News: Winnipeg Kings and Queens of Poutine Crowned
Fries, gravy and cheese curds.
Those are the essential ingredients to making a fantastic poutine. After that, the only limit is imagination.
Winnipeg chefs have that in spades.
So on Thursday September 18, 10 local restaurants plated their best poutines in a quest for glory and the honour of winning Winnipeg's inaugural Poutine Cup.
Along with Deer + Almond chef/owner and bon vivant Mandel Hitzer and MasterChef Mike Green, I was honoured to judge this fun battle of the spud.
The contest was the work of Promenade Café owner Shawn Brandson with the help of Charcoal Collaborative, the enthusiastic and creative team behind Le Burger Week. CC also has a fantastic blog all about Winnipeg's design, art and food scene.
All 400 of the $35 tickets sold out. The poutine party was held outside at Fort Gibraltar. Eaters were given a fork and a ballot entry upon arrival. Organizers were blessed with a warm if not slightly windy night. A live band played on the porch and guests mixed on the grass and around the campfire at the Fort.
After sampling all 10 poutines (plus a bonus vegan poutine by Diversity Foods), we judges conferred. Points were awarded for fries, presentation, taste and toppings.
Four top contenders emerged for us judges. Meanwhile, the public picked their top choice.
And the winners are:
Maw's Garage won Best Poutine for their 'Schwartz,' a Montreal Smoked Meat-inspired poutine. Their pickle-brined fries put this team over the top. We were super stoked by these dill pickle chips. The smoked meat and the mustard, beef brisket gravy and caraway smoked curds (rye bread). Who knew poutine could be such a high-concept dish.
People's Choice (and coincidentally our second place) went to Marion Street Eatery. The 'Sweet and Salty' was topped with apple onion relish, Jack Daniels gravy, Bothwell cheese curds, goats cheese, spicy bacon and candied almond crumble. Their poutine was also inspired and the kitchen team managed to find a great balance sweet and salty.
Maw's Garage and Marion Street Eatery were both awarded trophies which they can keep for the year. Organizers hope to make Poutine Cup an annual event.
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