Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Daily Bread's Ultimate Food Challenge 2013

I had the pleasure of attending Daily Bread Food Bank's 2nd Annual Ultimate Food Challenge (#ufchallenge) last Wednesday, May 8th. Sponsored by Campbell's, Canadian Pacific, Corus Entertainment and Nutella, the "Foodie Fundraiser" was held at Corus Quay and featured live entertainment, a silent auction, and of course the highlight of the evening - a friendly culinary battle between three celebrity chefs. Over 250 guests had the opportunity to sample gourmet hors d'oeuvres served and prepared by trainees and graduates from Daily Bread's Catering Kitchen as well as signature dishes made by the three competing chefs.

Proceeds from the 2013 Ultimate Food Challenge goes to supporting Daily Bread’s Kitchen, which will provide 170,000 nutritious meals this year to shelters, schools and other meal programs serving low-income children and adults at more than 100 public and social service agencies in neighbourhoods across Toronto.

Below is a recap of the 2013 Ultimate Food Challenge:


Over 50 items were being auctioned off at the silent auction.

Wine sponsor: Peller Estates (Twitter: @PellerVQA, Facebook: Peller Estates Winery)
Beer sponsor: Beau's (Twitter: @beausallnatural, Facebook: Beau's All Natural Brewing Co.)

Guests sampled signature dishes from the competing chefs' restaurants and the Daily Bread Catering Kitchen.

Daily Bread Catering Kitchen's Signature Dish
Ceviche with Popped Corn and Pickled Poblano Pepper

 Executive Chef Jason Parsons (@ChefParsons), Peller Estates Winery Restaurant

Executive Chef Jason Parsons' Signature Dish
Icewine Lobster & Basil Ravioli made with Double Smoked Bacon, Brebis Parmesan and Sur Lie Chardonnay Cream

Executive Chef Alexandra Feswick (@Alexandfeswick), The Samuel J. Moore (@TheSamuelJMoore), The Great Hall

Executive Chef Alexandra Feswick's Signature Dish
Devils on Horseback: Prunes stewed in Port, Stuffed with Walnuts and Blue Cheese, Wrapped in Bacon and Roasted

Executive Chef Devan Rajkumar (@ChefDevan), The Food Dudes (@TheFoodDudesTO)

Executive Chef Devan Rajkumar's Signature Dish
Buttermilk Chicken Drummette with Asian BBQ Sauce, Charred Pineapple Salsa, Crispy Shallots

A welcome from Daily Bread Executive Director Gail Nyberg.


The Judges Panel (from left to right)
Arlene Dickinson (@ArleneDickinson) - Start of CBC's Dragons' Den and The Big Decision
Leslie Roberts (@lrobertsglobal) - Anchor, News Hour and News Hour Final at Global Toronto
Erin Davis (@CHFIErin) - Co-host of 98.1 CHFI's Morning Show
Suman Roy (@Chefsuman) - Executive Chef, Campbell Company of Canada 
Melissa Grelo (@melissagrelo) - Co-host, CP24 Breakfast / CP24 Anchor

With 20 minutes on the clock, each chef is required to whip up a tasty dish using only their basket of typical food bank staples (i.e. various kinds of canned goods, rice, etc.) and limited fresh ingredients. Chefs are awarded more points if they use as many basket ingredients as possible in their challenge dish.  

Guests get to vote for their Fan Favourite.

Times up!

The challenge dishes:

Chef Jason Parsons
Ham, Cheddar and Potato Croquettes

Chef Devan Rajkumar (FAN FAVOURITE)
Vegetarian Slider, Apple-Carrot-Mango Slaw, Homemade Chili Aioli, Melted Cheddar Cheese

Western Falafel: Mashed Chick Peas Rolled in Pita Crumbs, on a Bed of Sauteed Spinach, Fresh Zucchini and Peppers Salad with Pickled Squash and Seasoned Yogurt.

The night ended with lovely desserts from Dufflet (Twitter: @dufflet, Facebook: Dufflet Pastries) and coffee from Balzacs (Twitter: @Balzacs, Facebook: Balzac's Coffee).

Daily Bread Food Bank (Twitter: @DailyBreadTO, Facebook: Daily Bread Food Bank) distributed over 10.6 million pounds of food last year through more than 200 food banks and meal programs. Daily Bread provides food for an average of 66,000 visits a month to food banks, and more than 3,500 prepared meals every week. The Food Services Training Program is a 16-week training program where individuals facing barriers to employment learn valuable skills for employment in the food services industry. With five full-time professional staff onsite each day to teach and guide the trainees, this one-of-a-kind comprehensive program has successfully fostered job readiness and confidence in our trainees, both professionally and personally.