International Chef Challenge caps first weekend for The Royal

Country life comes to the big city at Exhibition Place through November 15, 2015

TORONTO, Nov. 10, 2015) /CNW/ - A top chef from Florida cooked up an impressive win over the weekend at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair's International Invitational Chef Challenge.

Mark Aleks, Chef at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, claimed top spot in the second annual international competition on Sunday, November 8, followed by Eddie Attwell, Chef at Ardtara Country House in Upperlands, Northern Ireland, and Joshua Dyer, Chef de Cuisine at EPIC Restaurant at Toronto's Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

"All of the chefs demonstrated a tremendous amount of talent and passion under tight time constraints," said Charlie Johnstone, The Royal's Chief Executive Officer. "The competition entertained a big audience and put a spotlight on the great fresh foods produced by Ontario farmers."

Award-winning chef and author Ted Reader hosted the competition on the Burnbrae Farms Food and Lifestyle Stage.

Aleks' winning main course included fennel and coriander crusted duck served with parsnip silk and a cranberry walnut maple syrup streusel. It also featured pancetta honeycrisp apple from Ontario apple growers with heirloom Nature Fresh tomato and President's Choice Black Label goose fat-sautéed brussel sprouts and a fig and port wine vinaigrette. For dessert, he made deconstructed honey crisp apple pie, made with sautéed honey crisp apple with brandied golden raisins tossed with a Bailey's caramel topped with Woolwich raspberry goat's cheese. The dessert also featured fresh raspberry purée sabayon made with eggs from the Egg Farmers of Ontario, plus cinnamon streusel and apple and orange jellies and red wine-poached apples.

Featuring 10 days of family-oriented entertainment, exhibits and agricultural competition, The Royal kicked off November 6, 2015 at Toronto's Exhibition Place. The Fair continues bringing country life to the heart of Canada's largest city until November 15, 2015.

Highlights for the week ahead include:

  • Remembrance Day at The Royal on Wednesday, November 11. An all-day tribute to Canadian service men and women. Learn about the key role horses and dogs played in our military efforts. Take in the Culinary Historian's presentation on entertaining in the Roaring Twenties.
  • Champions' Day on Wednesday, November 11. New and previous Royal Champions in agricultural products like jams, honey, maple syrup, wine and cheeses will be featured. There will be sampling and demonstrations all day long, plus the new Royal Butter Tart Competition finals.
  • The Royal Horse Show. Ranked North America's No. 1 indoor equine competition, The Royal Horse Show has been selected as the premier venue by Equine Canada for all national championships. Crowd favourite competitions include The Greenhawk Canadian Show Jumping Championship, Longines FEI World Cup™, The Royal Invitational Dressage Cup, Horseware Eventing Challenge, Ontario Toyota Dealers Rodeo, Weston Canadian Open and the Big Ben Challenge presented by Hudson's Bay.
  • The Ontario Cider Awards will be held on Thursday, November 12.
  • Her Royal Highness The Princess Edward, Countess of Wessex, will tour The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Friday, November 13 with the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

A full schedule of events can be found at

With more than one million square feet of displays and competition facilities, The Royal welcomes more than 300,000 visits annually. In 2014, The Royal delivered an economic benefit of $40 million to the City of Toronto.

Funding support for The Royal has been provided by the City of Toronto and the Government of Ontario.

About The Royal:

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the world's largest combined indoor agricultural and equestrian show.  This year, the 93rd Royal Agricultural Winter Fair runs November 6-15, 2015 at Exhibition Place, Toronto. For competition schedules, live webcasting, results and to purchase tickets, please visit

SOURCE Royal Agricultural Winter Fair

Image with caption: "Mark Aleks, Chef at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, claimed top spot in the second annual international chef competition at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Sunday, November 8 (CNW Group/Royal Agricultural Winter Fair)". Image available at:

For further information: Courtney Charette, Public Relations Coordinator, Enterprise Canada, 63 Church Street | Suite 203 | St. Catharines, ON, Canada | L2R 3C4, Main: 905.682.7203 ext. 222, Direct: 905.346.1231, Cell: 905.329.0391, F: 905.682.7481, E:, W:


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