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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Dessert sponsor, Sweet Revenge Bake Shop, will return to serve their sinfully delicious desserts.
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:
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).
BREW, Canadian Club, Frank Brewing Co., The Grove Brew House, Muscedere Vineyards, Pelee Island Winery, Sprucewood Shores Estate Winery, and Walkerville Brewery.
Sweet Revenge Bake Shop
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.