Everything about Masterchef Canada, eh?

A (Corner) Gas of a time on MasterChef Canada

Tuesday’s “Cooking with (Corner) Gas” episode of MasterChef Canada was full of challenges for the Top 7 home cooks. They had to compete in a Mystery Box Challenge and, FINALLY, a classic MasterChef Canada Tag Team Challenge. But just hold on and let me tell it in order.

As the seven remaining home cooks entered the kitchen they saw a MASSIVE Mystery Box. What could be in it? Or perhaps, who could be in it? Tonight’s challenge was elevated diner food and the contestants got a little bit of help from the cast of the hit series Corner Gas Animated, including Brent Butt, Tara Spencer-Nairn, Lorne Cardinal and Nancy Robertson. For me, it was a good opportunity to add one more great Canadian series to my watch list. For the cooks, winning would give them a huge advantage in the upcoming Elimination Challenge.

All of the cooks rushed to the pantry and got baskets full of delicious products. And then there was Beccy, who had just a couple of grapefruits, eggs and butter. I was looking forward to seeing what she had in her creative mind and what the judges would get in the end. The atmosphere in the kitchen was easy and fun. The Top 7 cooks were cooking passionately and had so many great ideas, like chicken and waffles from Eugene, a Japanese play on steak and eggs from Kaegan and a tuna melt from Marissa. But chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael made their choice and decided to try three dishes out of the seven; the lucky ones were Nadia, Andy and Beccy. Nadia made a stuffed French toast with smoked applewood brie and spicy berry fig sauce and the judges loved her brie! Beccy cooked an elevated diner pie with grapefruit and basil with Italian meringue and crumble; the presentation was extraordinary. Andy prepared a Thai Burger with vegetable tempura.

Chef Alvin was very impressed by Andy’s dish … and he was the home cook who won the challenge. Which dish would you like to try?

The Elimination Tag Team Challenge was a replication of an Asian box with five different dishes. It contained perfectly crafted Chinese bao with pork belly, cucumber and Asian pear, jellyfish salad and Banh Mi sandwich, and Takoyaki. And for the dessert? Fried banana in coconut batter. The home cooks had 70 minutes to master the box. Andy was safe from elimination but as well had a power to make teams for the Tag Team Challenge. He made Eugene and Beccy a team, Michael G. and Kaegan the second team and Nadia and Marissa the third. The heat was on. The teams were rushing to finish. The normally quiet Beccy was very vocal, urging Eugene to work faster. The judges started to sample the dishes. The first team to get all of their items in their box were Kaegan and Michael G. The Banh Mi was great, the takoyaki and the bun were good, but the bananas were burnt. Beccy and Eugene missed a couple of details but still made a great box. Nadia and Marissa, unfortunately, disappointed judges and Marissa left MasterChef Canada.

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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The art of food on MasterChef Canada

Tonight’s team challenge was set at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, home to a magnificent Group of Seven collection. As the home cooks were approaching the location they saw seven Canadian masterpieces. What could be more inspiring than that? For me, it was a good opportunity to travel back in time and learn a bit more about Canadian art history.

Nevertheless, let’s talk about Tuesday’s episode of MasterChef Canada. The main goal of this challenge was to be inspired and to inspire others. The Top 7 had to cook a three-course meal for seven extraordinary Canadians, including Marc Kielburger, co-founder of the international youth charity Free The Children and CTV News special correspondent Lloyd Robertson. The theme for the dishes was land, sea and sky. Sound easy? Let me know what your idea of the dish would be in the comments below!

Eugene and Beccy won last week’s Pressure Test, which made them team captains. Eugene had the right to choose first and added Michael G. and Andy to the Red Team. Beccy chose Marissa and Jen for her Blue Team. The only cook left was Nadia. She wanted to join Beccy’s team but judges had other thoughts. Chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael sent Nadia to the Red Team and revealed a huge secret: one home cook was coming back to the MasterChef Canada! Three home cooks were invited to cook for redemption and the winning cook was … Kaegan!

