An Ottawa native, Chef Morden joins the OCC team following an illustrious career with Fairmont Hotels in both urban and resort properties that included Fairmont Château Lake Louise, Fairmont Winnipeg and most recently the Fairmont Château Laurier, where he launched his career in 1993.
The OCC underwent a rigorous recruitment process for the position of Executive Chef that included an ‘Iron Chef’ style culinary challenge where each candidate was given the same list of ingredients and then challenged to prepare a four-course meal. “We really put candidates through the wringer,” smiled OCC General Manager, Jennifer McCrary, “but considering the importance of this position, that should be expected. We were impressed by Geoffrey’s creativity and culinary knowledge, and he really wowed us with his presentation.”
Chef Morden was born in Ottawa and educated at the esteemed Stratford Chefs School. While his culinary foundations are classical French, his cooking philosophy is firmly entrenched in Canada, and focuses on taking full advantage of fresh local and regional ingredients. His menus are a reflection of his cumulative culinary knowledge, but reveal his local roots in unique and creative ways.
Taking on culinary oversight at the new Ottawa Convention Centre represents a departure for Chef Morden – one he has been preparing for his entire career. “As a food and beverage venue, the new Ottawa Convention Centre will be an absolute gem. I can’t wait to develop the OCC’s culinary vision, get into my state of the art kitchen, build my team, and get cooking!”he enthused. “The fact that the Centre is situated in Ottawa, where I grew up and returned with my young family, is a huge bonus for me. With its bounty of local and regional producers, it is an exceptional place to practice the culinary arts.”
The kitchen facilities falling under Chef Morden’s supervision will be the envy of culinary professionals everywhere. At 13,000 square feet, the expansive main kitchen will feature the latest in gastronomic technology, and will be complemented by two satellite food preparation areas on different function floors of the building. The kitchen was designed and equipped to ensure consistently superb food quality and presentation, while delivering the large volumes that OCC’s expanded venue capacity will demand.
The OCC will be a LEED-Silver certified building, and the kitchen will present many opportunities to maximize the sustainable benefits of OCC’s environmental policies and programs. One example is the kitchen pulper, which will reduce organic waste by up to 90%, with the remainder being composted.
Another noteworthy kitchen feature is the Chef’s Table, where clients can sample their own menu in the midst of the action as other meals are being prepared.
“Simply put, food is central to our success and we have planned for the best”, said OCC President Pat Kelly. “That applies not only to the design and the equipment, but also to the talented culinary professionals that will make it happen for our guests. We are excited to welcome Chef Morden to our team and look forward to sharing his culinary vision with our clients when we open our doors next April.”
Canada’s Meeting Place will open on schedule in April 2011.
The Ottawa Convention Centre is an agency of the Province of Ontario.