Contest: Tell Me Your Canadian Chef Obsession, Win Dinner at Fabbrica

Almost Famous Chef logoIn celebration of this year’s S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition, San Pellegrino has given me a $150 Gift Certificate to Chef Mark McEwan’s Fabbrica to give away to one of you.  Well, one of you who is brave enough to tell me about your Chef Obsession.

Tell me about your favourite Canadian Chefs – each chef you tell me about gets you another entry in the random draw. You don’t have to know them personally, but you do need to tell me something about them and why you are obsessing over them (or they are your favourites).

I won’t judge, lord knows I have occasionally confessed to my own Chef obsessions here.  For example, Chef Mark McEwan is certainly one of the Chefs in town who I admire.  In addition to being a great Chef, supporting S. Pellegrinos’ Almost Famous Chef Competition, providing sold mentoring to his team, hosting Top Chef Canada, Mark is also a Second Harvest Ambassador and long-time supporter of Toronto Taste which I’m involved in running.

He’s also a really nice guy.  I loved seeing him at S. Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition making time to talk to each of the competitors.  And even to pose with them if their parents were nearby and wanting to take a photo.    Chef Mark McEwan at S. Pellegrino's Almost Famous Chef Competition

I’d probably even say I’m a fan since I start every conversation with him by awkwardly saying “Hi, you don’t know me but…” and generally being a little goofy.

Lex & Mark @ San Pellegrino's Almost Famous Chef's Competition

Okay, enough about my Chef obsession… Your turn to spill.

Here’s How to Enter (aka the hoop):

Tell me about your favourite Canadian Chefs:

  • in comment below in the original contest post on unsweetened.ca
  • OR via twitter in reply to this post with the hashtag #AFChef13 #ChefObsession
  • OR in the comments for this post on unsweetened.ca’s Facebook Page
  • OR in the comments for this post on Google+

Details

  • Yes, you can enter through multiple social media spaces, but you only get one entry per Canadian Chef you mention no matter which method you use.
  • For the purposes of this contest “Canadian Chef” is defined as a professional Chef who is Canadian OR a professional Chef currently working in Canada.

Deadline:

  • all entries must be received before midnight Thursday March 14th, 2013 (EST) to be eligible

Prize:

  • $150 Gift Certificate to Fabbrica in Toronto, courtesy of San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition

fabbrica_logo_sm

The Winner:

  • will be selected Friday March 15th through a random draw from all the people who jumped through the hoop.
  • Will be contacted March 15th.

SP and AP beauty shot hi res

So, who is your favourite chef?



About

is an author, entrepreneur, and content strategist based out of Toronto. She knows three things really well: technology, food and people and has established a strong reputation in a number of overlapping online communities. Alexa is the founder of CheapEats Restaurant Guides, HoHoTO, and the Secret Pickle Supper Club


67 comments
AlexaClark
AlexaClark moderator

We had 2 additional entries via twitter before the contest closed: 

Linda Matarasso @IntegrityFilms --  #AFChef13 #ChefObsession One of my FAV Canadian Chefs is Mark McEwan who once told me I should move if I want to be near his restos.

Laura Schofield @animalwuman -- #AFChef13 #ChefObsession -my favourite Canadian Chef is Chef Michael Smith because he gives practical suggestions when cooking for children.


Alexa Clark
Alexa Clark

AND the contest is closed. Final tallies and draw will be done today! Let the drum roll begin!

Debra Lawson
Debra Lawson

I confess. Who isnt in love with Mark M. And like you I always intoduce myself with "you probably dont remember me....

But 15 years ago when I thought I could cook, my husband gave me cooking courses for my birthday with a fairly unknown chef (off the island) at the time - there had been a write up about him in The Globe and he was offering weekend courses at Inn at Bay Fortune. How wonderful for both of us! My husband could play golf and I would be with a group of people who LOVED everything about cooking. We arrived and it seemed oddly quiet; however we checked in and I knocked at the kitchen door. A very tall man with waist length hair in a pony tail answered and it was obvious in a few short minutes that we had not received the cancellation call.

Michael Smith promptly said "well then, no problem, I guess you're getting one on one cooking lessons and because we have restaurant guests, tomorrow you can help out in the kitchen".

What a gift. Chef Smith took me through his entire lessons with such sincerity as if picking watercress and driving down to the lobsterman and choosing dinner with a complete stranger was just the way you did it in PEI. Between the tallest salad in the world and the cabernet tart, I knew then that what you eat is just as important -and tastes better- when you know where it comes from - and particularly when its made by someone who truly understands and loves cooking! The fact that he was very charming was an added benefit I kept saying to my husband after his weekend of golfing. Chef Smith is a perfectionist in his kitchen and to this day whenever I serve his Bay Fortune Chowder, I remember how important it is to make your guests feel special.

