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Responsible for implementing a unique culinary vision at the OCC marked by creativity and ingenuity, the opportunity to lead the new centre’s culinary direction represents an artistic leap Chef Morden said he has been preparing for his entire career.

“As a state-of-the art food and beverage venue in the Nation’s Capital, the new Ottawa Convention Centre is an absolute gem,” said Chef Morden. “It is a privilege to develop a unique OCC culinary vision, to take the gastronomic experience in a highly-sophisticated kitchen to a new level, and to build a tremendous team who will create and work together seamlessly. The Ottawa-Gatineau region is a chef’s dream, with an endless bounty of exceptional local and regional producers. Watch how we are able to use this advantage to showcase the best of culinary arts in Canada today”.

The custom-built OCC kitchen facilities are impressive, comprising over 1,200 square metres. The expansive main kitchen is the centre of the action, featuring the latest in gastronomic technology, and complemented by two dynamic satellite food preparation areas on different floors of the building. Designed and equipped to ensure maximum efficiency and consistently superb food quality, the kitchen can offer up gourmet fare for up to 6000 people, doubling OCC’s capacity from its former facility.

The OCC kitchens capitalize on the sustainable benefits of OCC’s environmental policies and programs. The kitchen ‘pulper’, for example, will reduce organic waste by up to 90 per cent, with the remainder being composted on site.

“The kitchen will also feature the discrete Chef’s Table, a popular culinary trend allowing clients to preview and sample their own menu selection as the dishes are being prepared for other clients at the OCC, “said Jim Durrell, Chair of the OCC Board. “Our clients will experience the first-hand the exceptional hospitality Ottawa is known for in its many festivals and celebrations.”

In a public cooking preview today, Chef Morden prepared a number of sample dishes planned for the new OCC menu, including Ottawa Farms Grilled Lamb Rack Popsicles with Flamed Niagara Pear and Cranberry Chutney, Merlot Glaze, and Young Arugula. Next he prepared Macartney Farms Leek and Butternut Squash Cardamom Soup Shooter with Saffron Foam, and ended with Seared Digby Scallops with White Bean Puree, and Suntech Farms Tomato Vinaigrette.

“Simply put, top-quality food is central to our success and we have planned for the best,” said OCC President Patrick Kelly. “That applies not only to the state-of-the-art kitchen design and equipment, but also to the talented culinary professionals who are ready to make it happen for our guests. We are thrilled to welcome Chef Morden to our team and look forward to sharing his culinary vision with our clients when we open our doors this April.”

The OCC, known as ‘Canada’s Meeting Place’, will open on schedule in April 2011. The exterior of the building was officially “sealed up’ in January 2011.

The Ottawa Convention Centre is an agency of the Province of Ontario.