Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres 2018 Participants Announced Including New & Returning Restaurants

Details of Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres 2018 have been revealed and Windsor Essex County’s top chefs from area restaurants and hospitality businesses will compete at one of Windsor’s most exciting food competitions in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex.

This year’s participants were officially announced at Walkerville Brewery during a press conference on April 4, 2018 and the event will take place on May 10, 2018 at Caesars Windsor. (Update: Please note due to the labour dispute at Caesars Windsor the event has been rescheduled for September 19th and some of the participants and details may change.)

Several new faces will participate this year including The Grove Brew House in both the food and beverage categories. (See Photo Above: The Grove Brew House Chef Shane Harrison (left), general manager Ty Getty (centre), and Sous Chef Brandon Zuech (left) holding a tray of slider/sandwiches they offered for sampling during a media launch announcing this year’s Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres details at Walkerville Brewery on April 4, 2018. Photo by Eric Bonnici.)

Both Chef Shane and Sous Chef Brandon say they have a bunch of ideas for what hors d’oeuvre they want to enter into the competition. “We’ll probably have an in house competition and whichever one wins will be what we use,” explains Chef Shane. Chef Shane will face off against Sous Chef Brandon for their in house battle.

Cortina Gourmet Market Chef Robert Bertozzi (left) and Twiggs Bar & Grill Chef Benjamin Atkinson

Cortina Gourmet Market Chef Robert Bertozzi (left) and Twiggs Bar & Grill Chef Benjamin Atkinson during the 32nd annual Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres media launch at Walkerville Brewery on April 4, 2018. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

Red Seal Certified Chefs Robert Bertozzi and Benjamin Atkinson will also be battling for an award. The pair are good friends who went to culinary school together and have recently worked together at the new Spago Ristorante inside Caesars Windsor. However, they will be in competition with each other during Battle of The Hors D’oeuvres.

Cortina Gourmet Market’s Ralph Ferri (left) and Chef Robert Bertozzi (right) during the 32nd annual Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres media launch at Walkerville Brewery on April 4, 2018. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

Bertozzi is now with the new Cortina Gourmet Market set to open this May at 4320 Howard Ave in Windsor. The market will offer a hot table, cold table, groceries, fresh bread and pastries, with a focus on organic and hormone free ingredients. When asked what hors d’oeuvre they plan to enter, Bertozzi said, “it’s going to be something special but I’m keeping it close to my chest for now.” He joked, “do you know what anybody else is making?”

Battle of the Hors D'oeuvres Critics Choice Restaurant 2016 Award Winner: Twigg's Bar & Grill

Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres Critics Choice Restaurant 2016 Award Winner: Twigg’s Bar & Grill at Caesars Windsor on May 26, 2016. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

Chef Atkinson is no stranger to Battle of The Hors D’oeuvres. Last year his Twiggs Bar & Grill team took second place for the People’s Choice Award, and in 2016 they took first place Critics Choice Award. Ironically, Atkinson invited Bertozzi on as a guest team member back in 2016 (Bertozzi was working for the Unemployed Health Centre Kitchen at the time). This year along with his team from Twiggs, Atkinson will aim to reclaim the top award.

Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres 2017 Critics Choice Hospitality Award Winner,: Smashed Apple Catering and Takeout

Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres 2017 Critics Choice Hospitality Award Winner,: Smashed Apple Catering and Takeout at Caesars Windsor on May 17, 2017. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

But winners and competitors from previous years are returning to fight for the highly sought after Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres awards. Returning to defend their title is 2017 Critics Choice Hospitality Award Winner, Smashed Apple Catering and Takeout. Smashed Apple also took first place winning the same award in 2015.

Julie Myers and her team from Thyme to Go holding People's Choice Award.

Thyme to Go Chef Julie Myers and her culinary team holding their Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres People’s Choice Award at Caesars Windsor on May 26, 2016. Photo by Eric Bonnici.

The culinary creations of Thyme To Go Chef Julie Myers have tantalized guests taste buds for several years in a row during the battle. She recently opened a new restaurant location, Thyme Kitchen, in downtown Windsor. Surprisingly, she hasn’t taken the top award yet. However, in 2016 Thyme To Go was awarded People’s Choice Second Place.

