Culinary competition heats up Food Lovers Field Days

Upper Canada Village will host over 30 food, wine and beer artisans and producers at a new culinary event Saturday and Sunday, August 16 and 17 showcasing a selection of the region’s best local food and beverage producers.  And there’s more….this year’s event is themed around the love and role of cast iron cookware.

The highlight of the weekend will take place on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., with an all-new Iron Pan Competition.  

Chefs from across the region will vie for the judges’ favour as they create a dish using a box of local mystery ingredients, each using a single cast iron skillet. 

Competing Chefs include:  Chef Supremo Ahmad Mansori from Cornwall’s Table 21 and Truffles Burger Bar; Executive Chef Derek MacGregor representing Le Chien Noir Bistro in Kingston; Executive Chef John Leung from Ottawa’s Steak Modern:  Steak & Sushi located in the Byward Market and  Executive Chef Jhonatan Gonzales from Winchelsea Events, Winchester.  

Executive Chef Luc McCabe from NAV Centre will lead the judging panel with the help of Peter Hum, Food Editor at the Ottawa Citizen and Hélène Peloquin, Cook, Writer and blogger from Ottawa (La Cuisine d’Hélène). Chef Wes Wilkinson, Culinary Faculty Member at Algonquin College will Emcee.  

Contestants will be judged on, but not limited to their creativity, use of mystery ingredients, flavours, and cleanliness.  

“We’re extremely pleased to see an increase in event vendors this year, proving that Culinary Tourism is strong and continuing to rise”, says Geoff Waycik, UCV Manager. ”We’ve got one of the most unique venues in Ontario to host this event and as we add in our own Village staff cooking interpretations, it really puts a historic spin on food. The iron skillet theme this year has generated much interest – as the trend with many customers is to simplify and get back to basics in everyday life.  This is the year to attend this event!”

On Sunday, a new segment featuring sensational single-skillet suppers made simple will be presented three times during the day at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m.

Special guest Gourmet Food Chef  Dwight Saunders, Teacher and Wellness Consultant of Aura Culinary Arts in Iroquois, will lend his culinary expertise, preparing three unique dishes from around the world, using local ingredients!  

Not to be missed on Saturday & Sunday: 

The Original 100 Mile Diet…

Throughout the weekend, Upper Canada Village’s own characters from the past will be presenting the region’s original 100-mile diet through heirloom garden tours, as well as special heritage cooking demonstrations and taste testing in the historic kitchens of three of its 19th century homesteads (Louck’s Farm, Tenant Farm and Cook’s Tavern). Other food-related activities will include grinding flour in Bellamy’s Steam Flour Mills, baking bread in the bakery and making cheddar cheese in the Union Cheese Factory.  Village flour, bread and cheese will all be for sale in the farmers’ market area.

The cast iron theme continues throughout the site.  Period kettles, woodstoves and utensils all crafted from iron will be highlighted and/or put to use throughout Upper Canada Village over the weekend.   Visitors can test their strength at the skillet tossing challenge, a more than “light-hearted” activity that will add some weight to the event’s full roster of activities.  

Stop in at Crysler Hall to see “Fire in the Kitchen”, a special exhibit showing technological change in the kitchen in the 19th century.  From new food products, gadgets and tools, to new methods of preparing food, the century marked a period of rapid innovation in the home.  See if you can figure out the mystery artifacts!

Dining in a 19th Century Inn – Willard’s Hotel Weekend Special

Historic Willard’s Hotel Restaurant, across the street from the fairgrounds, is featuring a Food Lover’s Special: Homemade Chicken Pot Pie, Side Salad in a Sweet Cider Vinaigrette Dressing, Village Bread, Strawberry Shortcake and Beverage – $20 per person, both Saturday and Sunday.  Reservations are recommended at 613-543-0660. Willard’s Hotel is licensed and air-conditioned. Other regular menu items will also be offered.

Access to the Farmer’s Market in the fairgrounds, presentations and activities are all included in admission to Upper Canada Village. Adult $18, Senior (65 yrs+) $16; Youth (6-12 yrs) $12.  Visit or call 800-437-2233 or 613-543-4328 (locally) for more information or to purchase tickets.

A complete list and description of all vendors participating is available online.  Food Lover’s Field Days is also sponsored by Foodland Ontario, Stormont & Dundas Milk Producers and the Ontario Egg Farmers (Eastern Ontario region).

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