by Jo Dickins
On the evening of July 26, Chef Michael Stadtländer swooped down to Toronto’s Drake Hotel from Grey County and hosted a fundraiser for his new ‘Eager Beaver’ scholarship. (Click here for Kristina Groeger’s article on the scholarship from GFR0229.) Not only did chef roast a pig, he assembled an all-star panel of judges to determine the winner of a ‘black-box-Iron-Chef-style’ chef battle between four of the city’s hottest young talents: Steve Gonzales (sous chef, Origin), Nick Liu (chef, Niagara Street Café), Kevin McKenna (chef, Globe Bistro) and Alida Solomon (chef, Tutti Matti). The winner got a trip to September’s Canadian Chefs Congress in BC. And here are the pictures to prove it*…
Chef Michael Stadtländer visits his table at the reception, upon which was placed this centrepiece. Team Stadtländer 1, Team Cute Baby Piggy 0.
Thirsty? Lovely (organic) Malivoire Chardonnay from Niagara.
Another of the three official judges, James Chatto, chats with Ivy Knight, not on her usual hostess duty on this particular Monday at the Drake; while goodies are preapred in the reception area.
Mingling in the reception area were The Drake’s Chef Anthony Rose (right) and Food Day Canada organizer Anita Stewart.
The four competing chefs started at five minute intervals so their dishes could be sampled at the correct temperature; two impossibly stylish gents, writer Jacob Richler and Jeff Stober, proprietor and founder of The Drake Hotel.
Nick Liu of Niagara Street Cafe plates his dishes while to his left, Chef Kevin McKenna of Globe Bistro + Earth works away; a close up of his beautiful plating: dig the julienne of striped radish on top and a final squirt of oil!
Walsh, Higgins and Stadtländer, Christian Morrison and Noboyu Stadtlander listen as James Chatto (seen on the screen in the background) announces the winner. By unanimous decision, Alida Solomon. Along with the glory came a free ticket to the upcoming Canadian Chef’s Congress in Cowichan Bay, B.C. this September.
*[For a blow by blow, insiders account of the evening, see James Chatto’s blog post here.]
Jo Dickins is a Toronto-based professional photographer. Find out more about Jo Dickins at jodickins.com.
[Photo: John Gundy.]