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Algonquin’s culinary team help break the stigma

Being crowned the “Sandwich Sovereign of Ottawa” is a not something to be taken lightly.

Ottawa’s top chefs gathered during Mental Health Awareness Week to compete for the coveted title at the Horticulture building in Lansdowne on Oct. 3.

Hopewell Eating Disorder Support Centre is a not-for-profit registered charitable organization created in 1999 by three Ottawa mothers whose daughters battled with anorexia.

Breaking Bread, Breaking Stigma is an annual event hosted by the Hopewell Eating Disorder Support Centre. With guests judges like last year’s winner Joe Thottungal from Coconut Lagoon, local culinary royalty Margaret Dickenson and Anne DesBrisay, the chefs were in for a tight competition.

The chefs participating were Patrick Garland from Absinthe Café, Tim Stock from Thyme & Again, Warren Sutherland from Sutherland, Shannon McLaughlin from The Belmont and a team of student chefs from the Algonquin College culinary management program.

The chefs set their stations up as the guests started to file in, grabbing a drink and mingling with the other attendees. The sound of a piano filled the room, setting the tone for the fancy event.

“If I don’t win, which doesn’t matter to me at all, then I didn’t win against some very talented and likeable people so I’m totally fine with it,” Patrick Garland said minutes before being crowned the winner.

His sandwich consisted of a betty bun he described as a “top split mundane hamburger bun” brushed with duck fat and ingredients such as, bacon flavoured mayonnaise, sticky braised oxtail and agrodolce onions.

The judges praised Garland on his ability to make a hamburger bun elegant and the guests were pleased with the vegetarian option.

The evening was hosted by Katherine Dines of Majic 100. She greeted the guests and chefs as she introduced herself, talking a bit about why she was there.

“It all started during a CTV live segment on body image where I was giving my opinions as a parent on body image and helping our young girls navigate a very hard time in their lives,” Dines said.

Hopewell’s executive director Jody Brian was running the show. She has been working as their executive director for two and a half years now, providing services and support for individuals with eating disorders while also undertaking prevention and education in the community in hopes of reaching youth with messages of body positivity and mental wellness.

“So the event is called Breaking Bread, Breaking Stigma and it’s designed to bring people together to celebrate food which is often the medicine that brings our people from sickness to wellness,” Brian said. “It’s also an opportunity to have difficult discussions but necessary discussions about the stigma around eating disorders as a very fatal mental illness.”

Algonquin College’s culinary team got awarded the people’s choice award at the end of the night with their Asian styled tofu sandwich, standing out in their signature all-white attire.

“We think we put together a really good dish and we had some amazing student’s help,” said faculty member Cory Haskins.

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