The Top 8 had 60 minutes to think over the menu and prepare the first dish. After that, there were only 30-minute intervals between the second and the third dishes. The pantry, of course, was full of the best ingredients. Not an easy choice to make. The teams started to prepare their dishes and I was excited to see what ideas the chefs would put on the plates. The Red Team made venison tartare with berry sauce and the Blue Team had a pan-seared venison with celeriac purée. Back in the kitchen, the teams kept pushing hard for the sea-inspired dishes. For the second course, the Red Team had shrimp heads stuffed with caviar and mussels with béchamel sauce. The dish looked bright and very appetizing. The Blue Team made classic French mussels with white wine cream sauce.

The third course was extremely stressful for the Red team. They had deboned quails and with 16 minutes to go, they hadn’t cooked them. Fortunately, they made it and delivered deboned quail with caramelized shallots and pecans. The Blue team prepared warm-spiced duck with roasted beets and braised carrots.

The winner of this challenge was … the Red Team! The Blue team had to face the Pressure Test. Four home cooks had to replicate three unique oyster dishes. But first, as usual, there was a little twist. The home cook who shucked the most oysters was safe from elimination. And it was Marissa, who went back to the balcony.

Beccy, Kaegan and Jen had to cook to survive and had just 35 minutes to master the oysters. Chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael tried all the dishes and made their decision. Beccy and Kaegan stayed in the show while Jen went home.

Do you think anyone should have been allowed back in the competition? Let me know in the comments below.

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Fight for your life on MasterChef Canada

Tuesday’s “Vive La Pressure Test” episode of MasterChef Canada was about strong culinary knowledge and will to win the title of the best home cook.

The Top 8 entered the MasterChef Canada kitchen wearing black aprons. What did it mean? Why there weren’t any judges in front of them? They got to know in a second when chefs Claudio, Alvin and Michael appeared behind them and revealed their challenge for the day. Tonight, the home cooks would go through three different tests. Do it or you won’t survive!

The first test began with chef Alvin. It was all about France; French technique and precision was a must. The challenge was to cook a plain French omelette. What was so hard about that you say? It’s only two ingredients: eggs and butter. The chefs had four minutes and one set of ingredients to show the judges they deserved to go to the balcony. The secret was to whisk the eggs through really well and not to leave any whites. Everything should be perfect, starting from seasoning and finishing with the heat of cooks’ pans. Beccy was the first one to finish the dish, but was it a mistake? The judges tried the omelettes. The simplest dish was now not so easy for the contestants. Eugene and Beccy made the best, were safe and chosen to be Team Captains for the next challenge. Andy and Michael G. also made it through.

The next elimination challenge was from Chef Claudio. The goal was to cook a steak to medium rare inside with beautiful crust on the outside. The home cooks had 15 minutes to cook their protein to perfection: two minutes to bring the pan to high heat, eight minutes to cook and five minutes to relax. That is how you cook the perfect steak chef Michael’s way. Everything could go wrong; the heat could be too high, there could be not enough seasoning or it could be overcooked. So many things to worry about! The judges tasted the steaks from Jonathan, Marissa, Nadia and Jen. Only two of the home cooks advanced and Nadia and Jen were the lucky ones. That meant Jonathan and Marissa had to fight and prove they deserved the last free spot in the competition.

The last challenge was a sweet and delicious crème caramel with chef Michael. In 30 minutes, the home cooks needed to make a perfect dessert. That was all about time management. There was no place for mistakes. Marissa was ahead, while Jonathan was making mistake after mistake. The judges went to the stations and tested the dishes. Marissa made it to the top while Jonathan went home.

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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Donut worry on Masterchef Canada

Tonight’s episode was for you, donut lovers! The team challenge took place at the Cherry Beach off-leash dog park in Toronto. This beautiful place was accompanied by amazing weather. The winners from the last episode—Eugene, Andy and Marissa—were chosen to be the team captains for the Red, Blue and Green teams. The task was to make up to 200 donuts with a two-hour prep time. The team that sold the most had a chance to win the challenge and be safe from the Pressure Test.

The teams gathered to discuss their ideas. What a diversity of thoughts starting from a chocolate banana donut and finishing with breakfast bagel donut-looking dish. However, nothing ever goes smoothly on MasterChef Canada. Beccy was in charge of the dough but added the yeast into very hot water, so it just died. The Green team had to start over. Eugene and his creativity caused his team to slow down and when the Green and Blue had their donuts almost ready, the Red team was just starting to assemble their yumminess.

The Red team went with a breakfast bagel donut topped with orange whipped cream and candied bacon. The Blue team made a caramelized banana donut with chocolate glaze and banana cream filling. The Green team wanted to make people feel warm, so they cooked an apple pie donut with a candied bacon and crunchy cinnamon topping. The crowd had different thoughts and preferences. The Red team was running out of donuts, the Blue team served a raw donut. What else could go wrong? Claudio, Alvin and Michael revealed the winning team. With only $25 separating the first and the last team, the Green team won the challenge and was safe from the elimination. That meant Red team and Blue team had to fight for the right to stay in the competition.

Jonathan, Marissa and Beccy had the opportunity to save one member from each team. Their pick was Andy from the Blue team and Nadia from the Red team.

Eugene, Michael V, Michael G and Jen had to compete against each other in the dreaded Pressure Test. The goal was to master an authentic Russian salmon coulibiac. The dish is six layers of tasty ingredients rolled in puff pastry. The Slavs’ dishes are just insanely imaginative, but very complicated to make. Would you give it a try? Let me know in the comments below!

The home cooks had only 75 minutes to make this happen and the knives were flying on the cutting boards. Every single layer of the dish is unique. There were egg whites, egg yolks, mushroom duxelles, salmon, parsley. The coulibiacs went into the oven and only a bit of luck could help the home cooks. Claudio, Alvin and Michael tried all the dishes and made their decision. Jen’s dish was absolutely a win. Michel V, Michael G and Eugene were in the bottom. Michael V ended his competition in the MasterChef Canada.

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

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A forest feast on MasterChef Canada

Tuesday’s newest “Fast and Epicure-ious” episode of MasterChef Canada was all about being close to the fans, people who love cooking and simple food. In this week’s Mystery Box Challenge the Top 10 …  got one more box! But what was hidden in there was like a magician’s hat full of fresh ingredients instead of bunnies. The boxes from Chefs Plate were absolutely stunning, containing a wide variety of delicious products. But is too much of a good thing always a bad thing?

The home cooks had to make a MasterChef Canada quality dish in under 30 minutes. There was a diversity of flavours from Asian-inspired food to Pakistani food. The judges selected three chefs to compete for the best Mystery Box dish. The first call was for Nadia, who made beef kofta and leek saag with chili potato and raita to praise her Pakistani roots. The flavour game was on point for Nadia, but was it enough? The second home cook who impressed the judges was Michael V. His Asian-inspired pork taco with tortillas from scratch left Claudio, Alvin and Michael speechless. Finally, the third home cook was chosen. The stuffed pork with crisp potatoes, brussels sprouts and mixed green salad cooked by Michael G. was terrific not only by the look, but by the taste as well.

That combination made Michael G. a winner of Tuesday’s challenge. This victory gave him some huge advantages: his recipe will be featured in the Chefs Plate menu, so millions of Canadians can recreate his recipe at home.

It also meant Michael G. was free from the Elimination Challenge and his next advantage was hidden in the tiniest mystery box. The hidden ingredient was presented in one of three ways: fresh, dried and canned. Michael G. had to assign which of his competitors would cook with each type with just one hour to cook the star of the dish. The chefs rushed to the pantry to find out what the secret ingredient was … and the pantry was full of MUSHROOMS. Canned, fresh and dried. Did you have any idea that the mystery box contained mushrooms? Let me know in the comments below!

The Elimination Challenge began. The home cooks took some unexpected twists to show the judges that they were worthy of making it to the Top 9 on MasterChef Canada. Michael G. was looking at the competitors with a great interest from the balcony, calculating his next moves in the show.

Eugene had the best dish of the night with a vegetarian “bone marrow” of potato confit and mushroom paste on a bed of crisp vegetables that looked just like a real forest. That dish was a pure brilliance. Andy had the second-best dish. He decided not to go with a protein and made the smoked oyster mushroom the absolute star of the dish. The third winner of the night was Marissa’s mushrooms and pistachio pork tenderloin with mushroom parsnip purée, which amazed the judges. The winners of Elimination Challenge would make those home cooks the team captains in the next team challenge.

Three dishes were in the bottom. Nadia, Reem and Jonathan all disappointed the judges with their dishes. Jonathan and Nadia received a second chance while Reem went home.

MasterChef Canada airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on CTV.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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