Paul Moran, Tofino Resort + Marina’s executive chef and the newly crowned Top Chef Canada, fillets a halibut for dinner guests at 1909 Kitchen last week. Moran served the premier whitefish with freshly foraged morel mushrooms and seaweed. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Tofino’s ‘Mushroom Man’ wins Top Chef Canada Season 7

Chef Paul Moran of 1909 Kitchen at Tofino Resort + Marina won the $100,000 prize and Top Chef title.

After weeks of cooking his heart out on Top Chef Canada, the nation’s most prestigious culinary competition, Tofino’s Paul Moran has emerged victorious.

Moran, the executive chef for 1909 Kitchen at Tofino Resort + Marina, celebrated the win on May 20 surrounded by family and friends at a season finale viewing party at The Hatch Waterfront Pub.

In the ‘Winner Takes All’ final episode, the judges called Moran’s dishes “sophisticated, artful, and delicious.”

They said he showed culinary maturity beyond his years. One judge hailed the crispy confit pigeon leg Moran served as his last main as “one of the best dishes he’s eaten in his life.”

“I come from a long line of foragers. My great grandma in Austria, that’s how she fed the family was foraging wild plants and mushrooms and selling them at the farmer’s market. That’s how she made a living,” said Moran, who met his fiancée Danielle in Tofino a couple years ago.

Originality and cooking philosophy, notes Moran, is likely what made that fine difference between winning the title of Top Chef Canada and the $100,000 grand prize and packing up his knives empty handed.

“Obviously, the win is good for myself, but it’s also great for everyone that works here and it’s good a testament to all their hard work. Without the team, I wouldn’t be where I am; I wouldn’t have been able to go to that. I’m super appreciative of the team that we have here and happy to be a little bit more visible in the community,” said Moran, adding that the food and beverage team at Tofino Resort + Marina is about 75 people strong.

The seventh season of Top Chef Canada was filmed last September and October.

“It’s a long time to keep a secret like that,” said Moran, who had to sign a confidentiality agreement with Food Network Canada. At the casting audition in Vancouver, Moran made the judges a wild mushroom dish.

“That was it. They told me I was on a few weeks after that.”

Tofino’s Lisa Ahier, executive chef at the award-winning Sobo Restaurant, attended the season final viewing party. She told the Westerly News she thought Moran would be the winner from day one.

“I think he’s fantastic. I think he’s a nice, young man. He’s worked very hard and his heart’s in the right place,” Ahier said.

“I know his background. I know how he’s trained. I know how he is with his family. I know how he is as a human. All those factors are top chef qualities. He’s not a one flash in pan. From dessert to appies to fish to foraging… he’s got all of it.”

“What I really liked was his family connection. I think with food it’s from the heart and if you don’t connect your food to your heart and your family I just don’t think it translates to as many people,” she said.

Moran said it was great to see everyone show up for the viewing party.

“We had a lot of support from a lot of the local restaurants and businesses here in town. A lot of our local guests who have been supportive since we opened. So far, I’ve been getting a lot of positive feedback from people in the community to say the least,” he said.

As for being $100k richer, Moran said he doesn’t have much planned for the loot quite yet.

“We’ll see what happens in the future. I’m committed to staying here in Tofino and here at 1909,” said Canada’s Top Chef, also known as the ‘Mushroom Man’.

READ MORE: Vancouver Island restaurant among Canada’s most sustainable

READ MORE: Lil’ Ronnie opens new barbeque joint in Tofino

CanadaFoodTofino,

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coastal GasLink agrees to two-day pause of pipeline construction in Morice River area

Work will stop once Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs begin talks with province and feds

RCMP cease patrols on Morice West Service Road

Withdrawal opens door for talks today between hereditary chiefs, province and federal gov

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs call for end of police patrols

Temporary closure of field office not enough to meet demands

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

What’s happening: Coronavirus forges on, as world hunts solutions

Japan closes all elementary, middle and high schools until spring holidays in late March

RCMP to stop providing security for Prince Harry and Meghan

Public safety minister says RCMP has been helping UK police intermittently since November

Should you shave your beard to stop COVID-19? The U.S. CDC has a guide

Facial hair could be a big no-no if COVID-19 reaches pandemic status

First arrests made at BC Legislature after Wet’suwet’en supporters spray chalk on property

Legislature security arrested two people, allegedly for mischief

Canada’s 13th coronavirus case confirmed as husband of 12th patient

More than 81,000 cases of COVID-19 have occurred since the virus emerged in China

Shuswap boy wins hockey stick from NHL hero with rock, paper, scissors

Chase’s Payton Koch’s exchange with Minnesota Wild’s Kevin Fiala caught on camera

Surrey will replace its RCMP force with municipal police, province confirms

City of Surrey has been authorized to set up its own city police force

UPDATE: Son, 5, dies in hospital after crash that killed dad, older son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Most Read