TORONTO - A dreamed-up doughnut that melds together chocolate, caramel and pecans has earned its inventor $10,000 and the knowledge he beat out 63,000 entries in a Tim Hortons contest.
Toronto's Andrew Shepherd was crowned the winner of the Duelling Donuts competition on Monday.
The 39-year-old dubbed his creation The Tortoise Torte, which won against the runner-up doughnut The Oreo Borealis.
"I was ecstatic," Shepherd said. "It's kind of surreal."
He said his doughnut uses a vanilla base and plays on flavours that are already merged together in other treats such as ice cream and candy.
"I wanted to come up with a classic-flavoured combination," he said.
A panel of judges that included actor Jason Priestley whittled down the pool of applicants to eight finalists, with doughnuts such as Monkey C-Donut, Monkey Do-Nut and S'more Of It.
Priestley, best known for his role on the show "Beverly Hills 90210," was recruited for the contest after a cameo on the sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" last February.
The episode joked that Canadians are a doughnut-eating people, with the Vancouver-born actor touting the invention of The Priestley doughnut in a fake documentary.
His namesake is a strawberry-vanilla doughnut stuffed with a chocolate Timbit.
Tim Hortons had a chef whip up the fictional pastry, and the public's reaction spawned the idea of a contest where people could submit their own doughnut ideas.
Priestley said he enjoyed his role as a judge.
"It was a quintessential Canadian moment and I'll remember it — and all the doughnut I ate — for years to come," he said in a statement. "The Tortoise Torte was nothing short of awesome, and, who knows, it may become a new favourite for Tims fans across Canada."
The contest launched in June and after judges narrowed down the contenders, online voting was the final step to choose a winner.
Shepherd, who works in the health-care industry, said a "grassroots campaign" from friends and family helped him to win the contest through word-of-mouth.
He said he wants to thank those people with a party complete with "a lot of doughnuts."
His second priority is to take his wife on a trip to Switzerland — a luxury he said was previously out of his budget.
"It's somewhere I've always wanted to go," he said. "I'm a bit of a foodie, and they have cheese and chocolate there which are my two favourite foods."
Tim Hortons has said it would use the winning doughnut as inspiration for a new menu item.
Shepherd said seeing his imagined pastry in reality, sitting on Tim Hortons shelves, would add to his recent "roller-coaster" experience.
"I'd be able to go into any store anywhere and see something I created," he said, adding that he chose to enter the contest as a creative outlet and not just because of a possible windfall.
"It was a fun thing to do," he said.
"I do think Canadians are pretty fond of their doughnuts."
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