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Abbey's Kitchen Stadium Series Finale
Abbey's Kitchen Stadium (AKS) series came to a close with the finale championship

On October 27th, this year’s Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium (AKS) series came to a close with the finale championship at the Delicious Food Show.  AKS is a 4-part Iron Chef style food competition hosted by food blogger, Abbey Sharp (of Abbey’s Kitchen) that pits Toronto’s top culinary talent against one another to raise funds for local food initiative, My Food My Way (MFMW).  MFMW is a local food initiative partnered with the Toronto District School Board that aims to empower students to get excited about food and nutrition in a way that makes sense to them.  This means they work with students to find ways of using celebrity culture, music, technology, and design to teach kids about eating well rather than resorting to what’s traditionally seen as authoritative styles of education.

 

Leslie Roberts, Christine Cushing, Bruce Woods, Abbey Sharp. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

So after three successful battles, the big finale featured the three winners from their respective battles, Bruce Woods (Woods Restaurant), Rodney Bowers (Hey Meatball), Dustin Gallagher (Acadia), and our people’s choice wild card, Matt Basile (Fidel Gastros).

 

 

Matt Basile, Dustin Gallagher, Abbey Sharp, Rodney Bowers, Bruce Woods. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

 With a packed floor of hungry foodies in the audience, and an equally peckish line up of local and international celebrity judges on stage, Abbey kicked things off on the Food Network Celebrity Stage with the unveiling of the secret ingredient- Samuel Adams Beer!  Available in Boston Lager and Latitude 48 IPA, Boston’s liquid gold made its way into eight culinary masterpieces, with Hilite Fine Foods providing the chefs with all their produce needs. 

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

One at a time, each chef got 15 action-packed minutes in the Food Network Celebrity Kitchen presented by Home Depot to prepare their goodies for the judges using Lagostina‘s beautiful cookware.

 

 

Bruce Woods. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

 

Rodney Bowers. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

 

Dustin Gallagher. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

 

Matt Basile.Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

Meanwhile, down on the floor- each chef had been given a young student “sous chef” from Thistletown Collegiate high school to assist their teams in feeding the masses. As part of My Food My Way’s pilot project, these Thistletown students are given professional culinary classes at school and regularly cook meals for their peers in their cafeteria kitchen. So giving these kids the opportunity to test their skills beside these top chefs has become one of the most fruitful outcomes of #AKS.

 

 

Abbey with a Thistletown Collegiate student. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

Wanna see what our competitors and student sous chefs were pumping out for Delicious Food Show guests for $5 a pop? Here’s your daily dose of #foodporn for a great cause!

 

Bruce Woods at Woods Restaurant: 15 Hour Latitude 48 Braised Boar Shoulder, Boston Lager Chowder, Hand Dug Clams

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

Bruce Woods at Woods Restaurant: Boston Brown Bread, Boston Lager Ice Cream, Latitude 48 Soaked Raisins

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

Rodney Bowers at Hey Meatball: Chili Mac and Cheese

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

Rodney Bowers at Hey Meatball: Cod Stew

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

Dustin Gallagher at Acadia: Sam Adams Lager Oyster Po’Boy, Cucumber, Carrot and Cilantro Slaw

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

Dustin Gallagher at Acadia: Sam Adams IPA Ice Cream with Apple Terrine and Rye Crumbs

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

Matt Basile at Fidel Gastros: Polenta Grilled Cheese with Braised Short Rib and Lager Smoked Ketchup

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

Matt Basile at Fidel Gastros: Beer-Tella Bacon Jam French Toast Sandwiches

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

As the guests tasted their way through the offerings, our sponsors were serving up some incredible drinks to wash them all down. Presenting Sponsor Forty Creek was pouring their Copper Pot Whisky, Sam Adams was whipping through cases of their Boston Lager & Latitude 48 (because beer goes so well with beer), Rosewood Estates served a lovely Sussreserve, Pinot Noir and Harvest Gold Mead, Dillon’s Distillery was pumping out Pomegranate G+Ts, Caesars and White Rye & Ginger (Beers), and Limonana was serving up liquor-free libations.

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

But boozed up or sober, everyone was pulling out their wallets when it came time to draw numbers for the raffle from which 100% of proceeds would be donated to MFMW.

 

 

Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

And in between sips, nibbles and prizes, the all-star judging got underway. Knowing it was the climactic finale, and that we would be throwing it down on Food Network’s celebrity stage, I pulled out all the big stops when it came to the panel on stage. We had David Rocco (Food Network), Leslie Roberts (Global TV), Christine Cushing (Opera Network), Susur Lee (Celebrity Restaurateur & My Food My Way ambassador), John Chiles (Toronto Argonauts), and Deanna Kaminskyj (Sam Adams Marketing Executive) lighting up the stage with their smart commentary, unique expertise and smiles.

 

 

Leslie Roberts, Christine Cushing. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

 

David Rocco. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

 

Susur Lee, John Chiles. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

But the biggest smile was no doubt coming from Battle 3 competitor, Chef Dustin Gallagher of Acadia, who went home with a premium Lagostina cookware set worth $1500 and bragging rights as the champion of Abbey’s Kitchen Stadium!

 

 

Dustin Gallagher and Susur Lee. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

And as well deserving he was for making his stunning Sam Adams apple terrine and mouthwatering Po Boy, the real #AKS champions were My Food My Way and the four students who got the opportunity to work with Toronto’s best chefs! It are experiences like these that really demonstrate the underlying mandate of My Food My Way- to spark a powerful excitement amongst youth to learn about food. For updates and alerts on upcoming Abbey’s Kitchen food events and news, please subscribe to her website here and be sure to watch the fabulous MFMW campaign grow!

 

 

David Rocco, Leslie Roberts, Christine Cushing, Abbey Sharp, Susur Lee, Dustin Gallagher, John Chiles. Photo credit: Scott Ramsay

 

____

Abbey is a Dietitian (RD), home chef, food writer, blogger & media personality. Follow her on Twitter at @AbbeysKitchen.

For more, follow us on Twitter at @torontostandard, and subscribe to our newsletter.

 

 

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