Top Chef Canada Competitor Dinner

I am a huge fan of Top Chef Canada so you can only imagine how excited I was when my friend Andrea Nicolson invited me to be her guest at the Top Chef Canada Competitors dinner at Great Cooks On Eight.  It was a night to remember – it was amazing! The restaurant is located on the 8th floor of The Bay Simpson Tower and has the most beautiful view of downtown. As I rode the elevator up to the 8th floor all I could think about was how cool it was going to be to sit down to a 5 course meal made by 5 Top Chef Competitors – what a rad experience!!

As I arrived I was met by the smell of delicious food and a glass of 2010 Sparkling Riesling from Fielding Estate Winery. Fielding Winery did all the wine pairings for the full 5 course tasting – I love the different flavours the right wine can bring out of food.

It was so cool to walk in and see rows of plates and the Top Chefs working away on plating the first tasting. While that was all being set up and prepared it was time to mingle and have some of Andrea’s yummy appetizers.

Canadian Oyster, Ponzu Granita, Tobiko and Beef Carpaccio, Corn Fries, Pecorino, Truffle – these were amazing, I had 2!

Fried Spot Prawn with Tuna Sashimi – this was a wonderful bite of deliciousness!

Seared Foie, Andrea’s Baba’s Potato Pancakes, Onion Relish Chutney and Chicken Liver Pate, Egg Bread, Sundried Apricot Jam. Both apps were amazing!! I lalaloved the Pate.. a perfect bite-sized piece of homemade heaven.

We were seated and introduced to the Top Chefs cooking for us – Todd Perrin, Mike Stauffer, Patrick Wiese, Steve Gonzalez and Andrea Nicolson. The first course was Todd Perrin’s creation – here he is telling us about the trio of fish he made and how he brought a little bit of Newfoundland with him. He and his daughter made homemade Capelin salt just days before his trip to Toronto that he sprinkled on top of the Cod Ceviche.

Smoked Salmon with Horseradish & Chive Cream Cheese on a Dill Cracker, Cod Ceviche with Shaved Fennel & Confit Tomato, Pickled Halibut Cake on Red Onion & Parsley Salad. This was so good – everything was so fresh! The Halibut Cake was my fave. This was paired with Fielding 2010 Rockpile Pinot Gris.

The second course was made by Mike Stauffer who also brought a little bit of home with him – radishes and beets from his own garden.

Crispy Duck & Red Bean with Heirloom Radishes, Chiogga Beets, Coriander – this was my personal fave of the night, it was so good!! Salty and crispy – I mean c’mon.. its duck! Delish. This was paired with Fielding 2008 Pinot Noir.

Third course was done by Patrick Wiese – Confit Artic Char, Ontario Pea Puree, Summer mushrooms, Tomato Caviar, Chervil & Lemongrass Veloute. Patrick you had me at Ontario Pea Puree and the mushrooms were roasted to perfection! This was paired with Fielding 2009 Chardonnay Musque.

The forth course was given to us from Steve Gonzalez – Roasted Beef Striploin, Yucca Chips, Chimichurri, Chorizo, Olive & Asparagus. I have been obsessed lately with Chimichurri and really liked his version. The Chorizo and Olive went so well with the meat! I loved the texture of the Yucca Chips – the wine paired with this dish was Fielding 2007 Merlot.

The final course from Andrea Nicolson started with an amazing cheese plate and then into a wonderful dessert. We finished off the wine pairings with a dessert wine, it had the perfect amount of sweetness – Fielding 2010 Vignoles.

Cheese Boutique’s 5 year-old Guinness Cheddar, Quebecois Unpasteurized Blue Elizabeth, Barre a Boulard with Condiments and Crisps. This was decadent – the honey on the blue cheese was the best combination ever! Wow like so good…

Chocolate Lemon Curb Cake, Almond Milk & Sour Cherries – this was delicious! I am not a huge fan of lemon flavour but honestly I couldn’t get enough of this dessert. You could really taste each element in the dish – the white chocolate really shined through. The almond milk was such an interesting addition and added an extra hint of sweetness to the sour lemon.

Wow… this was a once in a lifetime experience for me and I cant express to you how much I enjoyed the whole night. It was just so amazing to be served dinner by the chefs I have been watching on TV for the last few months. I left with a smile on my face, a very full belly and a few new friends. What an extraordinary night – I am one happy panda!


  1. Esther Benaim
    July 7, 2011

    So glad that you joined us for such a special, fun and delicious night! I love having our restaurant filled with happy people.

    Esther Benaim

    • Erin
      July 7, 2011

      Thanks so much for hosting a fantastic evening!! This is something I will be talking about for a long time! xo

  2. Tommy Killington
    July 7, 2011

    I recall going up the old “Simpsons” tower with my Grandmother years ago when they had a restaurant there. I wonder if it’s the same space that now houses Andrea’s resto ?

    Granny loved their chicken pot pie.

  3. Barb Savoie
    July 9, 2011

    Love your blog & your food photography – awesome!

    • Erin
      July 10, 2011

      Thanks for the comment – keep reading it and eating it Barb!! Thanks a mill x

  4. Brian
    July 13, 2011

    Looks amazing Erin! How do remember it all? Hopefully enough to recreate some of it for us 🙂


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