Photos by Jo Dickins, text by Malcolm Jolley

Kevin Brauch riles up the crowd at C5 with Jamie Kennedy and fellow chefs.

Last year a loose association of young, fine dining chefs and their restaurants raised $40,000 for The Stop Community Food Centre. So, what did Crosstown Kitchens decide to do when it was time to present their cheque? They organized another fundraiser to kick-start another year of fundraising and invited industry legend Chef Jamie Kennedy to cook off against Chef Teddy Corrado on his home turf: the Royal Ontario Museum’s C5 restaurant. The Crosstown Kitchens chefs split between the two team leaders and presented an all appetizer selection of food cooked exclusively from the shelves of independent grocer Fiesta Farms. The rub? The chef teams had exactly $500 and not a second more than 30 minutes to gather the food and plan their menus earlier that morning. Crosstown Kitchens continues to do its good work this month with an all new Stop for Food program:  participating restaurants (click here for a complete list) will feature a $50 or $35 prix fixe from March 1 to 31 and $10 or $5, respectively, will go directly to The Stop’s innovative food programs which feed thousands.

Photographer Jo Dickins captured the mood on February 22, as Iron Chef America’s Kevin Brauch led the evening’s competition on behalf of a to-capacity crowd and a panel of notbale judges including journalists Sasha Chapman, James Chatto and Ivy Knight, activist, organizer and culinary scene maker Arlene Stein and your humble correspondent. Refreshments were supplied by Niagara’s Chateau des Charmes winery and Toronto’s Mill Street Brewery. Revelry abounded. Here’s how it looked seen through Dickins’ lens.

James Chatto, and The Stop's Cheryl Roddick and Nick Saul

Chef Team Corrado: Scott McNeill and Chris Brown from The Stop, Luis Valenzuela from Torito, Teddy Corrado, and Bertrand Alepee from Amuse Bouche.

Chef Team Kennedy: Jamie Kennedy and Ken Steele from JK Kitchens, Jason Innis from Amuse Bouche, Anthony Davis from the Roosevelt Room and Daisuke Izutsu from Kaiseki Sakura.

A mushroom pastry from Team Kennedy.

A chorizo morsel from Team Corrado

The crowd jostles to taste each dish.

Hard work: judges Sasha Chapman, James Chatto, Malcolm Jolley, Ivy Knight and Arlene Stein deliberate.

A winner: Team Corrado wins a bucket of Mill Street beer in a close competition.

Magnanimous in defeat, Jamie Kennedy congratulates Corrado, vowing to meet again on the fields of canape battle.

The weary Crosstown Kitchen warriors relax before preparing their prix fixe menus for the dining public all this month.

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

[Photo: John Gundy.]