I just met James, who usually brown bags lunch at his desk. He said this is a fun change. He's tried 10 stews so far, and is especially loving the ones with smoked bacon.
But Mary is not very impressed. She'd been impressed by the exotic flavours used in previous years. She said she's let down chefs this year have played it safe with mostly traditional stews.
Time to announce the winners!!
Third place goes to Courtyard Restaurant's Korean pork shoulder stew.
The Heart and Crown's red wine, braised beef and bacon stew takes second.
The chefs are serving the last of their stews as the event come to a close.
The people's choice awards are being counted and will be up on the website within a day, according to organizers.
No count yet on how much money was raised, but organizers tell me last year's cook-off brought in $6,000 and they think they are close to that again this year.
I did try Steak's winning stew. I liked it but, but my first place "award" goes to the Organic Market's South Asian stew. It was rich and flavourful with a refreshing sweet taste.
Chantal Pomerleau, director general of the Lowertown Community Resource Centre, said today's funds will go to summer camps for six to 12 year olds from low-income families.
Judge Cremer just told me that the recipes she tasted today have inspired her to experiment in the kitchen. "Stew doesn't have to be just potatoes and carrots and meat," she said.