Tag Archives: Masterchef Canada

Review: MasterChef Canada winner returns

Competing on a show like MasterChef Canada is an exercise in skill and humility. You may be excellent at what you do, but if you show up your competitors too much or—even worse—the judges, you will get burned for it.

Such was the situation Michael and Cody found themselves in on Sunday night.

Michael, who has never shown a lack of confidence in anything he’s done, was once again slapped down by Michael, Alvin and Claudio for his pretentious plating during the Elimination Challenge. Roasting three vegetables, creating a cylinder of truffle mashed potatoes and grilling a hunk of lamb and placing them on a long white plate may have looked cool, but it made him a target. Claudio especially took umbrage with Michael’s plating and ripped him for salty potatoes.

Cody, meanwhile, one-upped Michael in his douchebaggery by nullifying his Mystery Box win and participating in the Elimination Challenge. Why? Because he really wanted to cook with Season 1 winner Eric Chong’s favourite ingredient: truffles. Clearly riding an adrenaline high, Cody’s decision to compete was a slap in the face to the judges who had given him the win. Dude, if the judges tell you you’re safe and to go to the gallery … YOU GO TO THE GALLERY. Instead, Cody tried too hard to impress everyone and was on the verge of going home.

Thankfully for he and Michael, Kevin once again crashed an burned with an insipid-looking egg and asparagus dish that had a smattering of truffle on it. Kevin, the chef who included puff pastry wrapper in one recent recipe, was shown the door.

Next week, team captains David and Sabrina lead their teams to the University of Guelph where they’ll make poutine for a bunch of students.

Notes and quotes

  • I would have made a pizza with caramelized onions, roasted garlic, brie, smoked gouda and proscuitto on it.
  • When did Cody injure/burn himself? I either missed it or it happened off-camera.
  • “Essence of unicorn… angel tears…” — Jennifer mocking Cody
  • “They seem like they’re just overpriced little turds.” Quote of the night from Kwasi
  • “That’s like me … yellow magic.” Um, what, Alvin?

MasterChef Canada airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET on CTV; the show is pre-empted for the JUNOS this coming Sunday.


Review: MasterChef Canada competitor collapses

MasterChef Canada suffered its first call for medics on Sunday night, and it had nothing to do with the high-flying folks of Cirque du Soleil’s show Kurios: A Cabinet of Curiosities. Instead it was frontrunner/former Canadian military member Line who needed medical attention, though not because she cut or burned herself.

Turned out the stress of her Blue Team losing to Andrew’s Red Team during the Team Challenge and a lack of ingesting enough liquids caused the curly-haired home cook to collapse moments after saving herself from the Pressure Test. (Line is fine and returns next week according to the tease for next Sunday’s episode.) Would you have saved yourself from the Pressure Test? Though former CFLer Jon was quick to jump on Line for doing that, I’m pretty sure I would have done the same if I was in her position. After all, MasterChef Canada is a competition, not a summer camp.

Sunday’s “Juggling Act” marked the show’s first Team Challenge, and the all-important first peek at who is rubbing everyone the wrong way. That person is always the last to be picked on a team, and when Jennifer was the one I wasn’t surprised. She’s either super-annoying or being edited that way and was added to Line’s squad last.

It didn’t take long for Jennifer to grate on Line’s nerves because she didn’t know how to use a mandolin; the resulting comments from her team leader left Jennifer in tears and Alvin warning Line that she was being too hard on Jen. Andrew’s team was the polar opposite, a squad full of free thinkers and free-wheeling, a recipe that often results in disaster but in this case secured Andrew and the Red Team a win.

Back in the MasterChef Canada kitchen, the Red Team was tasked with making the French Canadian treat tourtière for the judges. And, after Blue saved Jennifer from elimination and Line took a tumble after saving herself, the remaining cooks got down to business. Having experience making tourtière myself, I know it’s important not to over-season with herbs and cloves and to make sure the meat filling is thick and juicy. Unfortunately, Debra’s wild boar offering was too dry and she left a bay leaf fragment inside, a major no-no. Tammy, meanwhile, foundered because she added too much apple and rosemary to the middle, drawing the attention away from her protein.

In the end it was Debra who was forced to hang up her apron and depart the MasterChef Canada kitchen.

Note and quotes

  • Who else caught the llama head in the first two minutes of the episode? Coincidence or shout-out to last week’s escaped animals?
  • I’m stealing Jon’s idea of tin foil and hotel pans to keep the heat in on an outdoor grill.
  • “I’m so sorry I forgot my lollipop, because there are a whole bunch of suckers here.” I’m not sure what that meant, but clearly Michael meant it as a diss.

MasterChef Canada airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET on CTV.


Review: Advantages and accidents on MasterChef Canada

If you had the chance to save a competitor in MasterChef Canada, would you save a friend, a weak chef or a strong chef? That was the task left to Jon to contemplate after he emerged as champion of the first Mystery Box Challenge.

If it was me, I’d be saving weaker chefs I felt I could take down later in the contest. Home cooks that looked like they’d break under the pressure of group challenges, would stress out over little things or be totally disorganized. So I wasn’t shocked at all when Jon—after kicking butt with his cream cheese tarts—picked Jennifer as one of the three chefs he’d save from elimination. I was a little shocked that Jon chose David as his first save, though. I’m guessing it’s because they’ve become fast friends, but David has proven himself to be a skilled competitor and that move may come back to haunt Jon.

Speaking of decisions coming back to haunt them, I wonder how Kevin felt after basically saving Andrew from elimination this week? Andrew badly overcooked his pork chop in the Mystery Box and asked for another chunk of meat. Kevin gave him his, and Andrew not only got kudos for that plate but went on to land the top dish of the night with his crispy ginger beef. Andrew will be one of two captains when MasterChef Canada moves to Toronto’s docklands to prepare food for Cirque du Soleil in two week’s time.

