The 2nd Annual Food Fight! The Battle for Brunch Recap & Winners!
Presented by Variety The Children’s Charity
Winner of the Battle for Brunch Executive Chef Oliver Beckert at YEW Restaurant + Bar
Winner: YEW Restaurant + Bar
Runner-Up: EBO Restaurant
3rd Place: O’Doul’s Restaurant + Bar
What better way to kick off my Sunday then by attending the 2011 2nd Annual Food Fight! The Battle for Brunch fundraiser for Variety – The Children’s Charity. The winner of Iron Chef… oops, sorry, wrong show… the winner of Battle for Brunch was Chef Oliver Beckert at YEW Restaurant + Bar, who was also the runner up for last year’s Food Fight as well – see my post here. It was an incredibly close race and based on public voting from over 200 stuffed attendees.
I think I had about six eggs last year and they do stand for “grade A goodness”, so does that mean I was smarter last year than this year? Anyways the event had half the amount off eggs and benedicts this year and maybe twice the amount of sweets, so it all balances out… I was smarter last year, but sweeter this year! All jokes aside, if possible, I was honoured to be invited to this fun-filled, food-filled and of course heart-filled… heart-felt event? Hmmm maybe I should go eat another egg… but the event raised over $40,000!
Since the event was for Variety Charity, a charity dedicated to helping families and children with special needs, I’m not going to comment on the food too much. On the other hand they don’t call it a “Battle” for nothing, so without further ado let’s crack an egg on the head and let the yolk run down! And really, here’s the run down of my 6 mini brunches!
Food Fight competitors included: Market by Jean-Georges, O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar, Terminal City Club, Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Resort, YEW Restaurant + Bar, The Abercorn Hotel & Restaurant, and EBO Restaurant at Delta Burnaby Hotel and Conference Centre.
Winner: YEW Restaurant + Bar
I actually started off at the winning table. Breakfast for champions, from the champion! It was delicious and their win was well deserved and part of my top 3 picks.
I’ve been to the YEW for brunch before and I loved their Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Raspberries & White Chocolate Mascarpone. The West Coast Crab Cake Eggs Benedict and Fruit Salad with Cilantro were also very good, but I found the Brunch Pizza just okay. The added bonus are the soft and fluffy melt in your mouth sugared donuts they serve complimentary.
Serrano Ham & Manchego Cheese Croquette, Smoked Tomato Dip: A crispy panko crusted croquette filled with creamy and rich salty ham & Manchego cheese risotto. The tomato sauce helped cut the richness and this was substantial enough for lunch… well if I had 6 it would be.
Wild Berry Cheesecake Lollipop: It was a play on their Caramelized Chocolate Truffle Lollipop on their regular menu.
For more on the food at The YEW see my video and blog post here, and here for cocktails.
Runner up: EBO Restaurant
Quail Egg’s Benedict: House Cured Maple Bacon, Mini English Muffin, Chervil Hollandaise. It was quite a standard bite sized eggs benny and I was expecting more since I have high expectations for EBO Restaurant.
Toasted Pecan & Banana Stuffed French Toast: Sortilege Whipped Cream, Crisp Bacon. It was warm and creamy sweet banana sandwiched between french toast with crispy bacon to give it contrasting savoury flavour. It was good and it’s a good idea with great textures, but also what you would expect from the description. Good as dessert.
For more on the food at EBO Restaurant see my post for them here and here.
O’Doul’s Restaurant & Bar
Mike’s Cultus Lake Corned Beef Hash: Poached Free Run Egg, Potatoes, Yams, Tomatoes, Peppers, Grainy Dijon Hollandaise. This was my 2nd choice. The corned beef hash was smoky, moist and tender with sweet yams to contrast and a nice rich and buttery mustard seed hollandaise. I could have used more of Dijon kick, but that’s personal.
Freshly Baked Scones: Sundried Tomato & Okanagan Goat Feta: I had two of these! Crispy, savoury and tangy and they’re served complimentary at brunch on weekends. They had tons of sundried tomato and were almost like cookies.
Fresh Fruit Smoothie: Local Organic Blueberries, Chilliwack Honey, Yogurt. I had about 4 of these. It was so naturally sweet and creamy and almost tasted like pure blueberries with a gentle honey flavour and yogurt texture that wasn’t too thick.
Market by Jean-Georges
The Market by Jean-Georges Station
French Toast with Caramelized Apple & Bacon. This is available on their regular menu and it’s 4 pieces for $16. This was my personal favourite and perhaps because I have a sweet tooth, so I saved it for the end as dessert. It was delicious! It was a super fluffy, spongy and moist brioche french toast deep fried! It was nice and crispy with a soft fluffy center and topped with sweet tender apples and crispy salty bacon. The contrast of sweet and savoury was beautiful and the pork and apples are a solid combination.
Ummm can you say star struck? *Faint* World renowned Chef Jean-Georges and I at The Market by Jean-Georges. This photo is from a previous event and thank you to Chef Alex Tung from Tapenade Bistro for playing photographer.
Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort
Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort had the most impressive spread. They went all out and served four items which was pretty much a full brunch.
Honey & Lavender Jumbo Prawn Salad over Nanoose Edible Farm Greens. They made a Warm Nanoose Edibles’ Spinach Salad and Sweet Potato Waffle with Okanagan Pecan and Roast Pecan Compote last year which won them the champion title. I preferred last year’s menu to this year’s. The salad tasted very basic this year and I wouldn’t have guessed there was lavender in it and the prawns were very mediocre.
Italian Panini on Marble Rye with Crab Bisque Saffron Cream. Unfortunately I really wasn’t a fan of this one either. The bread was good, but it was basically a grilled cheese and smoked “ham” sandwich. The crab bisque was served with a huge dollop of butter that melted into the soup and it was really thin and very buttery and the flavours weren’t jiving.
Dark Chocolate Cupcake with White Chocolate Ganache and Roasted Pistachio Tuile.
This was definitely more like a brownie than cupcake. It was dense, rich, decadent and pretty sweet, but I liked it. It had a crispy exterior and the inside was moist and fudgey like a brownie. The white chocolate was really light and more like a whipped cream which was good because it was sweet enough. The roasted pistachio tuile was like a soft cake, but I didn’t know it was supposed to be pistachio flavoured despite the green specs I saw.
They even had “Cammie Droppings” which were chocolate covered rice crispy clusters, without the marshmallow, for people to take home.
The Abercorn Hotel & Restaurant
Pan Seared Duck Foie Gras on Pached Fruite with Leek and Vermouth Soubise & Port Reduction. I didn’t really get this, but it was the most gourmet and almost like dinner. It was pretty much a fruit salad with duck and foie gras, but not as well executed as it sounds. The sauces were nice though.
Terminal City Club
Kippered Herring, Herb Poached Free Range Egg, Fried Baguette, Butter Briased Tomato. The eggs were really softly scrambled and a bit runny and I loved that, but the bread was a bit thick and hard and I thought it was just toasted. A risky brunch since Herring is so acquired, but I love its salty fishiness and texture, so I liked the toppings on this.
Congratulations to all the chefs and Variety! Most of the brunch items, if not all, are served on their regular brunch menu. Happy brunching!
wow i’m really surprised that yew won for the battle of the brunch, not because they aren’t a fab restaurant because i know from personal experience that they are but their menu item is not very brunch like at all – no eggs, no pancakes, no bacon or sausages.. but i have to say that their item was quite innovative and the wild berry pops are super cute 🙂
mmm the scones from odoul’s look very good – i always thought this place was more pubby than anything but now this menu totally changed my mind – gotta check this place out! omg the french toast from market looks really good and not a bad deal since it’s a higher end restaurant – i’ve only been here for dinner so brunch will definitely be an option here!
Tigh-na-Mara’s menu was very impressive indeed – their spread is very expansive and i’m sorry to hear that their execution was well done 🙁
It was a great time for sure. And LOTS of butter used, that’s all I could smell walking into Termianl City club!lol. One of my favorites was definitely the cheesecake lollipop from yew; I loved how you get the three layers of textures as you bit through it.
I was going to say hi to you but you looked so focus on getting the perfect picture for the quail’s egg benedict!lol…
oops i meant ‘not well done’ at the end lol
mmmm brunch, love it! everything looks so delish!
I’m impressed with the offerings from O’doul’s – both the corned beef hash and the scones look so good! I went there for brunch once, years ago and remember really liking it. I may have to go back again soon. The croquette from YEW also looks really good… I’m a big fan of their brunch menu!
It’s too bad about Tigh-Na Mara… their spread looks so nice! Just goes to prove not everything that looks good always tastes good.
@Linda – I agree with you! Yup! Yew has great brunch, but the menu item was less “brunchy” but still tasted great! And I also thought O’doul’s was a pub until about 3 years ago when I noticed them being associated with high end events/promotions. The chef there does a consistently great job at events, but i have yet to try the actual restaurant myself.
@vivian – You were there?!?! boo!! I missed you!! You totally should have interrupted me lol!! I love seeing you!! what was your fav?
@Dilara – omg the scones were good! AND complimentary at their brunch! okay so breakfast here, brunch at The Well, Baker’s Market and dinner at The Apron!! Yeah I just thought Tigh-Na-Mara tried to do too many things and it backfired a bit 🙁
Mmm… just seeing your pictures again is making me drool! Everything was so tasty that that morning and you captured it all so well! So nice running into you again that morning. Blueberry smoothies + savoury scones for the win!
@Sheryl – lol YES! Aw thank you! It was awesome bumping into you too!! Savoury scones for the win AND to go 🙂
It was hard to pick a favorite since each restaurant offered several items. I really enjoyed the lollipop from Yew, the smoothie from O’doul’s and the french toast from EBO. That’s why it was so hard to pick!lol…but those were definitely my top 3’s.