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Posted December 14, 2012 by samuek in Blog Archive
 
 

At the 2012 Chef’s Challenge event at the Fairmont Royal York, Guy Fieri starts off the evening sharing that he lost his sister Morgan to melanoma and teared up in the process.  This event, though full of fun and hype has an extremely serious cause motivating it and an extremely dedicated group of people supporting it.  Before I get into the details of the event I would just like to share that close participation in the evening and getting to meet the organizers and volunteers has made me rethink what my view is on how to affect change.

Via a serious issue we get an opportunity to support a great cause but also gain access to a start studded and a year changing evening.  Guy Fieri was quoted as saying, “Of all the events I do, you guys are raising the bar higher than anyone else in the world.” Goes to show what can be accomplished with the right motivation.  Why not wake up and say “hey, I feel like creating one of the most memorable events in the city and donate the proceeds to charity.”  They did and so can any one of us.  

Now to the festivities.  The event was put on to supports Mt. Sinai and the mission to find a cure for breast and ovarian cancer.  Participating chefs were, Lynn Crawford, Chuck Hughes, Mark McEwan, David Rocco, Michael Smith and Guy Fieri with surprise cameos by Corbin Tomaszeski and Bob Blumer.  To be in the audience watch, one must have raised a minimum of $2500  for the charity.  At first this seemed high, but then I thought it would be nice for friends and family to rally around one person so they can attend. 

The top 50 fundraisers of the 400 or so that participated got a chance to join the battle alongside one of the 5 celebrity chefs for the whole day.  That was pretty cool and next year I am aiming to be in the top 50 to participate.

The evening started with an interactive cocktail hour, where cocktails where served alongside small bites.  I was joined here by the other Social Media Reporters, @sassygirlcanada @corecorina @cdnfoodiegirl @bestoftorontotv @  here we got to bid in silent auction items like sustainable caviar gift packs from Acadian Sturgeon, cookbooks, getaways and much more, all whole looking out for the celebrity chefs.

This is where I first met the towering Michael Smith.  He truly is a chef that is a “big deal.”

We were then called into the dining room which really blew my mind.  The stage looked like the American Iron Chef stage, so much so that I expected Alton Brown to pop his head out at anytime.  The room was alive even when empty and then turned electric as the people started to fill the room.  The stage was huge and spanned the length of the room.  Tables near the front housed the chef teams and we sat to the very left at the front.

About 30 minutes in, the chefs and their teams populated the tables, shared drinks, laughed and went over strategy to win.  This was quite an intense point of the event at times, watching the teams huddled together around their chef, waiting on baited breath for their respective chefs knowledge.   

Bob Blumer had the task of introducing Guy Fieri to kick-off the challenge portion and after a quick hype up, he cues Guy to enter.  Now I have seen Diners, Drive-ins and Dives many times so am familiar with his energy and style however, this did not prepare me for what Guy brings to an event.  He came in and transformed the entire environment.  He was loud, energetic, entertaining, personable, witty and over all a game changer.  This was a pleasant surprise and the night would not have been the same without him.

After sharing personal stories about the challenges his circles have has with cancer he kicked off the battles.  He started with a wildly entertaining chef introductions.  Chefs were brought up one at a time with Guy questioning them on their strategy, team and thoughts.  Of course, trash talking ensued and each chef  tried to verbally best the other.  Another surprise was how live Chuck Hughes can be.  He          


samuek

 


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