Toronto – What happens to a classic comfort food when you have four chefs, accomplished foodies and mix in a little competition?
You get several twists and delicious ideas.
That’s what happened at the 2014 Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off, which took place in Toronto at the Canadian National Exhibition at the Dairy Farmers of Canada’s Canadian Cheese Counter.
The four chefs and foodies from across Canada took to the stage in an attempt to create the ultimate comfort food using Canadian cheese and pasta. And each contestant also mixed in a dollop of imagination.
Chef Andrew Farrell and his winning dish, Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese.
The winning dish? It came from Andrew Farrell, a chef at 2 Doors Down in Halifax. His Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese packed a whole lot of Nova Scotia into one dish, with four cheeses from That Dutchman’s Farm – three Gouda and one Blue – all made in Upper Economy, N.S.
Cheesy noodles were then topped with a kale-broccoli-Brussel sprouts crust and Sriracha hot sauce for an added kick.
“The competition was as sharp as Canadian cheddar,” said Farrell. “All the dishes looked delectable and the crowd was really engaged. I am so thrilled my Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese, featuring three Goudas and Dragon’s Breath Blue cheese from That Dutchman’s Farm, won the hearts and taste buds of the judges.”
The other competitors included Bal Arneson, a Food Network TV host and award-winning author from Vancouver, B.C.; chef David Bohati, executive chef at MARKET Restaurant in Calgary, Alta.; and Kevin Durkee, owner of Cheesewerks in Toronto.
The esteemed judging panel consisted of Sue Riedl, journalist, blogger and cheese ambassador; Rita DeMontis, Sun Media food editor; Jason Bangerter, executive chef and 2012 Grate Canadian (Grilled) Cheese Cook-Off champion, as well as Lorie Chater, cheese lover from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the winner of the nation-wide contest for a professional mac & cheese taster.
The Cook-Off was organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada to take Canada’s beloved mac & cheese to a whole new level and showcase the outstanding quality, variety, taste, and versatility of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk.
Main photo includes the four fierce competitors at the Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off: Bal Arneson from Vancouver, B.C.; chef Andrew Farrell from Halifax, N.S.; Kevin Durkee from Toronto; and chef David Bohati from Calgary, Alta. with Wally Smith, president of Dairy Farmers of Canada [centre].