To mark the beginning of Ottawa’s largest winter festival, brave ByWard Market restaurants participated in their 26th Annual Winterlude Stew Cook-Off this past Friday, February 3. The Cook-Off featured specialty stews by almost 20 restaurants in the ByWard Market – and I had the amazing opportunity to sample stews for the judges panel.
Each stew was judged based on its visual presentation, flavour, composition and texture. To amp up the suspense (and, well, to minimize bias!), this was a “blind tasting” – the judges did not know which restaurant made which stew. There was an amazingly creative variety of stews, including flavours and ingredients like seafood chowder, maple beef stew, coconut curry, and crunchy croutons and cheese curds!
To join in on the fun, admission cost $10 for all-you-can-eat stew! Proceeds were generously donated to the Good Neighbours Community House of the Lowertown Community Resource Centre.
After tallying up all the votes, the Russell Hendrix Judges’ Choice Award winners:
1st place – Tucker’s Marketplace Restaurant
2nd place – Blue Cactus Bar and Grill
3rd place – Heart & Crown (ByWard Market)
Congratulations also to the Forty Creek People’s Choice Award winners!
1st place – Heart & Crown (ByWard Market)
2nd place – Tucker’s Marketplace Restaurant
3rd place – The Fish Market Restaurant
It was a wonderful experience to sample all the delicious dishes created by local culinary talent. Plus, more than $5,000 was raised for a local charity. The Stew Cook-Off was a heartwarming way to kick off Winterlude 2017.
All of the judges, including celebrities Henry Burris, food blogger Mathieu Beausoleil, and Mathieu Fleury (City Councillor, Rideau-Vanier):