Tag Archives: Masterchef Canada

MasterChef Canada: Tony’s not so great at leadership in first Team Challenge

Weddings can be one of the biggest events in a couple’s relationship. The clothes, flowers, venue, music and weather is, hopefully, perfect and leaves the couple and their guests with longlasting positive memories. Another huge component of a wedding is the food, which led to an incredible amount of pressure on the MasterChef Canada home cooks, who prepared a two-course meal for a Caribbean-inspired wedding. (I wonder if the pair had to audition and if the show’s production company helped pay for any part of the wedding?)

Tony, who has impressed judges Claudio, Michael and Alvin with his Italian dishes, served as the Red Team leader. Opposite him was Chanelle, leading the Blue Team. The location of the wedding? Madsen’s Greenhouse in Newmarket, Ont., where Chloe and Jeremy were set to say their “I do’s” in front of 121 family and friends. The Team Challenge? To make an appetizer and main for everyone. At first blush, the team with Andre—and his Caribbean expertise—on it appeared to have an advantage. That meant Tony’s team, which also included Jenny, Alyssa and Cryssi. Chanelle may have had the second pick on people, choosing Jennifer, Roz, Colin and Josh, but she was given the first choice at protein, getting shellfish and chicken and leaving fish and beef for Tony et al.

Tony’s team got off quickly, leaning on Andre’s plan of fried fish with ackee followed by stewed beef and dumplings. Tony’s soccer coach knowledge came into play early as he jumped from person to person, checking that everyone was on task. But then the stress of frying fish threatened to derail the appetizer, with a lot of yelling between Tony and Cryssi happening until Andre stepped in to help Alyssa. But Tony kept at it with Cryssi, and then Andre, and it definitely hurt team morale.

Chanelle’s group was more of a team effort with everyone weighing in until seafood soup with coconut and jerk chicken with beans and salsa. Chenelle’s squad was in a bit of disarray, and without Andre to help them, a little out to sea. Josh’s jerk chicken marinade seemed to be too heavy on the Scotch bonnet peppers but his teammates seemed to like it.

The happy couple and their guests were served appetizers and it appeared as though blue’s soup was a little too bland compared to red’s fish. And, to make things worse, Roz ran out of the soup, a major planning gaffe. They quickly thinned out the remaining soup they had with shrimp stock but received thumbs down from guests.

With just an hour left to prep, cook and serve the main dish, things went awry when Josh dropped a pan of jerk chicken on the floor. (Was it just me or did Chef Claudio seem to take great delight in that?) The five-second rule does not apply in the MasterChef Canada kitchen, but luckily Josh has prepared extra meat so they weren’t going to run short.

Chloe wasn’t impressed with the red team’s beef stew, saying it lacked a lot of flavour, while she loved the blue team’s chicken. In the end, Team Red won by just three votes. So while Andre was a help in his team’s success, Tony’s leadership style and losing track of time caused what might have been a landslide victory much closer. Chanelle and her team lost but I hope held their heads high. The red team was saved from the Pressure Test and elimination.

Back in the kitchen, Chenelle, Jennifer, Roz, Colin and Josh were fighting to stay in the competition, but not before they were allowed to pick one home cook to be saved from elimination. They chose, rightly, Josh. He owned the jerk chicken from start to finish and the guests liked it. In the Pressure Test, Chenelle, Jennifer, Roz and Colin were tasked with creating one sweet and one savoury cheesecake in 80 minutes. (If anyone is interested, I would have gone with a brownie swirl cheesecake for my sweet and made a buffalo chicken blue cheese for my savoury.)

With time running out, Colin’s watery strawberry cheesecake filling seemed destined to send him home before it got into the oven. As for Chanelle, hers came out of the oven intact but collapsed during plating. Incredibly, each cheesecake was completed and, overall, looked amazing. Jennifer’s everything bagel was enjoyed by Chef Michael and Chef Claudio deemed her chocolate attempt to be great; Chef Alvin didn’t enjoy Colin’s scallop lemon offering but Micheal loved his sweet strawberry concoction; Alvin liked the light taste of Chanelle’s goat cheese creation and, while Michael did like the flavour of her sweet matcha cheesecake, he pointed out its horrible collapse; Michael enjoyed Rozin’s Stilton cheesecake but opined it was a little heavy-handed, and Alvin refused to comment (on camera at least) about his tahini-themed plate.

In the episode’s closing moments, Alvin, Claudio and Michael awarded Jennifer top marks for her cheesecakes. Rozin overreached in his ambition but was saved from elimination. That left Colin and Chanelle, with Colin being shown the door. It wasn’t entirely unexpected—Colin was middle of the road in last week’s two-hour debut—but I was sad to see him go and thought his East Coast-inspired recipes would have been neat to see evolve.

