I’ve lived in Ottawa most of my life, but until this year, I’ve never attended the ByWard Market Stew Cook-Off. Silly me. However I was already planning to head downtown and enjoy a variety of delicious stews from ByWard Market restaurants—and then, as luck would have it, Apt613 editors offered me the chance to represent our blog as one of the Cook-Off judges. You can bet I jumped at the chance to taste every stew and vote for my favourites.
14 restaurants participated in this year’s cook-off. A panel of eight judges, including Henry Burris, former QB for the Ottawa RedBlacks, LiVE 88.5’s Dave Schellenberg, and Ottawa’s grande dame of food, Gay Cook, evaluated each stew on three criteria: visual presentation, flavour, and composition. The veteran judges warned me not to try and finish every sample that was put in front of me (a very good tip—I’m still full). The stews ranged from classic beef-and-root-veg creations to curries, chili, and even a seafood chowder.
After much deliberation (and deliciousness), the Russell Hendrix/Ron Eade Judges’ Choice Award winners for 2018 were named: Third place went to the ByWard Market Heart and Crown; second to the Ottawa Mission; and in first place, Tucker’s Marketplace.
Attendees were also invited to vote for the Top Shelf Distillers People’s Choice Awards. The 2018 winners: in third place, The Fish Market Restaurant; in second place, Tucker’s Marketplace; and in first place, The ByWard Market Heart and Crown.
One of the best things about this event—aside from it being a terrific showcase for great restaurants the Market has to offer—is that all of the proceeds from a $10 admission fee is donated to the Lowertown Community Resource Centre.
Congratulations to all of the winners! That was one heck of a tasty way to spend a chilly Friday afternoon.