Tag Archives: Chris Nuttall-Smith

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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Iron Chef Canada reigns supreme on October 17

From a media release:

Allez Cuisine! Today, Food Network Canada unveiled its exceptional culinary cast and premiere date for the great white north’s Iron Chef Canada (10×60), set to debut on October 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. At the helm is Canadian television personality, accomplished food writer and trained culinary expert Gail Simmons as host, critically acclaimed food critic Chris Nuttall-Smith as floor reporter and Vancouver-native Jai West as the dynamic chairman. The final two Iron Chefs slated to command the competition include Ottawa-born vegetarian chef and owner of award-winning New York City restaurant Dirt Candy, Amanda Cohen, and prominent Vancouver-based chef and Culinary Director of Cactus Club, Rob Feenie – both former Iron Chef America competitors. Chefs Cohen and Feenie join previously announced Canadian Iron Chefs, Hugh Acheson, Lynn Crawford and Susur Lee.

In every episode, Monogram appliances elevate the head-to-head battles between the Iron Chefs and notable chef competitors in the finely crafted Monogram kitchen stadium. Each has 60 minutes to prepare five dishes using a featured “secret ingredient” and the chef with the highest score from the rotating judging panel wins the epic battle and supreme bragging rights. Stay tuned for more information on which Canadian chef competitors are lined up to compete this fall.

Learn more about the cast of Iron Chef Canada:

Gail Simmons, Host, @gailsimmonseats
Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Born and raised in Toronto, Ont., Gail moved to New York City in 1999 to attend culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education. Gail has lent her expertise as a permanent judge on Bravo’s Emmy-winning series Top Chef and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by the New York Post. Gail’s first book, a memoir titled Talking With My Mouth Full, was published in 2012. Her first cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, was released in 2017 and was nominated for an IACP award for “Best General Cookbook.” Gail writes a monthly column for Food & Wine magazine and works closely with the country’s top culinary talent on events and initiatives. In 2016, she received the Award of Excellence by Spoons Across America, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children about the benefits of healthy eating. She is an active board member and supporter of City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen, Common Threads, and the Institute of Culinary Education.

Chris Nuttall-Smith, Floor Reporter, @cnutsmith
Chris Nuttall-Smith is editor-in-chief and founder of thetaster.ca, a subscription site for trustworthy restaurant, food and wine reviews. He’s worked as food editor, chief critic and dining columnist at Toronto Life, restaurant critic for enRoute (he wrote the magazine’s celebrated Canada’s Best New Restaurant list in 2009), and more recently, national food reporter and Toronto restaurants columnist for The Globe and Mail. Nuttall-Smith’s writing on food, drink and other subjects has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, New York magazine, Toro and Lucky Peach, as well as on the podcast The Fridgelight, which he created and hosted. He’s also a resident judge on Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada.

Jai West, Chairman, @monsieurwest
Born in Vancouver, B.C., Jai West began his acting career in his teens as a series regular on the popular teen show Kidzone. He also had many roles on TV and film in the U.S. and Canada including guest appearances in Highlander, The Odyssey and 21 Jump Street and more. In Japan he has starred in high-grossing films such as Worst Contact, Bus Panic and Private Detective Mike. In 2004, Jai took on a key role in the Japanese box office hit Survive Style 5+ the directorial debut of creative duo Tada Taku and Sekiguchi Gen. Jai has also received praise for the poetry he creates under the pseudonym ‘Lotus Chamelion’. In 2016, Jai was cast as the lead opposite Dree Hemingway and Pamela Anderson in the psychological thriller The People Garden directed by Canadian filmmaker Nadia Litz.

Amanda Cohen, Canadian Iron Chef, @dirtcandynyc
Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, an award-winning vegetable-only restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Born in Ottawa and raised in Toronto, Ont. Cohen moved to New York to attend university and never left. Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in New York when it opened in 2008. The restaurant’s original 18-seat location was open for six years and during that time became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from the New York Times, was recognized by the Michelin Guide five years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet Magazine, the Village Voice, and others. Cohen was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef America and her comic book cookbook, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, is the first graphic novel cookbook to be published in North America.

Rob Feenie, Canadian Iron Chef, @cactusclubcafe
Rob Feenie is currently the Culinary Director of Cactus Club based in Vancouver, B.C. Feenie grew up in Burnaby and graduated from the Dubrulle Culinary Institute. Feenie began his career as a sous chef in notable restaurants such as Le Crocodile and Cherry Stone Cove in Vancouver, and The Rim Rock Café in Whistler. He trained with Chef Emile Jung at Au Crocodile and Chef Antoine Westermann at Le Buerehiesel, both Michelin three-star rated restaurants in Alsace, France. Feenie went on to open his own restaurant, the internationally celebrated Lumière, in Vancouver, followed by Lumière Tasting Bar and Feenie’s. On Food Network Canada, Feenie hosted the series New Classics with Chef Rob Feenie and in 2005, he became the first Canadian to win Iron Chef America by defeating Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Feenie has written four cookbooks and is a two-time Vancouver Gold Medal Plates winner. He has received the coveted Relais Gourmand and Traditions et Qualité designations, the Mobil Travel Guide four-stars designation and the AAA Five Diamond Award.

To learn more about the series, Canadian Iron Chefs, catch behind the scenes content and watch episodes online after they premiere, visit www.foodnetwork.ca.

Food Network Canada is available on a National Free Preview for the month of October. Please check local listings for additional details.

Iron Chef Canada is produced by Proper Television in association with Corus Entertainment’s Food Network Canada and based on the original ‘Iron Chef’ Series Produced by Fuji Television Network, Inc.Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail