Guy Fieri brought his game face to this year’s Chef’s Challenge

Photograph by Nick Lee

A crowd of 400 revelers gathered on Saturday night to watch five Canadian chefs–Lynn Crawford, Chuck Hughes, Mark McEwan, David Rocco and Michael Smith–lead culinary teams in a three-course cook-off at the third annual Chef’s Challenge, which has raised over $2-million for breast and ovarian cancer research at Mount Sinai Hospital.

Restaurateur and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives star Guy Fieri hosted the event, which also featured a live auction. The fight for the cure is personal to him: he told the audience early on in the evening that he lost his sister, a single mother and massage therapist, to cancer last year.

Fieri’s trademarked enthusiasm was spot on throughout the evening, not to mention contagious: he spurred his fellow chefs to up the prize ante with food and wine giveaways during the auction. Plus, he added to the “ultimate foodie package”, which awarded the winning $25,000 bidder meals at Crawford’s Ruby Watch Co., McEwan’s ONE and two prepared at home by both David Rocco and Chuck Hughes, dinner for eight at one of his restaurants. Fieri, who recently appeared on The Today Show after the New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells published an extremely entertaining but eviscerating review of Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square, also visited a number of Toronto eateries for an upcoming episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives while he was in town.

The five celebrity chefs, who weren’t allowed to touch a thing, lead their team of cooks–all top fundraisers for the event–in preparing three dishes from secret ingredients of sushi-grade Ahi tuna, beef tenderloin and phylo pastry, while guests ate a five-course meal prepared from Fieri’s own recipes.

Lynn Crawford, who won the first Chef’s Challenge in 2010 (McEwan won last year), and her team took home top honours. More importantly, a total of $775,000 was raised by the evening’s end.

Here’s how the event unfolded via Twitter: