Eden Grinshpan’s secret to scoring Top Chef Canada leftovers is pretty darned simple. She writes her name on the food she wants to save for later. And, she’s had plenty of worthy dishes to set aside thanks to this year’s crop of competitors.
“Mark McEwan has been doing this for six seasons and he thinks that this is the best food he’s ever seen on the show,” Grinshpan says. “I’ll leave it at that. Mark McEwan can’t get over it!”
Returning Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network, Grinshpan returns to host Top Chef Canada alongside head judge McEwan, resident judges Chris Nuttall-Smith, Mijune Pak, Janet Zuccarini and guests like Susur Lee, Rob Feenie, Lynn Crawford and Alexandra Feswick to taste plates prepared by 11 Canadian chefs all gunning for $100,000 and bragging rights.
We spoke to Grinshpan ahead of Sunday’s return to get her take on the competition this season and how she scored one of the best gigs in primetime TV.
Congratulations on your second season of hosting Top Chef Canada.
Eden Grinshpan: Thank you. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this brand. I’ve been a big fan of Top Chef Canada for many years. This year is really great because we have some fresh blood, young chefs who have a lot to prove and are trying to come into their own. It’s amazing to see where they are at and hear their strong culinary voices. This is their chance to showcase who they are as chefs and a lot of the time this can kick-start the next stage in their career. A lot of them are working under some very big names and this gives them the chance to make that big leap and have their own kitchen. I love this season for that reason.
Let’s go back in time. How did you get the hosting gig? Did you audition or did the producers have you in mind?
I was a judge for Chopped Canada and one of the producers actually suggested me because they were looking for a new host. It was kind of like a last-minute audition. I just happened to be in Toronto and they asked me to come in, read a couple of lines and talked. I went in and had a full-on audition and really got along with the executive producers. A couple of months later they sent over a contract and told me they’d love me to be the new host.
Hosting Top Chef Canada is a unique experience. You’re there to introduce guests, the challenges and keep things moving. Was that a learning curve for you?
Definitely. My experience on television has been unscripted, I’m very candid and am very casual on-camera. Top Chef Canada is the most prestigious culinary competition. This is serious. There is a huge title and huge prize. This is another level, so I had to learn some new skills and be able to move the whole competition to the end point. That’s something I had to learn as I went. This season felt more comfortable because I had been through it already and I knew what to expect. I learned a lot and I love that.
Yourself, Mark, Mijune, Janet and Chris all have great chemistry.
We all love each other. Everyone brings something so different to the judging and the show. Chris, obviously, is one of the most intimidating people in the food industry. He just last season revealed what he looks like. That was a big deal. Janet is a powerhouse restaurateur who was nominated for a James Beard Award for best new restaurant. Mark, again, another powerhouse. He is the guy. Mijune has her world experience through her travels and her knowledge of different cuisines. It’s really something all of us can respect in one another and we do. Judging food together has been interesting and amazing.
What can you say about the food you’ve tasted this season?
Mark McEwan has been doing this for six seasons and he thinks that this is the best food he’s ever seen on the show. I’ll leave it at that. Mark McEwan can’t get over it! Every season, it gets next level good. And they always, always surprise us. Not that we’re not expecting amazing, but they are bringing exceptional.
Top Chef Canada airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network.
Images courtesy of Corus Entertainment.