GALLERY: Guy Fieri presides over a roster of celeb chefs (and their fans) at this year’s Chef’s Challenge
Saturday’s Chef’s Challenge was a chance for Iron Chef wannabes—or “masochists,” as event host Guy Fieri called them—to flex their cooking talents on stage in front of 400 of their fellow food-loving philanthropists. The third annual fundraiser was in support of breast and ovarian cancer research at Mount Sinai hospital, and took place this year at the Royal York. This was no ordinary ticketed event—all attendees were required to raise a minimum of $2,500, with the top 50 broken up into groups of 10 led by a celebrity chef (Chuck Hughes, David Rocco, Mark McEwan, Lynn Crawford or Michael Smith) who coached them through three rounds of Iron Chef–inspired challenges (those not in the top 50 ate their Fieri-conceived five-course dinner in peace). For each round, Fieri decided on a secret ingredient and gave the teams 20 minutes to whip up a triplet of dishes to be judged by food critics. Last year’s challenge ended with Bobby Flay and Top Chef Canada host Lisa Ray swigging limoncello from the bottle, but this year was a little more sedate—perhaps Fieri was tuckered out after shooting six Toronto restaurants for his Diners, Drive-ins and Dives program and hanging out with Drake? In the end, Crawford’s team, which had won the inaugural challenge, recaptured first place from McEwan. After the silent and live actions closed, the event raised $775,000 for cancer research—and Toronto’s well-to-do culinary masochists got a moment onstage alongside some of their foodie heroes.