Chef Tyler Leeson goes over the menu for the IPE Iron Chef competition with his mother

Local chef ranks among the top in Iron Chef

Tyler Leeson is once again among the big winners of the IPE Iron Chef competition in Armstrong.

During the Labour Day long weekend many residents of Nakusp were preparing to go back to school.

For Tyler Leeson, head chef of the Kingfisher Restaurant at Halcyon Hot Springs, preparations were of a different sort.

Once again, Leeson took part in the Interior Provincial Exibition Iron Chef Competition in Armstrong.

As always, the competition is a 100 km competition, meaning all the ingredients have to come from within 100 kilometres.

“We had to use sumac, which is a type of tree,” said Leeson. “It’s got a great flavour, sort of smokey and lemony, it kind of goes with everything.”

Other ingredients included pork cheek, chanterelles, goji berries, and dried cranberry skins.

Leeson’s partner in last year’s competition, Josh, wasn’t able to compete this year, so instead, he turned the competition into a family affair, taking his mother, Jan, and brother, Dylan, as his team members.

“Working with my brother and my mom was awesome, it was a lot of fun,” he said.

Though Leeson and his family worked hard, they weren’t able to score high enough on the first day to compete in the finals, and wound up competing on the second day for third place, which they won.

On day two, they decided to do a breakfast, lunch, and dinner theme.

The first course was a sumac and potato cake, with a poached duck egg yolk, and a bison bacon chip, topped with micro greens. The second course was a chanterelle and sumac soup with a choopatie and blue cheese crisp. Third course was a blue cheese polenta with roasted pork cheek and tomato salad, and a plum upside down cake with whipped yogurt and sun dried cranberry skins.

Though Leeson would like to compete again next year, he said it all depends on staffing levels.

“This year I almost couldn’t go because we’re having a bit of a labour shortage, so for me to take three days off in the busiest weekend of the year was a little tricky,” he said. “I would like to, we’ll see.”