November 21, 2010

Chef Gordon Ramsay vs. Aunt Lisa

{me, Chef Gordon Ramsay, Aunt Lisa}

Last night, I had the hottest ticket in town. 

I was invited to the Chef's Challenge: The Ultimate Battle for a Cure, featuring Gordon Ramsay and in support of women's cancers at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

More than $1 million was raised, in part by more than 100 self-proclaimed foodies, all vying to be one of the top 50 fundraisers and earning the right to cook with Chef Ramsay himself.

My Aunt Lisa was one of those lucky individuals by raising a whopping $9,316! 

These 50 fundraiser chefs were divided into five groups of 10 each led by a celebrity Canadian chef, including Lynn Crawford, Mark McEwan, Massimo Capra, David Rocco and Jamie Kennedy. They spent the day with the chefs, learning, preparing and cooking. 

{Go Team Crawford!}

Under the pressure -- or maybe just the stage lights -- Lisa ran into some trouble when the olive oil she was heating ignited causing a huge fire in her pan. Chef Ramsay stepped in, grabbed the pan and heroically threw it in a plastic garbage can (which of course, melted). She immediately earned the nickname Smokey and made it into the highlight reel that was played for guests like me once they arrived.

Later, Lisa was being interviewed by Toronto Star Food Editor Jennifer Bain and she proudly told her about her fire, Jennifer incredulously replied, "you were the one?!" Word travels fast in the cooking community!

{Lisa smartly beside the fire hose}

Once the guests arrived, the challenge was on, with each team preparing three courses for the judges, on stage, in front of 400 people. The pressure was on, but Team Crawford -- Lisa's team -- now has the bragging rights of winning the first-ever cooking challenge for a cure. 

{Lisa on onion duty during the competition}

{Lisa and Team Crawford on stage}

{the centrepiece was in a colander, full of vegetables and included two whisks!}

{Lisa on stage with her trophy -- the whisk behind her -- and the large team trophy full of kitchen utensils}

It was a great event, and an out-of-the-box fundraiser that I think will become a signature event for Mount Sinai. 

Food Network was there as a media sponsor and I look forward to seeing what they put together on this. 

Thanks for the ticket Lisa, and congratulations again on all your fundraising efforts!!! 

{Lisa and me on the red carpet}


  1. Congratulations,Smokey, for the amount that you collected
    for such a worthwhile cause. Great pictures of the event. Considering that Suzy Homemaker relieved the flower arrangement of one of the whisks, perhaps she should have labeled the final picture "Smokey and the Bandit" :-)

  2. Wow. That's amazing.
    And what a great photo of the two of you and Gordon Ramsay.
    So impressed.

  3. What a great blog post Lins! Congrats Aunt Linda and what a fun event!!!! Love the red carpet shot!

  4. This is amazing, I'm glad you got to go

  5. What a wonderful, worthwhile event. A great blog post, Lindsay.

  6. You are smokin' Lisa........awesome, just awesome!


  7. Fasntastic Lisa (aka Smokey - it will take you a while to live that one down!) - congrats.

  8. Thank you to all for your generous support and good wishes. I look forward to the rematch next year but will be prepared with fire retardant clothing :0)
    All My Best

  9. Congrats to Aunt Lisa! Great post!



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