Deals & Events

5th Annual Groundhog Day Challenge Finds New Home

By Suresh Doss  |  January 23, 2014

Fans of the annual Groundhog Day chefs challenge can rest easy, the event has a new home.

For the last four years, acclaimed chef Chris McDonald has hosted the pork-themed challenge at his midtown restaurant Cava. He gathers local chef talent and pits them against each other to see who can create the best hog dish. After feasting through an army of plates, diners and a small judging panel then vote for their favorite dishes. The popular event has featured the who's who of culinary talent in the province from Grant Van Gameren (Bar Isabel), Geoff O'Connor (Nota Bene), Michael Steh (The Chase), Ryan Crawford (Stone Road Grille), Cory Vitiello (Harbord Room), Fabio Bondi (Local Kitchen), Albert Ponzo (Le Select Bistro) and  Matthew Sullivan (Skin n Bones). Chefs content to be the latest name immortalised on the custom trophy that is rewarded.

A few weeks ago, we learnt that McDonald was retiring the event. But the sad news didn't last long as winners of last year's People's Choice Award Carl Heinrich and Ryan Donovan quickly offered to step in and take over and continue the tradition. With McDonald's blessing, the duo has decided to host the event at their farm-to-table restaurant Richmond Station in the financial district, once again challenging chefs and cooks to present their best pork dish. "We really want to do this event justice. It's one of our favourite events, and we want to bring in six chefs and continue the challenge. It's a challenge sure, but its also a collaborative and convivial experience, these guys are cooking with each other and helping each other out." Ryan Donovan said.

The final roster of 7 chefs participating:

  • Albert Ponzo from Le Select
  • Jesse Vallins from The Saint
  • Alex Molitz from Farmhouse Tavern
  • Tara Besignano from Skin and Bones
  • Nicholas Marragou from Bar Boulud at The Four Seasons
  • Teo Paul from Union
  • Ted Corrado from The Drake Hotel

Richmond Station is currently accepting reservations for the event with limited seating. Tickets are $60 (includes food, drinks extra). If previous years are any indication, seats sell out at lightning speed.

Mon Feb 3, 1 Richmond St W, Toronto, 647-748-1444