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Thread: Top Chef Canada

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    Forum Assistant sweetpea's Avatar
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    Top Chef Canada

    Yay! Canada's very own Top Chef premieres on Food Network Canada on Monday, April 11 at 9 pm.

    Here's a link to the official website http://www.foodnetwork.ca/topchefcanada/index.html

    I heard an interview on Q this morning (on CBC radio) with head judge Mark McEwan. He sounds like a really interesting guy, who knows his stuff. He told the chefs competing that at the end of the day, it was what was in his mouth that mattered, so don't get all hung up on how pretty the plate is because if it doesn't taste good, you're going home. Very articulate guy. I don't know a lot about the host or the other judge, but I'm really looking forward to the show!

    Anyone else watching?

    Oh, and here is a link to the bios for judges/host/cheftestants

    http://www.foodnetwork.ca/topchefcanada/bios/index.html

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    Where I is, you 'ain't! bee stung lips's Avatar
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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    Yes, I'm looking forward to it, although I'd be lying if I didn't admit I'm a little disappointed that judging by the previews it appears there are no ethnic contestants featured on the show.
    "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling"

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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    And only 3 women ~ that's interesting. I wonder, if it works well, if they will be able to diversify the cast. Although listening to the interview this morning, Mark McEwan said they whittled the chefs down from 1000s that applied. Hmmm...

    He did say they focused on talent and then personality, and promised there would be no "pot and pan throwing" so I guess he means no drama like Marcel's original season. I hope it focuses on COOKING and the chefs are talented enough to really make it a competition. I also hope they don't shorten it compared to TC. I hate the shorter seasons on Canadian tv! I am still hoping they make another CNTM, but no idea if it will happen.

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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    Cooking up drama on Top Chef Canada

    TORONTO - A line of Canadian cooks in their professional whites aggressively peel back artichoke leaves, while celebrity chef Mark McEwan and broadcaster Thea Andrews look on. Tension hangs heavy in the air, cut only by the sound of chopping knives.

    It's doubtful the paring down of an artichoke has ever produced such stress in the young chefs, but here they are in an old converted warehouse in Toronto, as contestants on the first season of Top Chef Canada -- and one clumsy cut could mean they head home for good.

    The winner, to be determined through 13 one-hour episodes of cooking challenges, will take home $100,000 in cash, a luxury kitchen valued at over $30,000, and the Top Chef Canada title.

    This was an emotional roller-coaster for all of them, says McEwan, the show's head judge.

    Although he could easily be speaking about the artichoke competition, he's talking about the run of the show as a whole.

    McEwan, a master chef and restaurateur who recently penned his first cookbook, admits even he would feel overwhelmed by some of the challenges the contestants face, especially having to cook under the clock.

    "I have empathy for young chefs with time constraints," he says. "They have to make snap decisions and fly with it."

    Set to debut on Food Network Canada on April 11, the show will be hosted by Andrews -- known for stints on Entertainment Tonight and ESPN -- and will feature guest celebrity judges on each episode.

    All 16 chefs selected to compete have impressive resumes and, according to McEwan, were the pick of the bunch from thousands of applicants across the country.

    The feel on the set of Top Chef Canada is bright and modern, with prep tables, gas burners, refrigerators and convection ovens lined up for intense close-quarter cook-offs.

    It's also spacious enough to allow for mad dashes to a stocked pantry.

    At least one contestant is asked to leave on each episode, and survival isn't only determined by one's cooking ability.

    Their stamina, their frame of mind in the moment, and their mood, have everything to do with success, McEwan says.

    Although it's a cooking competition first and foremost, Top Chef Canada also involves human drama everyone can relate to. McEwan says you can't help but identify with the young chefs suffering from the weight of pressure.

    And the chefs that blossom as the stakes get higher aren't necessarily the ones McEwan thought would stick around.

    "People I thought would thrive came up lacking basics," says McEwan.

    He also hints it's not the bigger personalities who come out on top: "Some (chefs) who were letting their egos drive them were very humbled indeed."

    But, in the world of the modern chef, McEwan says many are driven to try and achieve a signature style before they're ready. He's hoping contestants leave the show feeling inspired to be thorough, thoughtful chefs.

