by Jo Dickins

On the evening of February 28, at Parts and Labour on Parkdale’s Queen Street strip, The Stop Community Food Centre launched it’s March-long Stop for Food program. Participating restaurants (click here for the full list) across Toronto will give a portion of the price of a special prix-fixe menu directly to The Stop. To make the party interesting, two teams of young chefs, each led by one of Parts and Labour’s two chefs, Matty Matheson and Matt deMille, competed in a competition using $500 of donated Fiesta Farms groceries. Your humble correspondent had the honour of a place at the judges table with none other than Chef Fergus Henderson and his partner at St. John, London, Trevor Gulliver along with local food writers Sasha Chapman, Ivy Knight and Karon Liu. Jo Dickins was there with camera to take the following pictures. – Malcolm Jolley, Ed.

It seems nobody enjoys a good belly laugh like judge and über-food writer Sasha Chapman, who seems to truly enjoy the power entrusted to her decide whose team reigns supreme...


Judge and special guest of the evening, and of the following two days (for the Terroir Symposium and its associated revelry) Fergus Henderson, with Ivy Knight. Setting the cool specs bar quite high.


The two teams of chefs were asked to prepare appetizers in the following categories: meat, vegetable, fish, dessert and wild card. Here Parts and Labour's Matty Matheson ably spreads something or other on toast!


The Stop’s Roz Heintzman chats with the recently hirsute Malcolm Jolley, representing Good Food Revolution on the judges panel, who when prompted supplied the meaty terms “generous” and “determined” to describe chefs. Yawn.


Arlene Stein, director of programming at Evergreen, and mastermind of the Terroir symposium, makes of herself a delicious manwich comprising Chicago writer, broadcaster and Terroir speaker, Steve Dolinsky and Chef Cory Vitiello from the Harbord Room


Members of teams A and B (yawn again) each carved out a corner of the Parts & Labour kitchen to make their dishes, while a video feed caught the action for the guests in the dining space. From foreground to background: Bertrand Alépée, the Stop’s Chris Brown, C5’s Ted Corrado, Torrito's Luis Valenzuela, Parts and Labour’s Matt deMille, and Cowbell’s Ryan Donovan.


The room was packed with hungry and thirsty Stop Community Food Centre supporters.


MC and F-bomb dropper Kevin Brauch putting judges on the spot for a little flavoured commentary.


A cheffy crowd: Stop for Food participants Renée Bellefeuille (Oyster Boy) and Andrew Milne-Allan (Zucca Trattoria) chat with Roz. And what charitable food event in Toronto would be complete without Steam Whistle on hand? Thanks guys! And merci to Château des Charmes who poured the wine!


The original 'Good Food Fighter', The Stop’s Executive Director Nick Saul thanks guest, judges, sponsors and chefs while reminding us of the work of his team’s fabulous organization. You can support them by dining this month at a participating restaurant in the Stop for Food event. It’s a win-win.


Team A, led by Matty Matheson, explains their dishes.


Some chefs come with halos. Others with tattoos and devil horns. Matt deMille accepts victory for team B.

Jo Dickins is a Toronto photographer who covers the local food moment community for Good Food Revolution. She also has a day job working with Jamie Kennedy and with whom she is working on a book project and other exciting culinary ventures. Photo: John Gundy.