by Sally Warburton

Taste Canada Cooks the Books 2018 Cooking Contest Event at Mildred’s Kitchen

Located in the midst of Liberty Village condo community at the Shops at King Liberty on Hanna Avenue is Mildred’s Temple Kitchen Restaurant. Mildred’s is a busy, trendy restaurant with an international menu and brunch served on weekends. The venue is perfect for special events, weddings, parties and above all for the Taste Canada Student Chef Battle on October 28, 2018. The window read – Mildred says – “Our ingredients are local but our flavours global.” And this was very true of the evening to come…it set the tone!

Students worked in pairs, and their participating Colleges were divided into two Heats. Heat 1 included Centennial College, Liaison Downtown, Thistletown Collegiate from Toronto District School Board and Assiniboine Community College from Manitoba.
In Heat 2 were Fanshawe College from London, Ontario, Liaison Colleg of Culinary Arts, Kitchener, Conestoga, and Centennial Team 2. Four sets of pairs working together in each Heat.
In addition to being the primary sponsor of fresh ingredients for the students’ dishes, Summer Fresh provided delicious hummus and fresh veggies for the guests at the event. Each of the recipes created by the pairs of students contained Canola oil. The event was provided by both Canola Oil and Canola Growers with their motto “Eat Well for Life.” Canola oil is proudly grown and produced in Canada. CanadaEatWell.com Educational Awareness Partners were Think Beef #BeefBelongs and ThinkBeef.ca

Who was at the event? Participating culinary students, their culinary instructors, students’ families, and close friends, the Judges, foodies who took an interest in the cooking event, media and even American tourist couple who had searched events while in Toronto and selected to purchase tickets to the Taste Canada Student Chef Battle at Mildred’s! And, of course, Donna Dooher, hosted the event. Donna is the co-owner of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, and she loved the buzz of the evening – the competitive cooking event in her restaurant. Upon arrival, guests got to see the groups of students nervously waiting for the start. Donna opened the event welcoming all and stood beside the huge trophy which was the goal of every culinary student there!

Mildred’s Temple Kitchen is the perfect venue for a cook-off with its very long, wide steel counter and ovens and cooking surfaces visible to onlookers. Blenders, knives, cutting boards, containers of ingredients lined the counter. Once started there was cutting, dicing, mixing, blending and every other verb related to cooking! The pairs worked miraculously together to create delicious looking meals. The Judges looked on with encouragement as did everyone else. All eyes were watching their deftness with the knives chopping and peeling, the partners discussing their cooking while working hand-in-hand under time pressure. After each Heat (4 pairs of students) completed their dishes, 4 plates at a time of the same meal were given to the Judges to sample and take notes. They sampled 4 different dishes. The Judges were Annabelle Waugh, Christine Tizzard, Jennifer Emilson, and Dennis Prescott – all well known in the Canadian food world.
The winners were announced Monday night at the Royal York Taste Canada Awards Gala. The winning pair was Jessi Coulter and Kaitlin McCarthy from Assiniboine College, Manitoba. Their delicious looking cast iron seared Hudson River Arctic Char with smoked Maple Birch glaze, on Heritage grains of Noble Prairie barley, spelt and wild rice won the hearts…and the stomachs of the Judges!
Look out for all these young cooks in the future, the very near future. It will all be delicious!