venue for events like weddings and other parties of all sorts.
Brownlee’s Market has a variety of fresh vegetables, canned goods, pickles, perogies, cabbage rolls, meat pies, honey, freshly made spaghettis sauce, salsa and so much more.
Brownlee employs around 15 people, depending on the season.