NOSH Chef Wars: Who will be Hamilton’s Top Chef?

NOSH Chef Wars: Who will be Hamilton’s Top Chef?


This year marks the first year of NOSH, Hamilton’s weeklong culinary celebration with almost 60 events to honour the city’s food culture. From October 17-23, you’ll get to enjoy special menus, promotions, cooking demonstrations and more from the likes of Made for you by Madeleine, Mezcal TNT, Bike Appetit, Karam Kitchen, Pop Up Hamilton, and other culinary superstars.

NOSH will be judged by Chef Patrick Wiese (celebrity chef to Avril Lavigne, Oprah Winfrey), who is kicking off the week with his “Intimate Dining Series” fundraiser for Matthew’s Friends. He’ll be the lucky guy who gets to sample every creation throughout the week and announce the “Best in Show” Chef/Restaurant/Dish at Lake Road’s NOSH Best in Show closing event.

Read the full list of events here or check out Dave Hanley’s taste of what’s to come on #MyHamilton. NOSH week is presented by The City of Hamilton and sponsored by FirstOntario Credit Union.

As a fan of Chopped Canada, I’m most excited for Chef Wars, Monday October 17 from 5-9 at Liuna Station. Chef Wiese is also the one who is picking the secret basket ingredients (chefs, watch out!). Hamilton has an impressive round-up of Chopped winners by the way, including Matt Kershaw (The Other Bird), Manny Ferreira (Mezcal TNT & Uno Mas), and Stephanie Brewster (RBG). Modelled after Chopped but with a Hamilton flair, ten renowned Hamilton chefs will compete in Chef Wars and only one will emerge as the best of the best in Hamilton.

Chefs will face off to create an appetizer, main course, and dessert under the clock for this NOSH week signature event. The competition will be judged by three amazing chefs: Matt Beasley (Aberdeen Tavern), Leo Santos (Papa Leo’s) and Shane McCartney (Salt Lick/Knead). Tickets are only $15 and admission includes music by Dr. Disc, appetizers, and a steamy competition. There will be a cash bar.


Meet the Competition: Hamilton’s top chefs

Scott Bailey (City Farm Catering) has worked for the Ancaster Mill, Harbour Banquet Conference Centre in Oakville, Spencer’s at the Waterfront, and Bread Bar. He’s done demos for The Spec’s Go Cooking Classes and the LCBO as well as appeared on CHCH and the Shopping Network. Chef Scott opened City Farm Catering Est. in 2014 and creates customized catering menus for offsite weddings and other events, in-home dining and private parties, plus interactive cooking lessons.

Course 1. Heirloom beet salad, ricotta, beet greens, orange, apple cider & walnuts #privatedining #privatechef

A photo posted by Chef Scott Bailey (@cityfarmcatering) on

James Kayser (Butcher & Vegan), formerly at Le Pain Quotidien, Symposium Cafe, and Paupers Pub, moved to Hamilton in 2011. He is Chef/Owner of Butcher & the Vegan, a Hamilton eatery focused on farm-to-table cooking, bringing people together over good food. All of their suppliers are hand-picked within a 100 km radius of Hamilton. The menu is local, sustainable, and ethical, accommodating various dietary restrictions.

Matt Kershaw (Other Bird) is executive chef of six restaurants (The Mule, Rapscallion, Except for Kenneth, Two Black Sheep, Black Sheep Snack Bar, and Burro) and co-founder with partner Erin Dunham. Matt recently won Chopped Canada and his restaurant group, The Other Bird, is considered a pillar in Hamilton’s restaurant scene.

Ken LeFebour (Nellie James) has restaurants in downtown Dundas and Hamilton, as well as catering menus and a Gourmet to Go chalkboard, offering patrons the opportunity to take a contemporary meal to go. He also offers weekly specials as well as Friday prix fixe dinners to go. His menu is small but changing, supplying real food with no additives and no shortcuts, using seasonal foods from local farmers and growers. 

Mark Farrugia (Sasso) is master of Italian food, opening Sasso on Upper James in addition to La Piazza Allegra down the road, operating since 1997. Pizzas and pastas are second nature to Chef Mark, who hosts cooking demos in his restaurant as well as CHCH, Fortinos, and other stages. The menu is always changing, using hand-picked quality ingredients paired with hand-picked wines.

Jonny Blonde (Jonny Blonde) serves up local, delicious fare from Jonny Blonde Food Truck plus soups and sandwiches from his take-out restaurant Jonny Blonde’s Kitchen. Born in Spain and raised in Hamilton, Jonny has been cooking professionally for over 15 years in Toronto, Oakville, Burlington and Dundas. His style: locally-farmed, anti-biotic-free, ethically-raised meats, chicken and local seasonal produce plus home-made breads, sauces and desserts.

Shayne Madadi (Pokeh) creates mouth-watering poke dishes at Canada’s first poke bar, opened by his brother Salar (also Meat Ventures food truck). With a home in the Hamilton Market — Chef Shayne is always busy creating delicious tuna poke bowls with the freshest ingredients for the line-up of people waiting for their bite.

Awesome photo! @Regrann from @esmphotography – One of the poké masters in action at @pokehbar #Regrann A photo posted by Shayne Madadi (@shaynethecook) on

Matthew Pigeon (Eat Industries) moved to Hamilton from Toronto to bring his venture Eat Industries Inc. to the Hamilton Market with partner Brandon Jackson. Their food repertoire has grown to include two market stalls (sandwiches and ramen) plus an Izakaya bar on James North. Chef Matthew worked at high-end restaurants, including Bymark restaurant (part of the Chef Mark McEwan Group) in Toronto.

Manny Ferreira (Mezcal), another Chopped Canada winner, recently opened up Uno Mas under the popular Mezcal location. Chef Manny offers a Mexican food experience filled with tacos and tequila, of course. He has previously worked with the YMCA, Slainte Irish Pub, The Rude Native, Ancaster Old Mill, and Earth to Table Bread Bar.

Mike Spitzig (Bread Bar on Locke) uses mostly Canadian ingredients to create fresh, seasonal, local dishes. Celebrated for their breads and pizzas, you’ll also find sharing plates (try the loaded fries and creamy hummus!), healthy soups and salads, sandwiches, and pastas.

Who are you cheering for? Who will be Hamilton’s top chef? Comment below!

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