MasterChef Canada airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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MasterChef Canada gets cooking with Season 6 on CTV

With the coming of spring (finally), so too was the return of MasterChef Canada (finally). And what a return it was! A jam-packed two hours kicked off Season 6 with, once again, the goal of awarding the top home cook in this fine land and giving them $100,000.

And, in a twist to the audition process, judges Claudio Aprile, Alvin Leung and Michael Bonacini personally sifted through a pile of audition photos to choose the Top 18 finalists to do battle. It’s always interesting to see how the finalists interact with the judges—and each other—this early in the competition. Nerves almost always come into play, as do egos and large personalities. Both can get you eliminated pretty quickly.

Once the hand-delivered messages from the judges were delivered, we had our Top 18.

  • Alyssa LeBlanc, Former Public Servant, from Tusket, N.S.
  • Andre Bhagwandat, Hospital Housekeeper, from Scarborough, Ont.
  • Chanelle Saks, Entrepreneur, from Calgary
  • Cliff McArthur, IT Support Analyst, from Scarborough, Ont.
  • Colin Buckingham, Car Salesman, from St. John’s
  • Cryssi Larocque, Former Airline Agent, from Thunder Bay, Ont.
  • Jamie Mayer, Healthcare Portfolio Manager, from Toronto
  • Jennifer Crawford, Senior Policy Analyst, from Kingston, N.S.
  • Jenny Miller, Stay-at-Home Mom, from Havre Boucher, N.S.
  • Josh Miller, Youth Care Home Manager, from Regina
  • Kimberly Fitzpatrick, Writer, from Ottawa
  • Laurie Dingwall, Retired, from Lac Saguay, Qué.
  • Lena Huynh, Lash Technician, from Burnaby, B.C.
  • Marie Le Bel, Entrepreneur, from Westmount, Qué.
  • Mark Hamilton, Firefighter, from Mission, B.C.
  • Rozin Abbas, Digital Marketer, from Toronto
  • Steven Lapointe, International Figure Skater, from Acton Vale, Qué.
  • Tony La Ferrara, Soccer Coach and Retired Teacher, from Whitby, Ont.

And, as has become the custom, those finalists were tasked with preparing a signature dish in hopes of sticking around and acquiring a white apron. Each group of six—chosen by Michael, Claudio or Alvin—took a turn cooking for the judge who signed their invitation. Alvin’s group went first, with the Demon Chef serving as coach. But, in a twist, the signature dish had to be made with chicken. That threw a wrench in the plans of any home cook expecting to make their special plate. I like the shakeup in gameplay, especially when Alvin took some potshots at Michael’s expense.

Cliff’s chicken and waffles landed him an apron, and Alyssa and Josh joined him. Sadly, the other three home cooks invited by Alvin were sent home.

Up next was Chef Michael’s six, preparing something with beef as the focus. Unfortunately, Tony nicked himself during prep and was sidelined for several moments, putting his future in jeopardy. He still finished it and received an apron. Marie was the lone home cook from Michael’s team who was not handed an apron.

Finally, Chef Claudio’s six home cooks took to the floor and prepared shrimp dishes. The standouts were Jennifer’s tart, Rozin’s shrimp and grits and Andre’s curry. Cryssi received the final apron of the episode, setting up the Top 12.

There was barely a moment to celebrate before Episode 2 kicked off with the Top 12 facing their first Mystery Box and Elimination Challenges of Season 6.

Root vegetables were the name of the game for the Mystery Box, testing each home cook to reveal their own roots with an original recipe. It was interesting to see how quickly home cooks like Andre and Colin settled into plating something celebrating their upbringing or background for the second episode in a row, with the former creating a spicy Cajun purée and the latter cod with root vegetables. The judges selected Jennifer’s trout with root vegetable “scales,” Cryssi’s roasted root vegetable soup and Jenny’s vegetables five ways. Jenny won the Mystery Box a test and was safe from elimination for the week.

The season’s first Elimination Challenge featured nine different proteins for 11 cooks. Jenny’s other advantage? Saving two compatriots; she picked Cryssi and Jennifer to stick around. While some home cooks were happy to select a protein they had experience with, others chose an item they didn’t, choosing to challenge themselves. Kudos to Chanelle for taking the octopus. Meanwhile, Colin was struggling over on his station and managed to burn his salmon and had to start again. Luckily, he had more to prepare but was running out of time. Rozin wasn’t so lucky and scorched some of his lamb ragu, and Cliff discovered his duck leg wasn’t cooked enough to pull away from the bone.

