Three innovative Manitoba food businesses received a financial boost at this past weekend’s 8th Annual Great Manitoba Food Fight (GMFF).
The culinary competition went down on Saturday at Jane’s Restaurant, located within Red River College’s Paterson GlobalFoods Institute.
The Gold Prize Package, featuring $13,000 worth of marketing, packaging and development services went to Jill Tanner for her Jamore! Real Fruit Spread. Tanner’s preserve proved that sometimes less is more in the food world, as her four-ingredient product (it only contains blueberries, prunes, water and chia seeds) proved to be the standout for the judges.
The Silver Package, with an approximate value of $8,500, was awarded to Bessie Hatzitrifonos for her Bessie’s Best Tapenade while the Bronze Package, at an approximate value of $4,000, was awarded to farmer-come-food developer Amy Nikkel, Canada’s only producer of gluten-free, organic oats for her Adagio Acres brand Rolled Naked Oats.
Red River College students were also part of the program as ten of our future chefs made some innovative canapés highlighting the ten competing Manitoba made products.
“The students were chosen based on their interest, creativity and drive to work with new products – so there was no shortage of volunteers,” said Keith Muller, Dean, RRC School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts. “They get to be the first chefs to use a new and innovative product and hopefully these are the products that they will help to promote in the industry when they transition into the workplace,” Muller continued.
While my personal favourite was student Don Vavroll’s use of Cornell Creme’s Honey & Mustard Ice Cream in a savoury cone with pork, red pepper and black sesame (yes, pork and ice cream together — it was incredible), first place in the student competition went to Daniel Coombs for his canapé involving Naked Rolled Oates and pork tenderloin; second went to student Amy Smith for her well balanced bite which buttressed Bessie’s Best Tapenade with pineapple and a soft, thyme infused cheese; while student Ramina Ritual took third for her transformation of Virginia Enriquez’s Fish Sausage into a fish slider.
This is the first year that the GMFF has partnered with RRC’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts.
A full list of competitors and their products can be found here.
About the author: Mike Green is a food writer and journalist in Winnipeg. He recently finished 5th on MasterChef Canada.