Colleen Cole
Colleen Cole

My favourite chef is actually a chef duo: Franz and Esther Hochholdinger. They own two restaurants in Mississauga. The Apricot Tree in Erin Mills, which is their first restaurant, was opened in 1993. I remember travelling from Scarborough out to Erin Mills at the time to have lunch with my sister. They have always had an open concept kitchen, and back then, the location was very, very small - it sat less than twenty people. My sister ordered a schnitzel and while we were waiting for our lunch the kitchen suddenly errunpted the with sound of rapid pounding! I cracked up. You know your food is fresh when you hear it being prepared!

The menu back then was a small chalkboard tucked into a corner of the restaurant. As they ran out of an item, it was wiped from the board. Fresh has always been important to the Apricot Tree.

Our family fell in love with the Apricot Tree and on almost a monthly basis we would pile into our car and drive an hour and a half just to eat at there. Eventually the restaurant moved into a larger location in Sherwood Forest and I moved to Brampton. My brother, who had just graduated from college, moved in with me. Every Sunday night we would venture down to the Apricot Tree for dinner.

Today my husband and I celebrate all our important events at the Apricot Tree or their newer sister restaurant the Bistro Narra. My parents (who have moved to the Niagara area) ask to eat at the Apricot Tree or Bistro Narra whenever they visit. The Bistro Narra hosted my parent's 50th Wedding Anniversary, many, many birthdays and family anniversaries, and many, many, "Let's celebrate because it's Tuesday" events ;-)

It truly is worth a drive out to Mississauga to try the Apricot Tree or Bistro Narra. I suggest eating from the daily whiteboard menu, although there are amazing offerings on the regular menu as well.

Right now, they are celebrating their 20th Anniversary and are running their annual Crepe Festival at the Apricot Tree. Their savoury crepes are outstanding, and well worth the drive.

And save room for dessert...Franz is an eight generation pastry chef from Austria! The tortes, crepes and strudels are out of this world!

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

Alex - I love the inclusion of more Chefs outside the GTA and your reasonings. That's 3 entries for you, good luck!

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

Linda- thanks for your Chefs! If I count correctly that's 6 chefs you've told me about, and that's 6 entries in the draw. Thanks for sharing and good luck!

Alex Bielak
Alex Bielak

So many I could mention but will conclude with yet another LMI connection - Stefan Weser who with his partner Andrea Jennings run Springbank House in St Catharines. A wonderful Dinner, B&B.

Alex Bielak
Alex Bielak

Also Anthony Greco the Chef at Zest in Fonthill is another LMI connection. His beet gravadlax is fantastic

Alex Bielak
Alex Bielak

I second Ryan Crawford - I have had the pleasure of cooking with him as part of LesMarmitonsInternational as well as eating at The Rest. He is a wonderful teacher and charcutier.

ruyoung
ruyoung

hard to choose!  i'd say chuck hughes for how down to earth and communal he is, but i also love the simplicity of michael smith.

right now, my vote is for chuck hughes.

Brilynn
Brilynn

Matt. Pick one. Kantor, Pettit, Basile, Blondin, Matheson, Sullivan... They all make food I like to eat and have a name that's easy to remember.

Linda Matarasso
Linda Matarasso

Chuck Hughes... he makes drool worthy food..and is hilarious, Chef Lynn Crawford who makes stuff I would never think of, Chef Mark McEwan who has a love of quality food. Chef Roger Mooking who is a spice expert with big flavours. Chef Bob Blumer who makes food fun. Chef Michael Smith who makes food I would make at home.

carole nelson brown
carole nelson brown

#AFChef13 #ChefObsession i have been pretty obsessed with Susar Lee for as long as I remember. I used to go to his restaurant housed in an old house approx 25 years ago. I would go alone, bring a book and drink some wine and eat and he was like a rock star to me. I would save up all month to eat there. I am a bit terrified of him too lol

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

You have until Thursday to enter - tell me about your favourite Canadian Chefs (more than just their name) to be entered to win $150 at Fabbrica. You don't have to live in Toronto, just come to Toronto at some point in the next 12 months if you do win!

Andy Wagner
Andy Wagner

My current obsession is Matthew Kershaw, chef/owner of Rapscallion and The Alex.  House made charcuterie and pickles, and embracing nose to tail eating give him top marks in my books.

AlexaClark
AlexaClark moderator

We do also have a number of entries coming in via twitter (which should have streamed into the comments here but for some reason did not.) So I'm listing them here:

 

 @gillianplummer I of course love @chef_markmcewan  and @chef_lynn ! They've inspired me to appreciate Canadian food!

