by Jo Dickins

Monday is the hospitality industry’s traditional day off, and veteran cook, journalist and writer Ivy Knight has been throwing a party at The Drake Hotel in Toronto every Monday for the last year or so. On April 19, she invited a few of the city’s top chefs to a ceviche smackdown, to be judged by a packed house of their peers. Photographer Jo Dickins was there for GFR and here are her photos and notes – Malcolm Jolley, Editor

The chefs congregate in the Drake kitchen as the event begins. From left to right: Alexandra Feswick and Scott Vivian from The Wine Bar, Jason Innis from Amuse Bouche, Jamie Kennedy from Gilead Cafe.In the dining room Chef Cory Vitello from the Harbord Room catches up with Vivian and Innis, while Gilead’s Ken Steele grabs a few beers.
After exchanging pleasantries, Vivian and Kennedy warm up for serious ceviche competition with a staring contest. Chef Martin Kouprie from Pangaea gives hand modelling a try as ringleader Ivy Knight explains the rules and Vitello starts to plate.

Ceviche masters are introduced, while John Gundy prepares to shoot somebody (me?).

The feeding frenzy begins.

Vivian vocally encourages diners to vote for his team.

Team C5 uses the aggressive (possibly illegal?) tactic of passing trays through the crowd.

Cowbell’s Mark Cutrara appears fashionably late, brain-like orb of raw fishiness ready to go as Michelle Jobin films for Toronto Dining.

Diners, like Kate Makinson (far left),  revel in the application of acid to cold-blooded flesh.

The Divine Ms. Ivy Knight serenades an enraptured crowd.

Not since Florida in 2000 has there been such a close, highly scrutinered ballott, but eventually Steele and Kennedy take third and Vitello second…

Once again C5 has taken the laurel wreath at an Ivy Knight smackdown… hmmm… some attendees think it’s fishy… (get it?)

Revelry continues well into the night… Anton Potvin of the Niagara Street Cafe with some degenerate new media type, John Gundy, Arlene Stein, Ivy Knight and Alexandra Feswick.

Jo Dickins is a Toronto-based professional photographer. Find out more about Jo Dickins at

[Photo: John Gundy.]