RAW! The Great Toronto Tartare-Off

I had the pleasure of attending “Raw! The Great Toronto Tartare Off” on Thursday, March 29th. Held in one of the large ballrooms at the beautiful Fairmont Royal York, the event was a fundraiser for Grapes for Humanity, an organization created to “raise funds for humanitarian causes around the world with the assistance of the international wine community.”

Specifically, 95 cents of every dollar raised from the event will be going to help build a school in Guatemala.

The event featured nine chefs from Toronto restaurants (and one from Yellowknife), plus four amateur chefs from Niagara wineries, all competing to determine who makes the best tartare. While some of the chefs opted to create dishes that stuck close to the standard definition of a tartare, others decided to take their own twist, focusing more on the “raw” component of the challenge. Dishes ran the gamut from beef, venison and muskox to tuna, whitefish and salmon. The most unusual was created by Patrick McMurray of Starfish – a beef/oyster combination that he dubbed “naked surf and turf.”

Each tartare was paired with a wine (most of which were VQA), and chefs were judged based not only on their tartare, but also the pairing. The best of the event, as deemed by a panel of judges (which included Rush lead singer, bassist, and keyboardist Geddy Lee), was Lorenzo Loseto of George Restaurant. Paul Pender (of Tawse) won the amateur crown.

Participating chefs:
Brook Cavanagh – La Palette
Mark Cutrara – Cowbell
Jason Bangeter – Luma
Jamie Kennedy – Gilead
Didier LeRoy – Didier
Lorenzo Loseto – George
Patrick McMurray – Starfish
Tim Palmer – Epic, Fairmont Royal York
Albert Ponzo – Le Select
Luke Wood – Thornton's Wine and Tapas (of Yellowknife)

Competing amateur chefs:
Martin Malivoire – Malivoire
Paul Pender – Tawse
Sue Ann Staff – Staff
Harald Theil – Hidden Bench

For more information about Grapes for Humanity: www.grapesforhumanity.com
For more information about this event: www.grapesforhumanity.com/?p=523

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Written by Jennifer Bylok

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