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Adam Urquart, This End Up
From a very young age, Adam Urquhart has been a sandwich enthusiast. He is a staunch proponent of the power of the sandwich to unite us all. He believes sandwiches are capable of not only successfully bringing together disparate ingredients and textures into a harmonious whole, but is also of inspiring a confluence of divergent cultures and attitudes. If the language of food is a universal one, then the sandwich is perhaps the ultimate cross-cultural bridge - from the lowly PB&J to an elevated "haute-sandwich" laden with an embarrassment of decadent ingredients; from a Vietnamese Banh Mi to a Brazilian Bauru - there is a sandwich for everyone, regardless of race, creed or color.
Entry: This End Up's Pulled Pork Rendang Banh Mi. Slowly simmered pork gets a touch of exotic Malay spices and cooking treatment for a full-throttle flavour blast.
Paola Solorzano, Santo Pecado
Born and raised in Mexico, Chef Paola comes from a tribe-like family, consisting of a large number of abuelas, sisters, aunties and cousins that take great pleasure in gathering at the kitchen to share recipes, stories and secrets that invariably end in flavourful feasts. Upon moving to Canada, Paola decided to take her passion for food to the next level, and obtained a Culinary Management diploma, and a Nutrition certificate from George Brown College. With a broad knowledge of Mexican ingredients and flavours under her belt, she co-founded Santo Pecado, a Mexican catering social enterprise that has been a steady success since its creation, a couple of years ago.
Entry: Pork Confit Sliders. Pork confit sliders with roasted tomato sauce and marinated red onion.
James Craig, Locus144 Lounge
Chef James Craig’s love of food began at an early age. His passion continued throughout his life, and a fascination with BBQ took hold and after a lengthy career in the technical industry. Chef James took a leap of faith and began his journey at George Brown Culinary Institute, where he found his calling. From slinging fries to working at the Distillery Restaurants Corporation's The Boiler House, he developed the skills to move forward. Under the tutelage of Chef Keith Forgget and Chef Carolyn Reid, James worked at Scaramouche honing his fine dining skills before moving to Delica Restaurant under Chef Graham Bower. His dedication to following true BBQ traditions, from homemade baked beans to a 24 hour smoked brisket, has allowed Locus 144 to become the Liberty Village BBQ destination.
Entry: Smoked Jerk Sandwich. Low and slow smoked, jerked pork gets a hit of the islands via the deep south.
Adam Alguire, The County General
Adam started his cooking career in high school as a co-op student at The Kingbridge Centre in King City, ON. After discovering a love for the craft he disbanded his current path for a university education and moved to Toronto to pursue a cooking career. During this time, he attended George Brown College as well as the ITHQ in Montreal and L'Institute Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France. Finding a passion for French food, he moved to Montreal to work at L'Express for a year before returning home to Toronto and a three-year stint at Canoe. Adam is now the chef of The County General.
Entry: The Lil' Smokie Pork Sandwich. A house-smoked pork sausage served on warm buttered pretzel with collard greens, dijon and malted mayo.
Carlos Flores, No 7 Mexican Hot Sauce
Carlos Flores was raised in Northern California and has lived in Toronto for the past 15 years. If you asked Carlos if he considers himself a chef, he'd probably laugh and disagree. For one, he doesn't have any credentials, however, he doesn't feel any less qualified. He knows that his gift is creating and that's exactly what he's done from when he was young. He enjoys working in the kitchen and is always inspired to create clean and flavourful dishes. Since launching No 7 Mexican Hot Sauce, his most recent creation, he's been even more dedicated to share with others how to create simple dishes by incorporating his hot sauce.
Entry: No 7 Mexican Hot Porkitas. This sandwich is a creative reinterpretation of the Mexican pork "carnitas" you usually find on a taco, No 7 Hot Sauce style.
Chef Ren Mercer is known for his innovative food styles and concepts featured in food magazines, Food Network, Women's Network, trade shows and the web. He leads with an array of widely acclaimed upmarket, high profile A-list parties coinciding with Porsche-Martini Rossi Gala, Montreal F1 Grand Prix, globally renowned Nikki Beach and Toronto International Film Festivals. Off-the-road traveller and chef to the stars with a fresh and inviting way of cooking, Ren's inspired by classic and modern cuisines, Mediterranean fare, the flavours of Asia and foods from all over the Americas. An ardent practitioner of the tender art of giving, Ren is an out spoken advocate against modern processed foods and an infamous lover of natural, locally-grown grandmother-style cooking.
Entry: Adobo Pork Belly Taco. Pinoy-Adobo pork with a pineapple-Nappa Slaw and a fresh Salsa Verde.
Christian Pritchard’s passion for food started as a toddler with weekly trips to the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto with his first culinary mentor, his dad. The sights, sounds, tastes and smells were the catalyst for a career in food and entertaining. Today, Pritchard dishes up his own brand of “gastrotainment” around the globe on TV, online in social media, in cooking classes and his restaurant.
Pritchard’s background includes food broadcasting experience with The Food Network, CBC, CityTV, CHCH, NEWSTALK 1010 and TALK640. He is also host of Rogers TV’s Daytime. When not in front of the cameras, he is in demand for his food industry work across North America and around the world teaching many cooking classes each year, emceeing large food events with culinary titans such as Mark McEwan, Lynn Crawford, Curtis Stone, Susur Lee, Martin Yan, Kevin Brauch and competing in Iron Chef Competitions for charities across Canada.