The Battle of the Hors D'Oeuvres is back. And along with it the 9th annual Bid For Kids Sake Charity Auction.
The 5th annual 'battle' begins Friday, November 22 at 7 p.m. in the Tillsonburg Community Centre's Lions Auditorium.
Seven local culinary geniuses from the Tillsonburg and Ingersoll area will go head-to-head for a good cause – Ingersoll, Tillsonburg and Area Big Brothers Big Sisters – featuring locally-sourced specialties.
Judging will be done by Mathew Taylor and a traditionally sold out crowd of 250-300 people, who vote for the prestigious People's Choice.
“It's my second year for the Battle of the Hors D'Oeuvres, third for the silent auction,” said Indigo Cafe and Eatery's Kelly Spencer. “But I think it's going on 10 years with Big Brothers Big Sisters.”
Spencer, who last year presented an organic Cup of Soup, is keeping information on her hors d'oeuvres under wraps until the 22nd.
“I don't think we're supposed to say...” she asked around a table of Battle chefs.
“Not supposed to say,” smiled JP Mooney of JP's Barbecue and Catering.
But what she would say is that she's doing a variation of an appetizer from their menu, something 'with a twist.'
“And whatever appetizer we're using is from local farmers and organic free-range, and homemade,” said Spencer. “Like the stuff on our menu.”
Some enjoy the competition, some enjoy the cause. They all enjoy the night.
“I love the cause most of all, I go more for the big picture,” said Spencer. “It's always a fun even to go to.”
Last year's Battle was Mooney's first, and he recalled making a seared-beef tenderloin hors d'oeuvres.
“I had a great time last year,” said Mooney. “Everything was great – kind of makes me want to do more competition barbecues.”
The chefs will be preparing 300 hors d'oeuvres for the event with a savoury theme.
“I have three ideas... we'll see which one goes down,” said Mooney. “I'll be featuring some nice local ingredients and looking forward to doing one of my specialties.”
Kendal Causyn, manager guest experience at Kelsey's Restaurant Tillsonburg, is back for her third year.
“Last year we had a Kelsey's Classic Four Cheese Spinach Dip. This year it's... the element of the surprise,” she laughed.
“Our menu changes every three months, so we're going to pull something off our menu that's new, and hopefully we get a great response. It's something different – a new Kelsey's creation.”
Kelsey's Tillsonburg is active throughout the year with its charity work. Their 'kickback nights' have been popular with local charities, organizations and schools.
“November is full,” Causyn noted.
Kelsey's also provides Big Brothers Big Sisters with gift certificates to support its program.
“And we want to continue that,” said Causyn, “we think it's a great organization.”
The Battle and Bid for Kids Sake evening of fun includes a live and silent auction full of items, which will continue through the night beyond the Battle of the Hors D'oeuvres judging.