 

 @christinetlu I'm obsessed with Carl Heinrich! #AFChef13 #ChefObsession @chefheinrich 

 

 @wedding_crasher I have a few faves one is Aaron Joseph Bear Robe from @keriwacafe  #AFChef13 #ChefObsession

 

 @wallibina #AFChef13 #Chefobsession My other fave chef is the stupendous @mattkantor . Great food, big heart.

 

 @wallabina #AFchef13 #chefobsession Dan Pantano @glaswinebar @glaswinebar . Best veg food in the city. Celery root pappardelle with truffles. Sigh.

 

 @john_peck I confess, I'm obsessed with Susur Lee. Well, maybe his asian slaw, strangely addictive and hard to make @ home! #AFChef13 #ChefObsession

 

 

 

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

Brad Darbyson Madame Benoît is a wonderful addition to the list, thank you for the background too.

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

Heather Hickey I hadn't heard that Chef Michael Blackie had left the NAC, very excited to hear about his new venture. Thanks for the update and for adding him to the list!

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

David John Shaw ah Graham Kerr - he was my first Chef Obsession. I watched him as a child instead of cartoons. I also met him once in a restaurant in Ottawa, my family were horrified by my staring but he came over and said hi. With Kerr, Stern and Waverman, you now have 3 entries in the draw. Thanks for sharing!

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

Sarah Didora I'm a fan of Chef Nuit Regular as well and that Toronto needed her cuisine. I've been lucky that my old office was next to Khao San Roadd when it opened, and my new one is close to Sabai Sabai Kitchen and Bar. Thanks for sharing!

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

Alex Gill nice to be hearing about some Canadian Chefs outside the GTA too. Sounds like Chef Jeremy Charles is doing some great stuff.

Brad Darbyson
Brad Darbyson

Madame Benoit Source Jehane Benoit. Ma cuisine au cidre. Montréal: Éditions du Jour, 1973 Undoubtedly the best-known cooking expert Canada has produced, Jehane Patenaude was born in 1904 to a well-known Montréal family. She studied in Montréal and at the Sorbonne in France, where she studied the chemistry of food. On her return to Montréal, she began a cooking school and opened the restaurant le Salad Bar. In 1934, as part of the anniversary celebration of Jacques Cartier's arrival in Canada, she was asked to open a restaurant featuring traditional dishes on Île Sainte-Hélène. Her fame spread and before long she was writing food columns and books in both French and English -- many of her books are available in French and English editions -- as well as appearing on radio and television, where her folksy charm made her a country-wide favourite. Jehane Benoit (she married Bernard Benoit in 1940) received the Order of Canada for her many contributions to Canada's cuisine. Madame Benoit knew Canadian cooking from coast to coast, and described it as combining "French refinement, English basics, American traditions, and ethnic influences." Jehane Benoit has been described as an archivist of Canada's culinary past who raised cooking from the status of 'women's work' to an act of love that was one-part science and one-part celebration. This may be her most important legacy.

Heather Hickey
Heather Hickey

Michael Blackie formerly of the NAC now onto NEXT his new venture. He creates cutting edge cuisine that is somehow still familiar. He avoids the trapping of esthetics with no taste too! He is also philanthropic and gives back to his community.

David John Shaw
David John Shaw

I took classes with Bonnie Stern ... very nice lady who learned Indian cooking in India!

Sarah Didora
Sarah Didora

I love chef Kerr! My original TV chef with Julia of course...

David John Shaw
David John Shaw

Lucy Waverman ... similar to Bonnie but I don't think she has a school.

David John Shaw
David John Shaw

Bonnie Stern ... great cooking schools and lots of cookbooks.

David John Shaw
David John Shaw

Graham Kerr ... The Galloping Gourmet (before your time most likely).

Sarah Didora
Sarah Didora

I love Chef Nuit Regular from Sabai Sabai Kitchen and Bar. She always accomdates my food allergy and her northern Thai cuisine is above all I have had! She is a petite woman who knows exactly what she's doing! Xo

vasta
vasta

Sadly, I've just realized that most of my favorite chefs aren't Canadians. Sad — I need to rectify that! I do have a few favorites, though.

 

I've been an unabashed fan of Adisa Glasgow ever since 3030 opened and he took the helm of the kitchen. He's really great at creating dishes that are affordable, delicious, but also well-suited for the bar-style atmosphere of 3030.

 

Jeff Claudio is a standout too: his original tasting menu at Yours Truly rivaled the tasting menus at places like Eleven Madison Park, and his creativity is pretty impressive.

