TV, eh? | What's up in Canadian television
TV,eh? What's up in Canadian television

Top Chef Canada: Chris Nuttall-Smith teases Season 9

Chris Nuttall-Smith is still pinching himself that he’s a resident judge on Top Chef Canada.

“This is a competition that resonates with people not just in Canada but around the world,” the food journalist and critic says. “Working hard, on the fly, under so much pressure. It’s a competition and a format that’s so fun to do. I’m so happy to get the call saying, ‘Hey, we’re doing another season.'”

Returning Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada, the newest season of Top Chef Canada features familiar faces in chef, cookbook author and host Eden Grinshpan; chef and owner of The McEwan Group, head judge Mark McEwan; and fellow resident judges in restaurateur Janet Zuccarini and food writer and personality Mijune Pak.

Not so familiar? The impact the pandemic had on production. Where past seasons saw the competitors scramble out of vans and into McEwan’s eponymous high-end grocery store to shop for products, Season 9 has the ingredients trucked into the studio for a timed shop by the professional chefs. And the classic Restaurant Wars challenge has been scuttled in favour of Takeout Wars.

As always, it’s the professional chefs—and the food they create—that are the stars of Top Chef Canada. In Monday’s debut, we’re introduced to the 11 facing off against one another. The cast includes Kym Nguyen, who identifies as non-binary and whips up killer British-Asian fare; Indigenous chefs Siobhan Detkavich and Stéphane Levac, who bring their roots to their recipes; and Erica and Josh Karbelnik, who are married.

“This season really reflects Canada, who we are as a nation and what our culinary culture is,” Nuttall-Smith says. “More people are finding opportunities, carving out niches, are having a chance to show what they can do. And, as a judge, it makes the food way more interesting.”

That’s evident in Monday’s opening minutes when the competitors are tasked with creating a plate that represents their brand. Everything put forward is unique, authentic and—as evidenced by Grinshpan and McEwan’s reactions—for the most part tasty. That’s not to say there aren’t duds, but this season’s chefs are really bringing it. That’s to be expected, especially with $100,000 and a Lexus RX Hybrid Electric SUV handed to the winner. And, despite the fact not every dish presented to him is a home run, Nuttall-Smith enters each Elimination Challenge meal feeling the same emotion: hope.

“My perspective, as a restaurant critic and a food writer is that every dish and every chef starts at 100 per cent,” he explains. “I look at it as ‘You’re the best chef in the world, and let’s see how it goes.’ A lot of times that really pays off, and other times it doesn’t. But my expectation is always, ‘This is gonna be great.'”

Top Chef Canada airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Images courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

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Link: Italia Ricci to star in Netflix sci-fi series ‘The Imperfects’ From Nomadic Pictures

From Denise Petski of Deadline:

Link: Italia Ricci to star in Netflix sci-fi series ‘The Imperfects’ From Nomadic Pictures
Netflix has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to sci-fi drama The Imperfects, starring Italia Ricci (Designated Survivor, Chasing Life), from The Order‘s Dennis Heaton, Shelley Eriksen and Nomadic Pictures. Continue reading.

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Link: ‘Kim’s Convenience’ actor Andrew Phung on crafting his own series, ‘Run the Burbs’

From Victoria Ahearn of The Canadian Press:

Link: ‘Kim’s Convenience’ actor Andrew Phung on crafting his own series, ‘Run the Burbs’
“Kim’s Convenience” has just ended but cast member Andrew Phung is already “knee-deep in ideas and stories” for his next project, “Run the Burbs.” Continue reading.

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Saloon Media announces collaboration with UK-based StoryFirst on scripted drama, Ghost Walk

From a media release:

Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company, announced today its collaboration with UK-based StoryFirst on its first scripted drama, Ghost Walk (8×60’). Created by Brendan Foley (Cold Courage), who also serves as showrunner on the project, the one-hour series will follow a vivacious, aspiring Canadian actress and prickly British scientist who together become the unlikely ‘Mulder and Scully’ of the world of ghosts. The series kicks off Saloon Media’s exciting new scripted slate and is the first of many Canadian/UK partnerships that the production company will reveal in the coming months. Ghost Walk was developed with the support of Canadian specialty TV channel T+E and will be produced in Ontario, Canada and York, UK.

Ghost Walk will introduce audiences to Melissa Roth, an aspiring Canadian actress who takes a temporary position as a ghost walk tour guide in York, UK. After a fall down a flight of stairs, Melissa begins to see spirits. She soon teams up with a cynical, charismatic British scientist, Charles Conroy, in hopes that he will cure her in exchange for the fame and fortune he would earn proving whether or not ghosts exist. The duo develops a bond; partners investigating hauntings from historic York to rural Canada, while tumbling through the minefield of friendship and – just maybe – something more.

Saloon Media’s Melissa Williamson (top left) and Michael Kot serve as Executive Producers on Ghost Walk. Dominic Barlow (top right) will Executive Produce on behalf of StoryFirst. Sam Linton, Head of Original Content (Canada), Blue Ant Media is Executive Producer on behalf of T+E.

Saloon Media, a Blue Ant Studios company, is a creative hub for compelling new television and digital productions. The founding partners have a wealth of experience in broadcasting and factual and scripted production, and a track record for delivering successful and award-winning programs to international clients. Saloon’s productions have broadcast on History, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Investigation Discovery, CMT, SBS, ZDF, Yesterday, Four, More4, and Netflix. Saloon is a specialist in international co-production, working with like-minded production partners around the world to produce top quality returning series and high-impact specials. Saloon Media is based in Toronto. Saloonmedia.com

StoryFirst’s focus is on the development, production, and financing of high-quality television series for the global marketplace. Alongside developing ambitious drama with new and established writing talent, StoryFirst is a co-producing partner for producers of drama projects around the world.

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