This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Nutty Home-Style Mac & Cheese wins’ judges’ hearts — and stomachs
Alexandra Feswick, Chef de Cuisine at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, today emerged victorious in one of Canada’s highest profile culinary comfort food battles, Dairy Farmers of Canada’s (DFC) Grate Canadian Cheese Cook-Off.
With Mac & Cheese again as its theme, the biannual showdown took place at DFC’s Canadian Cheese Counter at the Toronto Food & Drink Market.
This year, four top chefs and foodies from across Canada took to the stage in an attempt to create the ultimate comfort food using Canadian cheese, pasta and a little imagination.
Chef Feswick’s truly unique Canadian macaroni & cheese experience starts with combining the distinctive nostalgia of home-styled comfort classics such as Cheddar, sage and mushrooms, and memorably finishes by pairing them with the luxurious flavours of hazelnuts, Blue cheese and Jerusalem artichokes.
“The competition was stiff, each chef brought something different and unique to the table. Mac & Cheese is such a comforting dish and I wanted to stay true to that ideal while elevating it with new exciting ingredients like we do at The Drake”, says Chef Feswick.
This year's four fierce competitors included Andrew Farrell, Chef de Cuisine at 2 Doors Down Food + Wine in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Alexandra Feswick, Chef de Cuisine at the Drake Hotel in Toronto; Nicole Gomes, Executive Chef at Nicole Gourmet in Calgary; and Thompson Tran, Chef and Owner at The Wooden Boat, Port Moody, BC.
The esteemed judging panel consisted of Afrim Pristine, proprietor at The Cheese Boutique in Toronto; Vanessa Simmons, Cheese Sommelier at Savvy Company; Georgs Kolesnikovs of cheeselover.ca and the Great Canadian Cheese Festival; and Rita DeMontis, Sun Media food editor.
This year’s Cook-Off was organized by Dairy Farmers of Canada to take Canada’s beloved mac & cheese to a whole new level and showcase the outstanding quality, variety, taste, and versatility of Canadian cheese made from 100% Canadian milk.
“On behalf of Dairy Farmers of Canada, I would like to extend congratulations to all of this year’s competitors for their creativity and competitive spirit—and showing us their amazing skills. Of course, there can only be one winner and we would like to thank Chef Feswick for her outstanding recipe and showmanship today,” said Sandra Da Silva, assistant director, external communications at Dairy Farmers of Canada. “Everyone who was present at the competition is going to crave mac & cheese again very soon. I know I will.”
Cheese lovers across Canada can access these mac & cheese recipes and find tips for making the perfect mac & cheese by visiting allyouneedischeese.ca/cookoff.
Chef Alexandra Feswick, Chef de Cuisine, The Drake Hotel, Toronto ON
Chef Alexandra Feswick joined Drake HotelProperties as Chef du Cuisine in 2014.
Prior to taking the culinary reins at the Drake Hotel, Alexandra began her training at George Brown Chef School in 2005. After gaining an apprenticeship at the Ancaster Mill under Chef Jeff Crump, she eagerly developed a passion for fresh, local produce served in unique and elegant ways. After relocating to Toronto, Alexandra began to impact the city’s culinary community at some of its best restaurants including Wine Bar, Brockton General and Samuel J. Moore.
In 2014, Alexandra’s prestige was recognized by competing in the invitational Gold Medal Plates. Chef Alexandra thrives on her involvement with the community and charitable contributions with organizations such as The Ontario Hostelry Institute, The Stop, The Daily Bread Food Bank and Willow Breast & Hereditary Cancer Support.
With her growing reputation, varied background and commitment to quality, Alexandra provides customers with the comfort food critics, regulars and new-followers have come to treasure.