Daily Bread’s Ultimate Chef Challenge

In Canada, we’re proud of the food we grow and make. Despite the wide range of great ingredients found in our country, there still exists a lack of access to food. The Daily Bread Food Bank (@DailyBreadTO)not only addresses the causes of hunger in their goal to end it, but they also provide long-term employment opportunities through the Food Services Training program and the Daily Bread Catering Kitchen.

This is the second instalment of their Ultimate Food Challenge and this time around, the sponsors list grew even longer. 

Huge thanks goes out to Campbell’s, Nutella, Corus Entertainment, Canadian Pacific, Beau’s All Natural Brewing Company, Balzac’s, Dufflet Cakes, Thistles & Twine, The Printing House, Peller Estates, Bernadin, Gwillmdale Farms, Just Energy, Point Alliance and TDBank. (I felt it was only just to list them all).  
Wines and beer were generously donated by Peller Estates and Beau's Brewery

Not only did the evening have a chef challenge in store for us, but the battling chefs also created signature dishes for everyone to sample! 
The stage is set! Corus Entertainment was a great venue. If only we got to use the slide too...

Chef Jason Parsons (of Peller Estates Winery Restaurant) created a pretty fancy signature dish: Icewine Lobster & Basil Ravioli. 

Chef Devan Rajkumar (of The Food Dudes) had probably the loudest cheering section during the challenge. His signature dish was an Asian-inspired Buttermilk Chicken Drummette.

Chef Alexandra Feswick (of Samuel J. Moore) whipped up Devils on Horseback: prunes stewed in Port, stuffed with walnuts and brie cheese, wrapped in bacon and roasted. 

The Daily Bread Food Bank’s Food Services Training program provides people “with barriers to employment an opportunity to gain valuable job skills, while at the same time providing 4,000 prepared meals a week to shelters and meal programs across the city.” That evening, we dined on many dishes prepared by the Daily Bread Catering Kitchen. There was their signature dish, Ceviche with Popped Corn and Pickled Poblano Pepper. 

Then the delicious canapés during the challenge (and the chefs’ challenge dishes too).

The a silent auction that ran the course of the evening included over 50 items/packages that were all generously donated by different organizations including two original seats from Maple Leaf Gardens! (I’m still trying to forget Monday…).

All the proceeds went to the Daily Bread Food Bank.

As everyone began to gather in the main room (which overlooks Sugar Beach; such a nice view!), Gail Nyberg, Executive Director of the Daily Bread Food Bank kicked off the challenge by welcoming and thanking everyone in attendance. Not only is the Ultimate Food Challenge is a celebration of what everyone’s support and work has achieved, but it’s also a big revenue source for the Daily Bread Food Bank! 

The panel of judges! We’ve got Arlene Dickinson (CEO of Venture Communications, also from Dragons’ Den), Leslie Roberts (journalist and news anchor for Global News), Erin Davis (radio host on 98.1 CHFI), Suman Roy (Corporate Executive Chef at Campbell’s), and Melissa Grelo (news anchor for CP24).

After 25 minutes, the chefs were ready to present their dishes (made from food normally found at food banks) to the judges. I thought it would be similar to Iron Chef, with a secret ingredient and a lot more pressure.

However, having the challenge dishes decided beforehand worked better since everyone in the audience was able to sample them, as prepared by the Daily Bread Catering Kitchen! 
People from the Daily Bread Catering Kitchen working hard all night to prepare delicious dishes for everyone.

The crowd looking on as the chefs competed in the friendly challenge. 

Here are the three chefs’ Challenge Dishes.
From left to right: Chef Parsons’ Ham, Cheddar and Potato Croquettes, Chef Feswick’s Western Falafel, and Chef Rajkumar’s Vegetarian slider. 

Not only did the judges choose an overall Chef Winner, but we got to vote for a “Fan Favourite” as well. It was great to get everyone involved

The night wrapped up with Balzac’s coffee and dessert donated by Dufflet Cakes.

There was so much work put into the Ultimate Food Challenge. Here’s to a very successful event thanks to all the sponsors and people who donated their time to make it so! Until round three of “UFC” next year, let’s keep on fighting against hunger!