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Za Za Za's curry pizza.

The Great Curry Cook-Off happens tonight!

By Jean McLernon on May 26, 2014

Anyone who loves curry often wants endless supplies. So many restaurants in our city can put a spin on a curry dish, a foodie is never disappointed and a novice is rarely overwhelmed. These magical places come together every year to flaunt their curry skills, and this year it’s for The Great Curry Cook-Off presented by the Ottawa Fringe Festival.

For the past several years, the Fringe Festival has put on a fundraiser for curry lovers and curry inspired dishes from local restaurants around the city. Roughly a dozen restaurants send their chefs and representatives to dish out all you can eat curry, and raise money for the Ottawa Fringe Festival. Some of last year’s participants were Zazaza, The Manx, The Hintonburg Public House, Tacolot. To give you an idea of the depth some of these chefs have, the reigning champion currier crowned last year was Nicastro’s– an Italian cuisine restaurant.

The GCC-O is fantastic on a variety of levels. Firstly, it’s an enjoyable way to fundraise for the Fringe Festival. The cultural arts community is vastly under-represented, and this is an opportunity for Fringe supporters to do something outside of theatre and bring in potentially interested parties to the fun of the festival. Secondly, it’s a perfect opportunity to try new food on a mass scale and support local restaurants. The restaurants entering into this competition are not large chains, they’re predominantly locally owned. What’s more, you’ll be able to revisit your winning dishes after the night is finished. Finally, Curry. Curry is so good, why would you pass up an opportunity to eat as much of it as you can?

Foodies and curry veterans won’t be bored either. Each place has their own take on the curry dish – which gets interesting with places like Tacolot and Zazaza. Tacolot is a taco restaurant on Wellington, an unusual competitor in a Southern/Southeast Asian inspired cook-off. One can only imagine the ways that it incorporates things like dried chilis and cumen, and whether they use chicken or shellfish as their protein. Designer pizza palace Zazaza has long made a curry pizza which includes delicious tandoori chicken, cashews with mozzarella and roasted red peppers drizzled in yogurt and coriander sauce. The ‘pizza with pizazz restaurant has long been a supporter of Fringe, so their jump to join the GCC-O was only natural.

The Curry Crazy Pizza typically sits in the top five top sold pizzas of the night, and once you try a piece you understand why. It balances the spiciness of classic curry, and the savory flavor one comes to expect from eastern inspired dishes. The Manx hints at a different angle than normal this year, and both will be gunning for first place as last year’s winner Nicastro’s may not be returning. All in all, the evening promises to be fun, delicious and all for a good cause.

The Great Curry Cook-Off is May 26th @ 7pm at the Great Canadian Theatre Company on 1233 Wellington St W. Tickets are $25 and can be found here. Can’t make the curry, but want to support Fringe? Check them out and get involved.