 

And of course, out west, Brad Miller is a marvel with eggs, and all sorts of other things. Red Wagon may be casual and diner-like, but the food is superlative.

 

That's three of them. I could go on and on...

DonChow
DonChow

Let's see...Canadian chefs I admire...there's the obvious big names Susur Lee, Martin Picard (http://foodieprints.com/2012/11/filling-out-the-canadian-identity-dinner-by-picards-cabane-au-sucre-to-open-ottawas-wine-and-food-show/)...and, bigger names in Toronto Martin Kouprie (of Pangaea), Jason Bangerter, Claudio Aprile,..

 

But, the ones who are my favourites work to mature the food scene in the National Capital Region.  Ottawa has been seen as a lost cause for too long.  Changing this perception is a difficult, soul-sucking, and largely thankless job.

 

Top of that list of chefs would be Steve Mitton of Murray Street Kitchen.  The man worked to establish Ottawa's modern food identity.  While "farm to table" is a choice  in many cities, Ottawa has 1300 farms.  It isn't an option here. 

 

Does local or seasonal necessarily mean better food? Not necessarily.  But, the menu Mitton sets out explains why people make the assumption.  From house-made charcuterie to German and Austrian-inspired comfort dishes, you cannot leave Murray Street Kitchen without that satisfied feeling. 

 

More on Chef Mitton from his run at Gold Medal Plates a number of years ago: http://foodieprints.com/2010/10/meet-a-gold-medal-plates-chef-chef-steve-mitton-of-murray-street/

Alex Gill
Alex Gill

Jeremy Charles, chef at Raymond's in St. John's, NL reinterprets local dishes into haute cuisine - his Nfld Jiggs Dinner is amazing - and I had moose pasta as well that was to die for

unsweetened.ca
unsweetened.ca

It's amazing how waiting for our favourite chefs to find a home (or create a home) can be so painful.

JoAnne Wang
JoAnne Wang

I'm currently mildly obsessed with Ryan Crawford, formerly of Stone Road Grille in Niagara-on-the-Lake. He left SRG at the end of 2012 and is now preparing to open Gastrohomestead, but not until 2014. I loved what he was doing at SRG and it's killing me that I have to wait over a year before I get to eat his cooking again.

aglicksman
aglicksman

I love the biscuits at Lynn Crawford's restaurant, Ruby Watchco. They were melt-in-your-mouth good. 

YashYanthi
YashYanthi

I have to say that I'm a huge fan of our big name top honcho chefs.. Mark McEwan leads the pack but I am starting to love the likes of our smaller guys like Matt Petite (Rock Lobster) and Matt Basile (Fidel Gastro's) 

Stephanie
Stephanie

Hey Alexa,

 

I love Mark McEwan, but I have to admit, one of my favourite Canadian chefs is Lynn Crawford. I just love seeing her on TV - she seems so down-to-earth and grounded. And her creations at Ruby Watchco are drool-inducing!  :)

AlexaClark
AlexaClark moderator

@Brilynn I like how you group your chefs by easy to remember names. I suspect you've repurposed a dating trick (but we can talk about that over beers.)  So let's see @mattKantor, Matt Pettit from @RockLobsterFood, Matt Basile from @fidelgastro, @chefMattBlondin@mattydeathbro@GastroMatthew - that makes 6 entries...though I wouldn't hate a bit more "about" each of them for your entry. 

AlexaClark
AlexaClark moderator

A couple of more through twitter.

 

 @taurafoxwalker  Kenji Kato of Sushi Bar Miki Calgary ♡ #ChefObsession

Note: @taurafoxwalker has been asked for a bit more "about" Chef Kenji Kato and/or about her obsession to qualify.

 

 @wallibina My girl chef crush is @pancancooks her food and hot sauce is as lively and spicy as she is. #ChefObsession #AFChef13

 

 

 

AlexaClark
AlexaClark moderator

 @DonChow since I stipulated that "you do need to tell me something about them and why you are obsessing over them", I can only give you 2 entries for this... one for Steve Mitton and one for Martin Picard.  If you want to say a bit more, or share links to posts, about the others I'll happily give you more entries in the draw.

Stephanie
Stephanie

Weird, my comment wasn't tagged with my contact info - but it's @kitchenfrolic!  :)

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  1. […] We had a lot of Chef obsessions, favourites and stories shared in the #AFChef13 #ChefObsession Contest – Tell Me Your Canadian Chef Obsession, Win Dinner at Fabbric… […]

  2. […] Contest: Tell Me Your Canadian Chef Obsession, Win Dinner at Fabbrica – Sponsored by S. Pellegrino, this post produced a great list of Chefs! […]

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