The Jew And The Carrot

Welcome to the Ultimate Jewish Food Championship

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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We all have our favorite Jewish foods, but are we willing to go head to head with other food lovers to defend them? A Bit off the Top, a Montreal-based incubator for Jewish ideas (it organizes LE MOOD), is challenging bagel biters, latke lovers and falafel fanciers to stand up for their favorite fare in the Ultimate Jewish Food Championship.

Quite simply, it’s a bracket-style championship pitting eight “Super Jewish foods” against each other in pairs until one of them emerges triumphant. To participate, you don’t even have to eat your favorite food. Just voting for it online is enough.

To sex up the competition a bit, A Bit off the Top has enlisted some young Jewish local culinary celebs to champion their favorite dishes. Among them are BBQ spot owner Shawn Dascal championing brisket, food festival creator Na’eem Adam touting smoked meat, food blogger Dustin Gilman pushing latkes, and radio hosts Neev and Alex Fredo cheering for couscous.

In a nod to Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewish heritage, couscous and falafel are included. However, the overwhelming majority of contenders hail from Eastern Europe. “Of course, living in the American North East, our eight contenders are slightly biased towards traditionally Ashkenazi dishes, and for this we apologize, but here in Montreal, we are surrounded by them in famous delis, old-school bakeries and in our homes.”

So far in the preliminary rounds, matzah ball soup has beat out bagels, and falafel has squashed couscous. As of this moment, voting is coming to an end for the latkes vs. blintzes round, with latkes holding a steady lead. Brisket and smoked meat will face off shortly, with the winner moving on with matzah ball soup, falafel, and (presumably) latkes to the semi-finals.

This is one of the few cases where playing with your food is acceptable — so join in the fun by clicking away. And this being an online tournament, you don’t have to be in Montreal, or even Canada, to root for your favorite team…er, food.


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