Also nabbing a captain’s spot was Line, who was able to turn the one stir fry she tried years ago into a winning plate. The girl needs to lay off the shocked look on her face, though, she knows what she’s doing.

At the other end of the scale were Debbie, Kyle and Kwasi. Debbie cut herself early on Sunday night and never recovered, Kyle’s huge chunks of vegetables doomed him, especially when Alvin made a point of telling him that, and Kwasi’s veggie stir fry wasn’t up to snuff. In the end it was Debbie and Kyle who were shown the door.

Notes and quotes

  • There are still some chefs that haven’t gotten the spotlight at all, like Cody, Christopher and Kristen
  • Is it just me, or does the exterior to MasterChef look a lot like the exterior for Hell’s Kitchen?
  • Lifehack! I forgot you can sharpen a knife using the bottom of a ceramic bowl.
  • “Kevin?!” You couldn’t fake the surprise reaction when Kevin heard his name called out.
  • Michael Bonacini once cooked a chicken with the gizzards still in the plastic bag inside of it? There is hope for us all.

MasterChef Canada airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.


Review: MasterChef Canada cooks up its first twist

Unlike some reality cooking shows that spend weeks on naming the Top 25, MasterChef Canada wrapped things up quickly within the first half-hour of Sunday’s new episode and then got rolling on the first Stress Test challenge of the season.

It was a doozy. In a nice twist in the game, judges Alvin, Claudio and Michael told the group of 25 there were only 16 cooking stations available. After a few moments where the nine not awarded a station were sure they were packing up and going home, it was revealed their plates so impressed the judges during auditions that they didn’t need to cook this week.

Did I chuckle to myself when Michael, the villain of the season, had to cook? Absolutely. Did I know the producers made that call so that myself and other viewers would react that way? For sure. Did I know that Michael would get through anyway? That would be an affirmative. The show needs a bad guy, and Michael is it. I also knew that former CFLer Jon would advance; there was simply too much time spent on his backstory for him to be eliminated in Week 2. Well, that and the fact I think the judges were scared he’d tackle them if he was eliminated.

There were also hints as to who would be cut by the end of the night. Inder’s elimination was assured when Michael reminded him the Stress Test had to involve red and white ingredients and the home cook didn’t add any.

The favourite of the week award went to Line, a 45-year-old computer specialist from Moncton. Her story? After joining the military because her family was too poor to pay for her education, she spent 17 years in service until a knee injury caused her to leave. A life of being told she couldn’t succeed, she did just that, wowing the judges with her audition plate of venison and lobster velouté during the Stress Test. She’s definitely one to watch this season.

Notes and quotes

  • I’m glad the wooden packing crate motif is no more now that we’re into the kitchen.
  • “You know that clock there? That clock is your life.” Well spoken, Jon. It’s as if he’s a former professional athlete who learned the gift of the sound bite.
  • Alvin cracks me up every time he yells “NOW!” It looks like he scares himself when he bellows it.
  • Does Line have a chip on her shoulder or is she just tough and feisty?
  • Why did Robert wear ribbons all over his shirt? Was that ever explained?
  • Michael’s steak looked well done, not medium. There was no juice.

MasterChef Canada airs Sundays at 7 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.


MasterChef Canada raises the bar in Season 2

Michael Bonacini is one of those guys who walks out of a movie sequel and shrugs his shoulders, less than impressed. That didn’t happen at the end of filming Season 2 of MasterChef Canada.

“At the end of Season 2, we all felt that this was an incredible showcase of culinary talent and creativity,” he says. The “we” he’s referring to is, of course, his fellow MasterChef Canada judging partners in crime, Claudio Aprile and Alvin Leung, who return this Sunday night after the Super Bowl wraps up on CTV. (In a late play by the network, MasterChef was called up early to replace Spun Out, which was benched after Dave Foley’s co-star, J.P. Manoux, was charged with voyeurism earlier this week.)

“The three of us would be watching in amazement at what was happening in front of us,” Aprile recalls during filming late last year. “We would say to ourselves, ‘Are the viewers going to believe this?!’ The talent is just phenomenal.”

That talent is showcased early on in Sunday’s return which begins the task of cutting the Top 50 down to a more manageable Top 16 on the way to awarding one home chef the title and $100,000. Sabrina, a 26-year-old office manager from Montreal, skipped her sister’s destination wedding to offer the judges her mushroom ravioli; former CFL Grey Cup champion John grills up a thick steak in a bid to garner a white apron; and 28-year-old Kristal jetted from Gander, Nfld., to deliver her stuffed pork tenderloin to the trio. It doesn’t take long for a few notable finalists to gain attention either. Michael could easily be the villain of Season 2 thanks to his overconfident, cocky attitude while Tammy, a 41-year-old mother of six might be the darling because of her inspiring story of loss and rebirth.

A common theme through Sunday’s instalment are competitors literally putting their lives on hold to compete on MasterChef Canada. Auditioners who quit jobs, held off on advancing their schooling and tales of dreams unfulfilled not only inspired but freaked me out. Quitting a job on the off-chance you might win? That’s bold. And it won’t be easy. Bonacini promises this go-round of episodes boasts tougher, challenges both in-studio and off-site.

“The off-site challenges are huge, outside the degree of difficulty,” he hints. “There are new, creative, big challenges. We had to continue to raise the bar and we did that.”

After all, it is a sequel and it can’t be boring.

MasterChef Canada airs Sunday night immediately following the Super Bowl on CTV. The series resumes its regular Sunday timeslot at 7 p.m. ET beginning Feb. 8.