Chefs Blackie and Gagnon in dead heat at Cooks Curds Gala

Chef Michael Blackie of Ottawa and Chef Francois Gagnon of Montréal share top honours in People’s Choice balloting for the most popular tasting dish at the Cooks & Curds Gala last weekend at the second annual Great Canadian Cheese Festival. Chef Katie Hayes of Newfoundland is runner-up.

Highland Blue Cubic Melt

Chef Blackie’s dish was a Highland Blue Cubic Melt with Crispy Chorizo, Acidulated Shimenji Mushrooms, Kumquat Compote and Mustard Lettuce. Back Forty Artisan Cheese makes Highland Blue. The dish was paired with Rosehall Run Vineyards 2009 Pinot Noir Cuvée County. Chef Michael Blackie, National Arts Centre, Ottawa

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

Chef Gagnon’s dish was Grilled Jalapeno Poppers stuffed with Fou du Roy and Pork, Smoked Ontario Rhubarb Jam. Les Fromagiers de la Table Ronde makes Fou du Roy. The dish was paired with Beau’s All Natural Brewing Festivale Altbier. Chef Francois Gagnon, Lunch Insolite, Montreal

Bonavista Goat Curry

The runner-up dish by Chef Katie Hayes was Bonavista Goat Curry with Coriander-Whipped Fresh Chèvre, Partridgeberry Chutney on Wood-Fired Oven Pita. The Chèvre was made by Monforte Dairy. The dish was paired with Lacey Estates Vineyard & Winery 2012 Gewurztraminer. Chef Katie Hayes, Bonavista Social Club, Upper Amherst Cove, Bonavista Peninsula, Newfoundland.

Chefs Francois Gagnon and Michael Blackie.

The winners were among the eight tasting dishes prepared by eight outstanding chefs from across Canada for the Cooks & Curds Gala at the 2012 Great Canadian Cheese Festival on Saturday evening. The Gala is the culinary and social highlight of the Cheese Festival, attracting some 400 guests..

Bob Blumer’s Blue Cappuccino

In the desert lounge following the strolling dinner, Food Network celebrity chef Bob Blumer made a guest appearance to prepare his signature blue-cheese cappuccino made with Alpindon from Kootenay Alpine Cheese and Devil’s Rock Creamy Blue from Thornloe Cheese.

Ivy Knight, editor-in-chief of Swallow, the new online food and drink magazine, served as Gala Co-ordinator.

Photos of four dishes courtesy of Yvonne T of The Hungry Cat. Photo of chefs courtesy of Ivy Knight of Swallow.

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