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.
Andrew Shepherd, who was born in Hamilton (which is also Tim Hortons' birthplace) 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.
Judges included 90210 star Jason Priestley
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 doughnuts 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."
Winner will celebrate with 'a lot of doughnuts'
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."