The first order of business was for co-hosts Scott White and Chef Emily Richards to unveil a secret ingredient. Both teams would then have 45 minutes to create a starter and a main dish using that ingredient. To the surprise of both teams, the secret ingredient was… ground bison meat. Not exactly a common menu offering for either truck.
With the winner to be awarded a reserved spot at this fall’s Nuit Blanche, both trucks got to work with their new ingredient. Per Se’s Camilo and David spent a few minutes conversing in the truck before they started chopping, mixing, and grilling.
As the cooking continued, the panel of judges – Chef Veronica Mal, City Councilor Mary-Margaret McMahon, and food writer Elizabeth Baird – spent some time peeking into both trucks to see how the cuisine was coming along. Eventually they would award points for each dish based on visual presentation, aroma, creative use of the ground bison, and of course, taste.
At the end of the 45 minutes, Camilo and David had artfully prepared savoury profiteroles (cream puffs) for starters, filled with ground bison, mashed potatoes and peas, accompanied with chimichurri dressing, tomato chutney, and candied mango. Their main dish consisted of bison kafta (kebobs) on fresh-pressed corn tortillas with guacamole, corn, and salsa. Not bad for 45 minutes of prep and cooking time.
The guys from Gourmet Gringos countered with bison empanadas with chimichurri for their starter, and thick tortillas topped with bison, black beans, salsa, sour cream, sliced avocado, and pineapple habanero sauce as their main.
Two heavyweight food trucks went into this showdown, and both teams whipped up some unique, delectable dishes. After eyeing, smelling, and tasting each team’s creations, the judges marked their scorecards and selected the winner… Gourmet Gringos.
We were a little disappointed not to come out on top, but we reveled in the competition, and still walked away with a runner-up prize – a reserved spot at an upcoming installment of Tasty Thursdays at Nathan Phillips Square. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to find out exactly which Thursday that will be.
Thanks to the City of Toronto for inviting us to be a part of the competition, thanks to all the people who turned up to watch and cheer us on, and our sincere congratulations to Gourmet Gringos! Well played, gentlemen.