THUNDER BAY – Special to NNL – Nov 17th will go down as the night people remember in our fine city, if you missed it, you truly should be listening carefully next year when the Top Chef event is announced.
Top Chef was put on by Keynote Events Sharla Brown, it was held at the Victoria Inn Embassy Ballroom. Thirteen local restaurants with their chefs were entered to see who would become Thunder Bays Top Chef.
The thirteen entries were as follows in no particular order, The Da Vinci Centre, Deluca’s Family Restaurant, Beaux Daddy’s, This Old Barn, OLG Casino Getaway Restaurant, The Sovereign Room, Northern Unique, The Foundry,Victoria Inn, Bight, Moxie’s Classic Grill, 5 Forks. and Retro Bakery and Diner.
Each participating chef had to create a bite size portion not only for the panel of judges but the 500 guests as well. When you entered the ballroom you could see the chef’s stations lining the outside wall of the ballroom, you could walk round and simply taste one of everything in the room.
Many restaurants created seafood dishes such as This Old Barn. They offered Scallop mousse with shrimp and tarragon cream on a artichoke leaf, it looked very appetizing.
Even the local farmer’s market chef Rob Shaw. Northern Unique entered with his dish of slow roasted boar mixed with maple chipotle bbq sauce served in a hand made yeast puff dough pastry with salsa verde. The new restaurant scheduled to open in the city at the Waterfront entered as well, Bight made a strong entrance with their seared Alaskan scallop with a sweet and spicy pork belly marmalade.
Retro Bakery and Diner also put out a great little bite size delight, 12 hour slow roasted, melt in your mouth pork smothered in their tangy bbq sauce with faint citrus notes, topped off with Amish winter salad all between a freshly baked buttery bun.
5 Forks chefs created a wonderful bite size version of their top selling steak, a loaded mashed potato puree topped with a shaved NY sirloin and topped with a sautéed mushroom and pepper mixture, finished with a light drizzle of chimichurri.
The Foundry also entered a great dish, which was a miniature Foundry burger, ground pork, veal and beef chunk with roasted garlic aioli, sliced cherry tomatoes, Arugula, house made peameal bacon, chippolini onion chutney and aged cheddar cheese on a crispy roll which was amazing.
The Victoria Inn entered a Smoked Duck Confit on a onion focaccia with drunken figs and cambazola.
Moxies Classic Grill entered braised short ribs on silton polenta with a shitake crisp finished with black cherry gastrique.
Delucas entered northern lights pickerel with roasted peaches and cream corn, cherry tomatoes and scallions topped with a white wine roasted red pepper butter.
Beaux Daddy’s made a strong presence with their Cajun deconstructed Jambalya, it was made with homemade tasso and tomato confit, pickled trinity veg and tomato reducation.
OLG Getaway Restaurant presented 2 bbq braised ribs slathered with Sleeping Giant 360 Ale, truly was a crowd pleaser.
The Davini was one of my favourites of the night, Ostentatious Meat Cake; a triple ground tenderloin lovingly shaped into a next generation version of granny’s meatloaf, stuffed with Boursin cheese and gingerly wrapped in a sensual sweet and spicy strip of candied maple pepper bacon, trimmed with caramelized onion and razor shaved roasted garlic, garnished with a crunchy fried saffron scented potato crisp.
Over all all chefs presented a great dish, with amazing presentation and their staff at their tables were amazing and so knowledgeable regarding any questions asked, but in the end it was Steve Simpson from the Sovereign Room who took home the title of Top Chef 2012 forThunder Bay with his amazing dish. Crispy Pork Torchon, torchon from whole pigs from Tarrymore Farms in Thunder Bay topped with house pickled vegetables, and house made mustard aioli as well as some beautiful micro mustard greens, grown locally.
In the end, this first time event drew in the crowds which was sold out for the last month or so, and will sure be a big success next year, so if you missed it this year, you surely won’t want to miss it next year.
David Adjey from the Food Network was the host for the night and was truly entertaining, taking photos and signing anything for you as he walked by the tables. A big thank you to Retro Bakery and Diner for also supplying the dessert for all the guests and judges at this year’s Top Chef event, it truly was amazing!!
Thunder Bay was entered into the Readers Digest contest for Best Cuisine, please take a moment and vote for our city!