    "I encourage being a good technical chef, to know classic cuisine and feel confident with it -- and then find your own personal way of coming forward," McEwan says.

    While Top Chef Canada has yet to debut and find a following, its U.S. counterpart is already in its eighth season and has been greenlit for a ninth season.

    Top Chef Canada's supervising producer, Mark Lysakowski, says they used the success of the U.S. version to their advantage.

    "We looked at the American show and looked to Canadianize the challenges," Lysakowski says.

    He and other producers on the show explored Canadian food trends and introduced ingredients that were different than what might be seen on the American Top Chef.

    "We looked at challenges that would express Canadas multicultural society and challenges that would simply test an experienced chef," he says.

    But as much as Lysakowski hopes viewers experience Canadian stories through watching the show, what he really wants is for people to realize how much work goes into a chef's creations.

    "A lot of skill goes into making food enjoyable," Lysakowski says. "It doesn't just arrive on the plate. It's not all glamour and signing cookbooks."

    And as a reality show, Lysakowski says the subject matter is perfect for viewers to become passionate about and weigh in.

    "Food is one of those things that brings people together. It's the great equalizer, a topic that people can talk about, no matter what," he says.

    Although not a foodie himself, Lysakowski says it has been a learning experience for him to see the judges' critiques after each challenge, and then watch the contestants use the feedback to create a better dish in the next round.

    But in the end, there can be only one winner of Top Chef Canada, and McEwan has the final say.

    So what is he looking for?

    "Don't try to overachieve. Try to get results," he says. "The food has to taste great and feel good in your mouth, or it's not going to win."

    Read more: Cooking up drama on Top Chef Canada
    Oooh, I hope Susar Lee will be one of the guest judges. That would be great! It's a good time for cooking tv. TCC starting, Masterchef Australia 3 beginning soon, and TCM starting as well.

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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    Here's a picture of our cast. Mods, this is from a photobucket account, hope it's ok as I've never done it before. Please delete if I did it incorrectly.


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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    Yeah...sadly, not much color going on there. Oh well...I'll probably watch the show anyway, but in the future, Top Chef Canada might want to stack the show with a little more ethnic variety.

    Just saying...
    "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling"

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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by bee stung lips View Post
    Yeah...sadly, not much color going on there. Oh well...I'll probably watch the show anyway, but in the future, Top Chef Canada might want to stack the show with a little more ethnic variety.

    Just saying...
    Yeah, it's pretty obvious when looking at the cast. Sad, too, because we have such a diverse population here, with so many wonderful ethnic cuisines. If it goes well and they have another season, I hope we see more diversity on the cast.

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    Where I is, you 'ain't! bee stung lips's Avatar
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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetpea View Post
    Yeah, it's pretty obvious when looking at the cast. Sad, too, because we have such a diverse population here, with so many wonderful ethnic cuisines. If it goes well and they have another season, I hope we see more diversity on the cast.
    Exactly. I find it hard to believe that in a country this vast, there weren't any ethnic people in the pool contestants. And it's not just that there are no blacks, because juding from that photo there are also no Asians, no one of East Indian decent etc.

    It's not the end of the world or anything and since I'm a Top Chef fanatic, I will watch, and I will enjoy the show. Just can't help but be disappointed at the same time.
    "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling"

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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    I dont know about the diversity issue, it would seem to me that these are television producers and they must have a good reason for choosing the contestants that they chose. If they really had thousands of chefs apply, I am guessing that more than 980 of the applicants werent good enough to be on "Top Chef". I predict that if the Canadian version is popular a more diverse and more talent group will apply for the next season.

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    Re: Top Chef Canada

    It would be interesting to dig around and see who might have applied. I know, from listening to the "Q" interview, that they claim they chose the most talented and most interesting group of contestants from the many that applied. Not sure what the application process consisted of, though, whether they had to just submit a resume and video, whether they had to cook something for a panel, etc. I'll hold judgement until the season starts and we see how good they are.

    I wonder who the guest judges will be?? Susar would be fabulous. Any other recommendations?

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