What happens when a bunch of Toronto and Montreal chefs get together for a hockey game? They make a ton of killer food (and also play some hockey)

What happens when a bunch of Toronto and Montreal chefs get together for a hockey game? They make a ton of killer food (and also play some hockey)

Photograph by Johnny Lam

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Last weekend, the Drake Devonshire used Toronto’s (friendly) rivalry against Montreal for a good cause. The PEC hotel hosted the first-ever Drake Invitational Barn Burner Hockey Classic on February 4, pitting top chefs from both cities against one another in a charity game to benefit Community Food Centres Canada. Both teams took the challenge seriously: the Montreal Mashers, whose players included Antonio Park (Park), Chuck Hughes (Garde Manger) and Derek Damman (Maison Publique) brought their A-game against the Toronto Grinders, led by Ted Corrado (The Drake) and featuring Cory Vitiello (Flock), Scott Vivian (Beast) and John Horne (Canoe). Word circulated ahead of time that several members of the Montreal team regularly play hockey together, leaving the Toronto players a bit anxious—but the Grinders won 6-2.

The festivities kicked off with an unofficial “tailgate” at Norman Hardie Vineyard and Winery—tailgate in quotations because, with wine by the glass and gourmet snacks, it was a far cry from a party in a parking lot. Joe Beef brought smoked meat for sandwiches, served with mustard and a sour pickle:

Photograph by Rebecca Tucker

 
There was also smoked char from Garde Manger, served with dill and capers on dark rye from PEC bakery Humble Bread:

Photograph by Rebecca Tucker

 
In addition to wines from Norm Hardie, Garde Manger’s Chuck Hughes brought a few bottles of his own (appropriately branded) cold brew:

 
Before the game, chefs and select VIPs—including Montreal Mashers coach and NHL Hall of Famer Ken Dryden—were treated to a whiskey tasting from Lot 40, plus cheese pairings from Cheese Boutique’s Afrim Pristine. Not too many of those about to hit the ice hit the booze, but they did get a sneak peek at the trophy that was up for grabs:

Photograph by Johnny Lam

 
For a special—and delicious—treat, Pristine brought blocks of crystallized maple syrup, which he grated over Bleu d’Elizabeth from Quebec (that’s chef Nick Liu of Dailo looking on). Both the cheese and blocks of syrup are available at Cheese Boutique:

Photograph by Johnny Lam

 
Non-blue cheese fans had plenty of options, too:

Photograph by Johnny Lam

 
Once the puck dropped, ticket holders could sit tight and watch the action, or prowl the upper levels, where a number of top chefs—including the Drake’s Alexandra Feswick and Grant Van Gameren of Bar Raval and Bar Isabel—were serving up gourmet concessions alongside beer from Moosehead. Here’s Van Gameren, dishing out some tangy pickle-and-sausage soup:

Photograph by Rebecca Tucker

 
Garde Manger brought a very strong ham game (plus more of that tasty smoked char):

Photograph by Rebecca Tucker

 
Citizen Catering’s Chris Brown’s family set up some seriously adorable rink-side signage:

Photograph by Rebecca Tucker

 
After the game, the chefs headed back to the Drake Devonshire to plan the night’s $110-a-head “walking dinner”:

 
At 7 p.m., the guests started pouring in. Lot 40 cocktails were in good supply:

Photograph by Johnny Lam

 
Food stations were set up throughout the Drake Devonshire’s lakeside dining room. Chef Antonio Park served up a spicy jjampong (Korean seafood-and-noodle soup):

Photograph by Johnny Lam

 
In a showing of good sportsmanship and camaraderie, Carl Heinrich of Richmond Station was assisted by Emma Cardarelli of Montreal’s Nora Grey as he dished out pumpkin soup with mascarpone from within a hollowed-out gourd:

Photograph by Johnny Lam

 
Joe Beef served oysters out of an ice-filled canoe:

 
Jeremy Charles of Raymonds in Newfoundland—who played with the Toronto team earlier in the afternoon—made a rustic moose chili. He’s the one with the beard, to the left of the antlers:

Photograph by Johnny Lam

 
Nearby, Derek Damman seared wedges of blood sausage:

Photograph by Johnny Lam

 
Chef Anthony Walsh (O&B) and his team had a lamb roasting over an open fire in the hotel’s front lot all day long. It was eventually served inside quartered pitas:

Photograph by Johnny Lam
Photograph by Rebecca Tucker

 
And, of course, there was plenty of local PEC wine, as ticket holders and chefs alike ate, drank and—eventually—danced the night away:

Photograph by Johnny Lam