Review: MasterChef Canada cooks up its first twist

Unlike some reality cooking shows that spend weeks on naming the Top 25, MasterChef Canada wrapped things up quickly within the first half-hour of Sunday’s new episode and then got rolling on the first Stress Test challenge of the season.

It was a doozy. In a nice twist in the game, judges Alvin, Claudio and Michael told the group of 25 there were only 16 cooking stations available. After a few moments where the nine not awarded a station were sure they were packing up and going home, it was revealed their plates so impressed the judges during auditions that they didn’t need to cook this week.

Did I chuckle to myself when Michael, the villain of the season, had to cook? Absolutely. Did I know the producers made that call so that myself and other viewers would react that way? For sure. Did I know that Michael would get through anyway? That would be an affirmative. The show needs a bad guy, and Michael is it. I also knew that former CFLer Jon would advance; there was simply too much time spent on his backstory for him to be eliminated in Week 2. Well, that and the fact I think the judges were scared he’d tackle them if he was eliminated.

There were also hints as to who would be cut by the end of the night. Inder’s elimination was assured when Michael reminded him the Stress Test had to involve red and white ingredients and the home cook didn’t add any.

The favourite of the week award went to Line, a 45-year-old computer specialist from Moncton. Her story? After joining the military because her family was too poor to pay for her education, she spent 17 years in service until a knee injury caused her to leave. A life of being told she couldn’t succeed, she did just that, wowing the judges with her audition plate of venison and lobster velouté during the Stress Test. She’s definitely one to watch this season.

Notes and quotes

  • I’m glad the wooden packing crate motif is no more now that we’re into the kitchen.
  • “You know that clock there? That clock is your life.” Well spoken, Jon. It’s as if he’s a former professional athlete who learned the gift of the sound bite.
  • Alvin cracks me up every time he yells “NOW!” It looks like he scares himself when he bellows it.
  • Does Line have a chip on her shoulder or is she just tough and feisty?
  • Why did Robert wear ribbons all over his shirt? Was that ever explained?
  • Michael’s steak looked well done, not medium. There was no juice.

MasterChef Canada airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.