People's Choice winner Chef Dakia O'Brien's canapés included a salami and blue cheese biscuit with crab meat with a raspberry pecan vinaigrette, a salami meat chip with crab salad, blue cheese, pecans and a balsamic reduction and a no poached egg benedict – candied salami crostini with a crab cake and blue cheese hollandaise. *Photo by Mikaela Ian Pearman
People's Choice winner Chef Dakia O'Brien's canapés included a salami and blue cheese biscuit with crab meat with a raspberry pecan vinaigrette, a salami meat chip with crab salad, blue cheese, pecans and a balsamic reduction and a no poached egg benedict – candied salami crostini with a crab cake and blue cheese hollandaise. *Photo by Mikaela Ian Pearman
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Three chefs pulled out the big guns last night at the City of Hamilton’s chef competition finals.

Chef Alex Emerson of Barracuda Grill, Chef Dakia O’Brien and Chef Raj Unoruth of Hog Penny competed last night at the Bermuda Gas Showroom for the top prize.

The basket they were given included four main ingredients – blue cheese, pecans, salami and lump crab meat. Each chef had to create three canapés using as many of the ingredients in the basket as possible.

Host Laurel Burns introduced the chefs as they came to the kitchen to cook.

Chef Alex was first up and created a crab and blue cheese fritter with pecans and salami, a salami and crab cup and a Bermuda honey beet and blue cheese puree on top of crab salad.

The fritter and the crab salad canapés were given out to the audience to try. The crab salad came on top of a bagel chip and was absolutely delicious.

Next up was Chef Dakia who was probably the most creative out of the three. Her canapés included a salami and blue cheese biscuit with crab meat with a raspberry pecan vinaigrette, a salami meat chip with crab salad, blue cheese, pecans and a balsamic reduction and a no poached egg benedict – candied salami crostini with a crab cake and blue cheese hollandaise.

Chef Dakia served all three canapés to the audience. The biscuit was interesting and had good flavour but was my least favourite. Her meat chip was super crispy and the crab salad on top was light and creamy.

Finally, the candied salami crostini was one of the best things I ate last night. The salami almost tasted like bacon and the crab cake was crispy and delicious.

Chef Raj was the final of the three chefs and made macaroni and cheese ball with crab, blue cheese, salami and crusted with pecans and topped with a tangy tomato sauce, a salami and crab tower and a salami alfredo “pasta” with candied pecan and roasted tomato.

The audience was given the macaroni and cheese ball but I got to sample all three and they were all delicious. My favourite was the salami pasta, where he used the actual salami sliced thinly to mimic the texture of pasta followed by the macaroni ball,  which was to die for.

After the chefs finished the audience was given the opportunity to vote for the people’s choice award, which went to Chef Dakia.

The winner of the chef competition will be announced at the City Food Festival, 6pm on Saturday at Victoria Park.