Last week, we attended the Daily Bread Food Bank’s “Ultimate Food Challenge” for the second year in a row. Last year apparently proved to be quite successful, as this year the event was much more grandiose. Hosted at the Corus Quay building and sponsored by Campbell’s, Nutella, and Canadian Pacific, they raised $90,000. This is one of my personal favourite events of the year, as I have a soft spot for the Daily Bread Food Bank. Working so hard everyday to feed people in need, what they do is amazing as it’s hard to believe that people are still going hungry in Toronto and throughout Canada.
The Ultimate Food Challenge is put together especially for the Daily Bread Food Bank’s kitchen programs, which provide 170,000 nutritious meals annually to shelters, schools and other meal programs serving low-income children and adults at more than 100 community agencies in neighborhoods across Toronto. The theme of the event this year was a competition that combined elements of the Food Network’s Chopped and Iron Chef. The competing chefs were Jason Parsons (Executive Chef, Peller Estates Winery Restaurant), Alexandra Feswick (Executive Chef, The Samuel J. Moore at The Great Hall) and Devan Rajkumar (Executive Chef, Bosch & Branding Chef, Food Dudes).
They were given a list of hamper box ingredients and had 25 minutes to create the best dish. While last year, the event was hosted at George Brown College and had a very up close and personal feel, this year it was much grander featuring the three chefs on a large stage, large TV screens and celebrity judges who included Arlene Dickinson (CBC’s Dragons’ Den and The Big Decision), Melissa Grelo (Co-Host, CP24 Breakfast), Erin Davis (Co-Host, CHFI’s Morning Show), Leslie Roberts (Anchor, News Hour and News Hour Final on Global Toronto) and Suman Roy (Executive Chef, Campbell Company of Canada).
After an intense 25 minutes, the judges sampled the three dishes and chose Alexandra Feswick’s Western Falafel using chickpeas, spiced yoghurt and lentils as the winning dish. Guests also got in on the action having the opportunity to sample the three dishes as well and choosing Devan Rajkumar’s Vegetarian Slider (pita bread, cheese, canned pineapple) as the “Fan Favourite.” The third dish created was a ham and cheddar croquette by Jason Parsons and it was delicious as well – tough competition!
The evening was such fun and had an amazing vibe. Check out the competition here…