MasterChef Canada reveals the Top 14

Well, two out of three ain’t bad. We’re two weeks into MasterChef Canada, and Mary and Michelle—two home cooks interviewed by TV, Eh?—are still in the hunt. Both ladies are now part of the Top 14 revealed on Sunday night. The former earned her apron in Week 1, while the latter added to her wardrobe by creating a baked apple tart in just 30 minutes.

Michelle was smart to try a tart. It was a big gamble, of course, but Claudio Aprile, Michael Bonacini and Alvin Leung are impressed by moxie and cooking. Not to mention baking is a difficult skill. The odd man out was Travis (with regard to TV, Eh?), who despite going into MasterChef Canada with confidence was eliminated in Sunday’s final test.

And what a final test it was. First, the final 18 were tasked with doing mise en place (break down a chicken into eight pieces, clean and devein shrimp, shuck six cobs of corn, julienne three sweet peppers, separate the yolks from the whites of two dozen eggs, peel and core an apple) in just 15 minutes, something that no one was able to complete. For the record, I might have gotten the chicken, corn, peppers and eggs done. Sean, a.ka. “Headband Guy,” Julia, Matthew and Jacqueline were all awarded aprons, leaving the remaining home cooks with a final decider: create a dish using any of the mise en place items in 30 minutes. Surprisingly, almost every one of them chose to use chicken as their main protein, something that takes longer than shrimp to prepare. I would have made fresh linguine and added peppers, corn and shrimp with a light tomato sauce.

It’s too early in the competition to say who, besides Michelle, has a good chance at becoming a long-term competitor. That said, I’m impressed with Doctor Shawn and carpenter David. On the other side? I was turned off by Veronica’s confidence-bordering-on-arrogance and if next week’s teaser is any indication, her attitude gets her into trouble.

Who are your favourites so far?

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