The Top 2 plates were prepared by Chanelle and Tony, who are captains for next week’s team challenge. At the other end of the spectrum were Colin, Steven, Alyssa and Cliff. Alyssa and Colin were given another chance, meaning Cliff and Steven’s time in the kitchen had come to an end.

MasterChef Canada airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Image courtesy of Bell Media.

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With love, from Mary… CTV’s new original culinary series Mary’s Kitchen Crush premieres April 28

From a media release:

Full of food, friends, and fun, CTV today announced that its delectable new series MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH drops into CTV’s midseason schedule and on Crave Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT beginning April 28. Viewers will get a second helping of the series with a bonus digital-only episode available on CTV digital platforms including CTV.ca and the CTV app, CTV’s YouTube™ page, and CTV, THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, YOUR MORNING, and Gusto Facebook pages, as well as Bravo.ca and MTV.ca. Canadians can also enjoy the bonus episode on CTV On Demand via set-top box with applicable TV service providers.

Hosted by Canada’s culinary sweetheart and MASTERCHEF CANADA winner Mary Berg, the all-new series showcases Berg’s culinary skill and creativity with original recipes inspired by someone who has made a meaningful impact on her life. The premiere of MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH follows the return of MASTERCHEF CANADA, airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on CTV beginning Monday, April 8. Viewers can then stream episodes anytime on CTV.ca and the CTV app.

With a pinch of humour and a dash of kindness, Berg’s meals are like an edible love letter for her family members and close friends. Each meal is motivated by a story which connects back to the episode’s special guest. Memories of family trips to South Carolina spur a Southern feast, while a French-themed menu is created after Berg and a friend dreamt of jetting off to Paris.

Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, a sports game, or just expressing gratitude for a loved one, MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is filled with recipes for every occasion. As Berg prepares the meal, she guides viewers through the recipe, offering up plenty of helpful tips and takeaways. The guests in each episode then join Berg to enjoy the final meal. Following each episode, viewers can visit CTV.ca for full written and video recipes featured on the show including video extras “Mary in a Minute,” “Mary Crushes,” and “Mary’s Mantras,” which feature Berg as she dishes on her tastiest meals and kitchen hacks. Viewers can also visit the recipe hub on TheLoop.ca for details on all of Berg’s delicious dishes.

Joining the series this season as sponsors are Starbucks at Home and Dawn Ultra Dish Liquid, who will produce custom content around the series featuring Mary Berg.

Berg’s impressive culinary journey took off after capturing the title of MASTERCHEF CANADA. She can be seen regularly as a food expert on CTV’s YOUR MORNING and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, and can be found developing recipes for shows, food, beverage brands, and her blog A Small Stove. Berg’s first cookbook, Kitchen Party, is set to be published in September 2019.

From the kitchen to the table, in the first episode of MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH, “Mary Loves Myra” airing Sunday, April 28 at 7 p.m. ET/PT, Myra Berg is not just an amazing mom, she’s also Mary’s #1 fan! To thank her mom for all of her love and support, Mary gives Myra a giant food hug with a fresh and flavourful spin on her favourite dish.

A CTV Original Production, MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is produced by Proper Television (MASTERCHEF CANADA), a division of Boat Rocker Studios, in association with CTV. Cathie James, Allison Grace, and Lesia Capone serve as Executive Producers and Garrett Wintrip as Series Producer.

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MasterChef Canada returns with a special two-hour premiere, April 8 on CTV

From a media release:

Who will be named Canada’s next MasterChef? CTV today revealed the Top 18 MASTERCHEF CANADA home cooks competing for a chance to be one of six in the elite group of title holders and take home the $100,000 cash prize. A 2019 Canadian Screen Award nominee, Season 6 of MASTERCHEF CANADA kicks off with a special two-hour premiere on Monday, April 8 beginning at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CTV before settling into its regular Mondays at 9 p.m. ET/PT timeslot. Viewers can then stream all episodes anytime on CTV.ca and the CTV app.

Keeping the heat on high for this season’s Top 18 are esteemed judges Michael Bonacini (O&B restaurant empire), Alvin Leung (Bo Innovation in Hong Kong), and Claudio Aprile (Copetin Restaurant & Bar). With only a limited number of white aprons up for grabs, the home cooks have to prove they have the culinary skills to cut it in the MASTERCHEF CANADA kitchen. In a new twist this season, each judge selects six home cooks to invite to the Top 18, with each member receiving personal invitations delivered via courier.

Below are the Top 18 home cooks vying for a white apron and ultimately contending for the MASTERCHEF CANADA title.