Assumption College Catholic High School culinary arts students at Battle of the Hors D'oeuvres

Assumption College Catholic High School culinary arts students hold hors d’oeuvres they prepared during Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres at Caesars Windsor on May 18, 2017. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

The popular pre-event featuring delicious hors d’oeuvres prepared by Assumption College Catholic High School culinary students will return again this year. Their culinary creations have consistently been worthy of going up against the main event competitors.

Last year, in a new twist to the battle, one of the high school students from Assumption College Catholic High School joined the panel of local celebrity judges to help select the winners for the Critics Choice Awards. In addition to the student, this year’s celebrity panel of judges will include Chef John Kukucka from Essex Golf & Country Club, Chef Daniele Palanca from Ambassador Golf Club, and Pina Ciotoli from Windsor Eats.

Jake van Dongen

Muscian, Jake van Dongen, sings and plays the guitar during Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres at Caesars Windsor on May 26, 2016. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

Local vocalist and guitarist, Jake van Dongen, band member in both Inoke Errati and Salesman of The Year, will return to provide live entertainment for the third year in a row.

Caesars Windsor Chefs serving hors d'oeuvres during Battle of The Hors D'oeuvres

Caesars Windsor Chefs serving hors d’oeuvres during Battle of The Hors D’oeuvres inside the Augustus Ballroom at Caesars Windsor on May 18, 2017. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

Caesars Windsor Neros Steakhouse hors d'oeuvres during Battle of The Hors D'oeuvres

Caesars Windsor Neros Steakhouse hors d’oeuvres during Battle of The Hors D’oeuvres inside the Augustus Ballroom at Caesars Windsor on May 18, 2017. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

For the fifth year in a row presenting sponsor Caesars Windsor will host Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres in the Augustus Ballroom. Caesars Windsor’s culinary team will also participate in the battle once again. In fact, last year Caesars Windsors signature restaurant, Neros Steakhouse, took the First Place People’s Choice Award.

Assorted baked goods from Sweet Revenge Bake Shop

Assorted baked goods from Sweet Revenge Bake Shop during the 32nd annual Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres media launch at Walkerville Brewery on April 4, 2018. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

Dessert sponsor, Sweet Revenge Bake Shop, will return to serve their sinfully delicious desserts.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex's Battle of the Hors D'oeuvres Sponsors

Some of the sponsors of Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex’s Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres during a media launch announcing this year’s event details at at Walkerville Brewery on April 4, 2018. Photo by Eric Bonnici.

Local radio personality, Dan MacDonald of 93.9 FM The River (centre in the above photo) will emcee the event for his very first time.

The full list of participants includes:

Food Participants

Artisan Grill, Caesars Windsor, Cortina Gourmet Market, The Grove Brew House, Macro Foods Inc., Nola’s, The Orwell Public House, Parkside Grill, Smashed Apple Gourmet Catering, Snackbar-B-Q, Thyme To-Go, Twiggs Bar & Grill, and Good Neighbour (formerly The Willistead).

Beverage Participants

BREW, Canadian Club, Frank Brewing Co., The Grove Brew House, Muscedere Vineyards, Pelee Island Winery, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, and Walkerville Brewery.

Dessert Sponsor

Sweet Revenge Bake Shop

The Grove Brew House provided slider/sandwiches during a media launch announcing the details of the upcoming Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex Battle of The Hors D'oeuvres

The Grove Brew House provided slider/sandwiches during a media launch announcing the details of the upcoming Big Brothers Big Sisters Windsor Essex Battle of The Hors D’oeuvres at Walkerville Brewery on April 4, 2018. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.

Battle of the Hors D’oeuvres is an exciting “non-gala” style event that encourages guests to “come as you are” after work, schmooze with some of Windsor’s best food and beverage establishments, while enjoying creative cuisine, drinks, and networking!

Guests will have a chance to be food critics and vote for their favourites to win the People’s Choice Award. Guests will also enjoy bidding on silent auction items, entering a raffle, and live music.

All funds raised support the 7 youth mentoring programs at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Windsor Essex which currently provides services to over 720 children in our community.

Tickets are only $95 each (group tickets available). Price includes tastings from all food and drink participants and dessert.

For more information or to purchase tickets contact Hayley Morgan at (519) 945-6232 ext.13, hayley.morgan@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca or visit http://www.bigbrothersbigsisterswe.ca

Promotional post card for Battle of The Hors D'oeuvres.

Promotional post card for Battle of The Hors D’oeuvres. Photo by Eric Bonnici / Eyes On Windsor.