This past Winterlicious, fellow blogger Gastroworld invited me along to the 2nd Annual Tin Chef Challenge held at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village, Toronto – a special event held as part of the annual foodie festival.
If Iron Chef and MasterChef had a baby, it would be Tin Chef – a live cooking competition where budding home cooks displayed their culinary prowess, wooing a panel of local, celeb chef judges with their delectable creations. Hosted by Chef Donna Dooher, the competition was judged by three of Toronto’s most prominent chefs – Paul Brans of O&B Restaurants, Alida Solomon of Tutti Matti, and Saverio Macri of Ciao Wine Bar.
Having never attended a live cooking competition, this was a bit of a treat for me. We watched anxiously as the mystery ingredient was revealed – a rack of lamb – and the competition kicked off to an energetic start. Armed with only their trusty utensils, the five contestants were given one hour to create an award-winning dish.
And they hit the ground running…quite literally!
With a seat right next to the pantry shelf, we sat back and watched excitedly as the contestants scrambled to grab ingredients.
As the contestants hit their prep stations, the magic of slicing, dicing, chopping and seasoning began, and it wasn’t long before the incredible scent of various styles of cooked lamb wafted through the air from all sections of the sprawling restaurant.
With so many guests hovering over the cooking station, it was difficult to watch the contestants at work. The rest of us took the opportunity to mingle with fellow foodies and enjoy a steady flow of incredible hors d’ouevres. Those beef sliders were the clear winner!
This culinary event was a lot of fun and felt very much like being on a low-budget version of a Food Network competitive cooking show. My discounted ticket (on account of accompanying a member of the media) was $25 plus tax (regularly $45), and included hors d’ouevres and a signed copy of Chef Donna Dooher’s award-winning “Out to Brunch” cookbook.
Brownie points for the swag.
While we may not have had the opportunity to try any of the contestants’ culinary creations, here’s hoping that the winning dishes will some day find their way into Toronto’s eclectic menus.