Ontario's Ultimate Burger
Ontario's Ultimate Burger

Attention Ontario burger processors!

Do you have what it takes to create the perfect patty? Showcase your talent and expertise at Ontario’s Ultimate Burger Competition, where we’re putting the spotlight on the unsung heroes of the burger world – the processors! We are on a mission to find the best burgers in six categories: beef, veal, poultry, lamb, pork, and other.

If you’re a Meat & Poultry Ontario business members, who’s passionate about selecting the finest cuts of meat, grinding and blending flavors to perfection, and mastering the art of patty making, this is your chance to shine. Our panel of discerning judges, including industry experts and connoisseurs, will rigorously evaluate each patty based on taste, texture, and quality.

Whether you specialize in traditional patties or innovative options, this competition is your platform to showcase your ingenuity and craftsmanship. It’s a unique opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the world of burger processing and gain recognition for your skills.

Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind experience that celebrates your skill and creativity as a processor. Enter your patties into Ontario’s Ultimate Burger Competition and show us what you’ve got!

Judging will take place July 19th at Fanshawe College in London & our winners will be announced at our Red-Carpet Gala October 21 in Muskoka.


Meet Our 2023 Judges

Our current roster of judges boasts impressive credentials. Food savvy and with a wealth of industry knowledge our panel includes:

Alexa Clark
Digital Strategist, Content Marketer, & Social Media Enabler

Bringing her experience from front-of-the-house, back-of-the-house, and from farm-to-fryer, Alexa has been a professional eater and critic since 2002.Her best-selling restaurant guides – CheapEats Toronto and CheapEats Ottawa – have sold over 17,000 copies. Alexa founded the Secret Pickle Supper Club, one of Toronto’s first underground supper clubs. You can find Alexa writing about food; working to raise millions for hunger charities; working with Second Harvest on FoodRescue.ca; providing unflinching content strategy advice to food & tech brands; and judging culinary competitions across Canada.


Chef Maurice Desharnais
Executive Chef, Wayne Gretzky Estates

Chef Maurice Desharnais is a Niagara local, who began honing his culinary skills at Algonquin College in Ottawa. He spent 8 years at some of the best restaurants in Ottawa. Shortly after moving back to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Desharnais was appointed Executive Sous Chef of Peller Estates Winery and has been with the industry leader Andrew Peller Limited for over Fifteen years. Over these years, Maurice has helped raise the profile of Peller Estates. In January 2019 Maurice left Niagara and moved to Beautiful Kelowna British Columbia to oversee the restaurant renovation of Gray Monk Estate Winery. He spent the next year and a half, working with local farmers and producers showcasing the beauty and bounty of the Okanagan.

Having completed the overhaul with the kitchen, menu and the restaurant at Gray Monk, he came back to his home in Niagara and took over the Executive Chef position at Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery and Distillery. Completing his second-level sommelier, getting his Beer Certification, and receiving his Fromagerie are just some of the extras he brings to the food menu.
Maurice’s culinary philosophy and passion are strongly influenced by his Northern upbringing. He is known to bring an elevated approach to traditionally Canadian and rustic cuisine. Maurice prides himself on creating simple, uncomplicated food. Maurice shows his Canadian values through a no-quit attitude and support of sustainably sourced Canadian ingredients.

At Wayne Gretzky Estates, Maurice has transformed three different restaurants into fun, casual dining spots that showcase the winery and distillery’s iconic products in new ways. The relaxed and delicious menus offer a new way to experience the estate’s wines, whiskies and beers.


Emily Richards
P.H.Ec., Television Personality, Author

Emily Richards is a professional home economist, freelance food writer, chef and cookbook author who also enjoys culinary instruction for home cooks who want to learn more and have fun in the kitchen. She is the author and co-author of 10 cookbooks which include topics from Italian cuisine, weeknight dinners, everyday celebrations, glycemic index diets, 5 ingredient cooking and comfort foods.

Emily writes and develops recipes for cookbooks, print and online publications and websites that include everyday cooking and healthy eating. Emily’s varied skills have allowed her to engage with consumers and colleagues to share her passion for food through trade and consumer shows, web, radio and television appearances.
You can follow Emily for more information and recipes on Facebook Emily Richards Cooks and Instagram and Twitter.


Sabrina FaloneSabrina Falone
Freelance Chef

I have been in the food industry for over 15 years and I have been in love with food my whole life. I’m a classically trained chef, a wife, mother of two and all I’ve ever wanted to do is share my passion and my knowledge of food (and I know some stuff!). I draw from my experiences, personal and professional, to fuel my creativity and serve my clients.

My journey started at Liaison College of Culinary Arts and I began my career in an upscale wine bar. Working on the line, I learned so much about precision, communication and team work. I then moved on to working in the new and exciting work of recipe development and food writing.


Chef Joe Friday
Chef. Restauranteur. Entrepreneur.

I am a professional chef, restauranteur and entrepreneur with over 18 years of experience in top restaurants across Canada and USA, and unique experience working in Norway, Italy and Japan. I have significant experience in building, opening and managing front and back-of house operations for both quick-service and fine dining restaurants. Check out my ventures page to see what I’m currently working on!

I love to do small and large scale catering, run special pop-up events, and host private dinners. I also consult on everything from small menu creation, to large scale restaurant operations, including new restaurant builds and rebrands.


Red ReaderTed Reader
Godfather of the Grill

Known as the ‘Godfather of the Grill’, his charm and fearless culinary spirit has led Ted to become an award-winning chef, author, food and product innovation entertainer and a professor of Modern Culinary Applications Innovations at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College.

Ted’s culinary adventure began at George Brown College Chef School in Toronto, which to date has paved the way for his dynamic career. He cooks for all walks of life from swanky corporate affairs; to backyard BBQ parties and summer festivals.


Watch the 2022 Judging Day

About the Ontario Finest Meat Competition

In 1987, MPO (then known as OIMP), launched its first meat competition with product categories that embrace both modern trends and the enduring heritage of Ontario’s artisanal meat and poultry products. The competition, which is exclusive to MPO members, moved from an annual to a biennial event in 2003.

Attracting over 115 entries made from Ontario meat and poultry, this event draws a stellar roster of knowledgeable, influential judges including retail buyers, media, and chefs determining the Platinum, Gold, and Silver award winners, which are presented at the MPO Awards Gala.

Diamond Award

Introduced in 2015, this award is presented to the company whose product achieved the highest score across all categories in the competition.
Speducci Mercatto – Toronto, Bresaola Wagyu (2022)

Speducci Mercatto – Toronto, Wild Boar Prosciutto (2019)
Halenda’s Meats  – Oshawa, Double Smoked Bacon (2017)
Speducci Mercatto – Toronto, Paganelli’s Gentile Salami (2015)

Ron Usborne Award of Excellence

Introduced in 2007, this award is presented to the company achieving the highest combined score based on their product placements in the competition. Scores are calculated by assigning three points for each platinum placing entry, two points for gold, and one point for silver.
VG Meats, Simcoe (2022)

Halenda’s Fine Foods, Oshawa (2019)
VG Meats, Simcoe (2017)
Halenda’s Fine Foods, Oshawa (2015)
Halenda’s Fine Foods, Oshawa (2013)
Halenda’s Fine Foods, Oshawa (2011)
VG Meats, Simcoe (2009)
VG Meats, Simcoe (2007)

Watch the Judging from Previous Years