  • Alyssa LeBlanc, Former Public Servant, from Tusket, N.S.
  • Andre Bhagwandat, Hospital Housekeeper, from Scarborough, Ont.
  • Chanelle Saks, Entrepreneur, from Calgary, Alta.
  • Cliff McArthur, IT Support Analyst, from Scarborough, Ont.
  • Colin Buckingham, Car Salesman, from St. John’s, N.L.
  • Cryssi Larocque, Former Airline Agent, from Thunder Bay, Ont.
  • Jamie Mayer, Healthcare Portfolio Manager, from Toronto, Ont.
  • Jennifer Crawford, Senior Policy Analyst, from Kingston, N.S.
  • Jenny Miller, Stay-at-Home Mom, from Havre Boucher, N.S.
  • Josh Miller, Youth Care Home Manager, from Regina, S.K.
  • Kimberly Fitzpatrick, Writer, from Ottawa, Ont.
  • Laurie Dingwall, Retired, from Lac Saguay, Qué.
  • Lena Huynh, Lash Technician, from Burnaby, B.C.
  • Marie Le Bel, Entrepreneur, from Westmount, Qué.
  • Mark Hamilton, Firefighter, from Mission, B.C.
  • Rozin Abbas, Digital Marketer, from Toronto, Ont.
  • Steven Lapointe, International Figure Skater, from Acton Vale, Qué.
  • Tony La Ferrara, Soccer Coach and Retired Teacher, from Whitby, Ont.

In each episode of MASTERCHEF CANADA, the home cooks have their culinary expertise tested through a series of Mystery Box Challenges, Team Challenges, and Pressure Tests, with the judges providing direction and feedback throughout the process. At the end of each episode, at least one home cook is eliminated from the competition until only two remain, culminating in a battle during the finale for a chance to take home $100,000 and the sought-after title of MASTERCHEF CANADA

Throughout the season, fans are invited to visit CTV.ca/MasterChefCanada for exclusive content, including background on the Season 6 finalists and the MASTERCHEF CANADA judges, as well as interviews, highlights, recipes, and more. CTV.ca also offers viewers a behind-the-scenes look at this season’s challenges, delectable dishes, victories, and defeats.

Before Canadians take a bite into the new season, CTV invites viewers to relive all the culinary action from previous editions of MASTERCHEF CANADA, now streaming on Crave and available on demand at CTV.ca and on the CTV app. New episodes of MASTERCHEF CANADA are available on-demand the day following the broadcast premieres on CTV.

The MASTERCHEF format and finished programs are represented internationally by Endemol Shine Group. This includes MASTERCHEF JUNIOR, which airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT beginning March 12 on CTV2. With over 60 local adaptations broadcast in more than 200 countries, MasterChef is the world’s most successful cookery television format. MasterChef was created by Franc Roddam.

MASTERCHEF CANADA is produced by Proper Television in association with CTV. Proper’s Co-President Cathie James is the Executive Producer and Showrunner and Co-President Lesia Capone is Executive Producer.

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CTV’s delectable new original series Mary’s Kitchen Crush begins production

From a media release:

CTV, in association with Proper Television, announced today that production has begun on MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH. The all-new, thirty-episode, half-hour series will air on CTV, Gusto, and ultimately stream on demand from the new CTV Super Hub, as part of the new lifestyle brand, CTV Life.

MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH features Canada’s culinary sweetheart and MASTERCHEF CANADA Season 3 winner Mary Berg as she shares her delicious twists on home-cooked classics inspired by her family and friends. The series, produced by Proper Television, is currently shooting in Toronto and will premiere as part of CTV’s 2019 midseason schedule. MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is currently available for customized brand partnership opportunities.

Mary Berg has spent most of her life cooking and baking for those she loves and building a strong appreciation for the connective powers of beautiful, home-cooked food. In each episode of MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH, she demonstrates her culinary skill and creativity with three to four original recipes – inspired by someone who has made a meaningful impact on her life. The resulting meal is like an edible love letter for family members and close friends. We’ll hear about the memories that motivated her menu choices as she guides viewers clearly through her recipes, offering up plenty of illuminating tips, and take-aways.

Mary Berg’s meteoric culinary journey took off after capturing the Season 3 title of MASTERCHEF CANADA. She can be seen regularly as a food expert on CTV’s YOUR MORNING and THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW and can be found developing recipes for shows, food, beverage brands, and her blog A Small Stove. Berg has also started working on her first of two cookbooks to be released in September 2019 and Spring/Summer 2021.

MARY’S KITCHEN CRUSH is produced by Proper Television (MASTERCHEF CANADA). Cathie James, Allison Grace, and Lesia Capone serve as Executive Producers and Garrett Wintrip as Series Producer.

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