Crispy greens win Mac & Cheese showdown at CNE

Chef Andrew Farrell and Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese.

Chef Andrew Farrell and Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese.

Chef Andrew Farrell of Halifax took home top honours at the 2014 Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off for his Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese. The Mac & Cheese showdown took place at Dairy Farmers of Canada’s Canadian Cheese Counter at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in front of a crowd of cheese fans yesterday.

Four accomplished chefs and foodies from across Canada took to the stage in an attempt to create the ultimate comfort food using Canadian cheese, pasta and a little imagination.  In the end, it was Chef Andrew Farrell from 2 Doors Down in Halifax who emerged victorious.

Chef Farrell’s Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese was voted best overall by a panel of four cheese-loving judges. His dish packs a whole lot of Nova Scotia into one dish, with four cheeses from That Dutchman’s Farm—three Gouda and one Blue—produced in Upper Economy, Nova Scotia. Cheesy noodles are then topped with a kale-broccoli-Brussels sprouts crust and Sriracha hot sauce adds a spicy kick.

“The competition was as sharp as Canadian cheddar,” said Andrew Farrell. “All the dishes looked delectable and the crowd was really engaged. I am so thrilled my Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese, featuring three Goudas and Dragon’s Breath Blue cheese from That Dutchman’s Farm, won the hearts and taste buds of the judges.”

This year’s four fierce competitors included Bal Arneson, Food Network TV host and award-winning author from Vancouver, British Columbia; chef David Bohati, executive chef at MARKET Restaurant in Calgary, Alberta; Kevin Durkee, owner of CHEESEWERKS in Toronto, Ontario; and chef Andrew Farrell, head chef at 2 Doors Down in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The judging panel consisted of Sue Riedl, journalist, blogger and cheese ambassador; Rita DeMontis, Sun Media food editor; Jason Bangerter, executive chef and 2012 Grate Canadian (Grilled) Cheese Cook-Off champion, as well as Lorie Chater, cheese lover from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and the winner of the nation-wide contest for a “professional mac & cheese taster.”

The Cook-Off was organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada to take Canada’s beloved Mac & Cheese to a whole new level and showcase the outstanding quality, variety, taste, and versatility of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk.

Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese.

Crispy Greens Mac & Cheese.

Cheese lovers across Canada can access the four Mac & Cheese recipes and find tips for making the perfect Mac & Cheese by visiting www.allyouneedischeese.ca/cookoff.

QC14 #buickdrive: Searching for seafood around Gaspé—and cheese, of course

Fresh, sweet, succulent, our first lobster in Gaspésie at Capitaine Homard in Sainte Flavie.

Fresh, sweet, succulent, our first lobster in Gaspésie at Capitaine Homard in Sainte Flavie. Click image for larger view.

It was everything we wanted and more. Poissonnerie after poissonnerie all the way around Gaspésie made hunting for fresh, local seafood a snap. See below for what we enjoyed over 14 days and 2,945 kilometres in a Buick Enclave on QC14 #buickdrive.

Of course, cheese was not ignored. We visited five fromageries, three within Gaspé borders (first three shown), two just outside the region:

Sights and eats as captured in Facebook photo albums:

Kamouraska:

  • Lobster roll
  • Shrimp with salad
  • Poached salmon with salad

St. Flavie:

  • Lobster steamed with garlic butter
  • Clams (fried calamari style)
  • Fish trio: poached salmon, trout and cod with fries and coleslaw

St. Anne des Monts:

  • Cod and shrimp over wild rice
  • Scallops with avocado/tomato salsa
  • Seafood risotto: shrimp, scallops, mussels and lobster

Percé:

  • Scallops with bacon
  • Poutine with lobster
  • Fish soup

Forillon National Park:

  • Shrimp with salad
  • Crab claws two ways: in shell and ready to eat
  • Crab cakes
  • Crab mousse
  • Smoked trout with country bread
  • Poutine with shrimps

Carleton sur Mer:

  • Scallops with bacon
  • Shrimp
  • Salmon, turbot and cod bon bons
  • Mussels from Chaleur Bay
  • Smoked trout
Our Buick Enclave is shown crossing a covered bridge near the end of our Gaspé #buickdrive.

Our Buick Enclave is shown crossing a covered bridge near the end of our Gaspé #buickdrive. Click image for larger view.

Earlier Facebook photo albums: