Tag Archives: Food Network Canada

Preview: Fire Masters grills up tasty vittles on the road to $10,000

I like to fancy myself a bit of an expert on grilling. Thanks to Ted Reader, I’ve mastered cedar plank salmon, grilled vegetables and to-die-for burgers. But I simply don’t have the skill needed to compete in Food Network Canada’s latest culinary competition.

Fire Masters—bowing Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the specialty network—pits three chefs against one another in a sweaty, hot and smoky test to see who can tame the fire and walk away with $10,000.

At the helm of this spark-filled challenge is professional chef, writer, restaurateur, world traveller and—currently running a private chef service and consulting company in the Cayman Islands—Barrie, Ont., native Dylan Benoit. The bearded, pony-tailed chef introduces the three chefs ready to do battle in three rounds and, as done on Chopped, one is eliminated until a sole chef is left standing. Unlike Chopped, however, the final competitor goes head-to-head with one of the episode’s judges. In the case of Thursday’s debut, that means Connie DeSousa, Ray Lampe or Hugh Mangum.

The first challenge tasks the trio with creating a dish that reflects who they are. This is a tactic used to great effect on Top Chef Canada because it not only shows off a chef’s skills but their influences as well. With just 30 minutes on the clock, Fire Masters becomes an orgy of flashing stainless steel, glowing embers and egos. After a visit and taste by the judges, one chef is cut from the competition.

In the second challenge, the remaining two are asked to prepare fish, with the Round 1 winner getting an advantage. If this all sounds a little of Top Chef Canada, I wholeheartedly agree. In fact, I zipped to the end of the screener to see if it was made by the same production company. It’s from Architect Films (Home to Win, Great Canadian Cottages), but Fire Masters sure has a lot of Top Chef Canada‘s DNA. And, since it’s a proven formula, why not go for it?

The departure of that formula is, of course, having the Round 2 winner face off against one of the judges. And, in Thursday’s first episode, the battle is fun as heck to watch. I won’t give away the results, but you like cooking over flames and the competition of Top Chef Canada, you’re going to like these budding Fire Masters.

Fire Masters airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Image courtesy of Food Network Canada.

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Food Network Canada announces Top Chef Canada Season 6 competitors

From a media release:

The knives are sharpened, the competition is cutthroat and the country’s top culinary title is within reach – but only one will walk away as Canada’s Top Chef. Food Network Canada’s esteemed culinary competition Top Chef Canada (8×60) returns for its sixth high-stakes season on Sunday, April 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

A new lineup of 11 extraordinary chefs battle it out for the coveted title and grand prize of $100,000 courtesy of Interac, a luxurious Monogram kitchen valued at $25,000 and $5,000 worth of Cuisinart® products. Spanning from coast to coast, these professional chefs represent the next generation of Canada’s culinary elite and now it’s their time to showcase their creativity and culinary prowess to impress the judges’ table. The expert panel returning this year includes Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef and television personality Eden Grinshpan as host, head judge chef Mark McEwan and resident judges: powerhouse restaurateur Janet Zuccarini, food blogger Mijune Pak and renowned food journalist and critic Chris Nuttall-Smith.

Following a nation-wide search, the competitors vying for the sought-after title of Canada’s Top Chef are:

  • Nathan Guggenheimer, 35 – Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Elia Herrera, 37 – Toronto, Ont.
  • Ross Larkin, 31 – St. John’s, N.L.
  • Jinhee Lee, 38 – Calgary, Alta.
  • JP Miron, 30 – Montreal, Que.
  • Ivana Raca, 33 – Toronto, Ont.
  • Darren Rogers, 27 – Montreal, Que.
  • Mark Singson, 29 – Vancouver, B.C.
  • Matt Sullivan, 34 – Toronto, Ont.
  • Felix Zhou, 29 – Coquitlam, B.C.
  • Jesse Zuber, 29 – Saskatoon, Sask.

In each episode, the chefs will compete in demanding Quickfire and Elimination Challenges that push their skills to new limits. Serving their dishes weekly to the resident judging panel, they will also need to win over the palates of celebrated guest judges featured throughout the series. This season, guest judges include chef-owners of some of Toronto’s best-known restaurants, such as Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watchco), Susur Lee (Fring’s, Lee), Rob Gentile (Buca, Bar Buca) and Alexandra Feswick (Drake Devonshire). Top Chef Canada alum returning as guest judges include Steve Gonzales of Baro, Dustin Gallagher of 416 Snack Bar as well as Top Chef Canada: All-Stars winner, Nicole Gomes of Calgary’s Cluck ‘N’ Cleaver. Additionally, Evan Funke, L.A.-based chef and co-owner (with Janet Zuccarini) of the acclaimed Felix restaurant, and Danny Bowien, chef-owner of New York’s Mission Chinese Food, also join as guest judges.

Food Network Canada is available on a National Free Preview from March 1 to April 30. Please check local listings for additional details.

Top Chef Canada is the homegrown version of the hit Emmy Award-winning NBCUniversal Series Top Chef and is produced by Insight Production Company Ltd. in association with Food Network Canada.

Executive Producers are John Brunton and Mark Lysakowski, and Co-Executive Producer and Showrunner is Eric Abboud.

 

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Food Network Canada’s The Baker Sisters discover fabulous desserts

Dessert first. It’s been the motto of sisters Rachel Smith and Jean Parker their whole lives. And it’s the mantra of The Baker Sisters—debuting Friday at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada—starring Smith and Parker as they traverse North America, visiting bakeries and chowing down on all things sweet, gooey and icing-laden. As a public service announcement, it should be noted that you will hunt down anything sugary to consume after watching an episode of The Baker Sisters.

“We tell people that, if you don’t have some baked goods in the house, you will wind up drinking the maple syrup,” Smith says. She’s not kidding. Among the confections the pair samples in Friday’s first instalment are Peanut Butter Shorties in Vancouver’s Purebread bakery, massive wedges of buttery shortbread accented with peanut butter, chocolate and crushed peanuts.

The show’s producers, Alibi Entertainment Inc., were on the lookout for a dynamic pair with baking knowledge to host a new project. The Southern Ontario siblings grew up in their mother’s tart shop helping to stuff tins before opening their own company, Maple Key Tart Co., giving them a leg up on the competition when it came to casting.

“We went in for casting, and we just had fun,” Parker says. “I think that’s the magic recipe to the show. We’re sisters and we love each other.” Now, 13 episodes later, viewers get to see what the pair experienced. Each half-hour follows the pair to a trio of bakeries around the continent, meeting employees and getting their hands dirty creating magnificent morsels that go beyond the usual chocolate chip cookie or apple pie. Key ingredients like flour, butter and sugar stay the same but what these bakers do with them is outrageous.

Amid all the treats Smith and Parker sample are butter tarts. The Canadian staple has become a business for the sisters via Maple Key Tart Co., so they’re experts on the pastry. What were their thoughts on the competition?

“It was a totally different tart,” Parker recalls. “Our tart is a less sweet tart with a firmer filling. The one I tried was super-sweet because she used corn syrup and it was crazy runny. Her pastry was more of a butter shortbread. Our tarts truly are like night and day. Hers was delicious. That’s why there are trails dedicated to butter tarts because they can be so different.”

What goes into butter tarts is the topic of hot debate too. Do you go plain (my personal favourite), or are raisins or nuts included?

“I love a good raisin,” Smith says with a laugh. “But people do not like to be surprised with the raisin.”

“I think there is a time and a place for raisins,” Parker says diplomatically. “I’m classic. I like the plain and I think those are the ones you take to a party. People are so passionate about whether raisins or even nuts should be in them.”

The Baker Sisters airs Fridays at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Image courtesy of Corus.

 

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Food Network Canada’s Original Series The Baker Sisters Premieres October 20

From a media release:

Food Network Canada’s new dynamic duo, The Baker Sisters (13x30min), have a serious craving for sweet treats and are on a mouth-watering mission to find them. The new Canadian original series celebrates the most scrumptious baked treats North America has to offer. Hosted by self-taught bakers and real-life sisters, Rachel Smith and Jean Parker, The Baker Sisters takes viewers on a guilt-free road trip to see how tasty, tantalizing treats are made. The Corus Studio-created original series premieres Friday, October 20 with back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.

Food Network Canada’s new personalities Rachel Smith and Jean Parker are sisters, moms, entrepreneurs, and of course, bakers. Born in Windsor and raised in Trenton, ON, baking, and specifically making butter tarts with their mother, has always been an important part of their lives. Recently, their family inspired them to start their own butter tart business, Maple Key Tart Co. Now, these two sisters are taking their baking skills on the road for a pastry-filled adventure in search of gooey goodies, meeting the people who make them, and picking up tips and tricks along the way.

In each episode of The Baker Sisters, Rachel and Jean visit three locations to sample treats for which the bakery, restaurant or deli is known. The sisters take turns in the kitchen with the expert baker to see exactly how their tempting confections are made. From great Canadian classics such as Nanaimo bars and butter tarts to intriguing creations including Lemon Lavender Cake, Peach Cobbler Cupcakes and Wild Berry Fritters, these sisters discover it all. Throughout their journey, the sisters make stops in Calgary and Edmonton, Alta., Toronto, ON, Victoria and Vancouver, B.C., Halifax, N.S., and stops south of the border in Atlanta, Ga., Charleston, S.C., and Phoenix, Ariz. to name a few. Together, they find out who makes North America’s most blissful treats and discover how they are made.

In the back-to-back premiere episodes “I Dream of Doughnut” and “The Chosen Bun,” the sisters head west to Purebread in Vancouver, where they learn to create Peanut Butter Shorties and visit Crave Bakery in Calgary to try their hand at a Chocolate Caramel Bar. Next, they head south to Atlanta to sample an Orange Star Doughnut at Sublime Doughnuts and visit Proof Bakery to taste test their Peach Buckle. The sisters make a final stop in Toronto for a nostalgic éclair at Nugateau and some classic cinnamon buns at Rosen’s.

FoodNetwork.ca serves a double helping of dessert with exclusive segments featuring the sisters as they sample even more tempting treats. Additionally, viewers can access exclusive recipes from the series and watch new episodes each week after broadcast.

The Baker Sisters is produced by Alibi Entertainment Inc. in association with Corus Studios for Food Network Canada.

 

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Canada’s culinary elite wanted: Top Chef Canada auditions are open

From a media release:

Canada’s most prestigious and high-stakes culinary competition is back for another season! The nation-wide search for the best chefs to compete in the sixth season of Top Chef Canada begins today.

Information on how to apply to be on Top Chef Canada is now available at TopChefCanadaCasting.ca.

In order to be considered, interested applicants must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and be at least 19 years of age as of June 1, 2017. For complete details and to apply online, access the casting site here. Casting opens today, June 26, and closes on August 18, 2017 at 6 p.m. ET.

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