TORONTO – Liberty Village hotspot Mildred’s Temple Kitchen played host to an Iron-Chef-style duel this week as part of the LCBO’s launch of its fall whisky promotion.
Hosted by Food Network’s Kevin Brauch (a man all too familiar with kitchen stadium), the main event was a showdown between Mildred’s own Tyler Cunningham and, Frank Romano, chef de cuisine at another Toronto eatery, Far Niente.
Battle Whisky — note the missing ‘e’ and Canadian spelling of the bevy — featured the chef’s interpretations of four Canadian whiskies, all judged by a panel of culinary and cultural celebrities, including chef Lynn Crawford, crooner Matt Dusk, local TV personality Frankie Ferrangine and the Toronto Martini Club’s Michelle Hunt.
The multiple course meal, served to everyone, featured standouts like Cunningham’s whisky consommé with a goose liver dumpling, whisky-smoked salmon, whisky-toffee pudding and Romano’s sensational whisky-smoked bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, followed by a whisky- glazed doughnut with ice cream.
“This fun event is an opportunity to learn about whisky and the many ways it can be enjoyed, in particular Canadian whisky,” says Bob Downey, senior vice-president of Sales and Marketing at the LCBO. “Enjoyed neat or in a cocktail as well as a surprisingly appealing recipe ingredient, whisky is one of the most versatile spirits around.”
In the end, the home-field advantage proved too much to overcome, and Cunningham was crowned champion in what the judges called an extremely close competition.
While Canadian whisky took centre stage at this event, 88 whiskies from Canada, Scotland, United States and Ireland are being featured during the LCBO’s in-store promotion. “We sell more than $500-million worth of whisky annually, with Canadian whisky accounting for more than $340 million in sales,” says Downey. “And, this year, sales of Irish whisky are up almost 16 per cent over last year, while U.S. whisky sales are up almost five per cent.”