If you know the farmers at your local farmers market by name or seasonal nuance of their harvest. If you are first in line to get your cookbook signed by Thomas Keller, Jamie Oliver or the most recent ingénue from Scandinavia's Faviken, Magnus Nilsson. If you sit on the edge of your seat as Canada's finest chefs enter television's kitchen stadium to measure themselves against the original "celebrity chefs" of our modern culture. Then you, my friend, are a foodie.
Don't despair, you are more the rule than the exception these days and will likely find the December 1st Mount Sinai Hospital Chef's Challenge very much to your taste. This year's version of their annual breast cancer fundraiser includes a coterie of Food Network stars and is hosted by Guy Fieri, beloved for his Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Joining him are Canadian icons Lynn Crawford (host of Pitchin' In), Mark McEwan (host of Top Chef: Canada), David Rocco (host of Dolce Vita), Michael Smith (host of numerous Food Network shows and globe-trotting PEI ambassador), and last -- but for anyone who watched him take down Iron Chef Bobby Flay with a lobster poutine -- not least is Chuck Hughes (host of Chucks' Day Off).
In an interesting twist that makes attendance participatory -- there are no ticket sales. To join the chefs in the evening's cook-off, people need to register themselves and raise money (a minimum of $2,500) to get a ticket to the event. As a special bonus, a lucky 50 will not just watch the spectacle and enjoy the resulting meal, but actually be a part of one chef's kitchen team.
Regardless of whether you get to carry Chuck's knife, beat Lynn's eggs or whisper encouragements into Guy's bleach blonde nestled ear, everyone that attends will experience a unique Canadian food that will fuel their cocktail talk for years to come.
Bon appétit for a great cause, actually, for a pair of them.
Follow Rebecca LeHeup on Twitter: www.twitter.com/OntarioCulinary