Tag Archives: Top Chef Canada

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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Top Chef Canada returns for its ninth season on April 19

From a media release:

Top Chef Canada, the #2 program on Food Network Canada last spring and growing significantly year over year*, makes its triumphant return April 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada. The ninth season welcomes 11 fearless professional chefs from across the country, each bringing an unbelievable range of culinary styles, technical skill, and diverse breadth of flavours. This season’s competitors have their sights set on earning the title of Canada’s Top Chef, along with a cash prize of $100,000 provided by Interac Corp. and a luxurious Lexus RX Hybrid Electric SUV.

In the past year, the hospitality industry has faced adversity, forcing businesses to adapt and innovate quicker than ever before. This year’s competitors emerge with strong, fresh perspectives, and this incomparable season confronts and rises above the obstacles. The chefs contend with the pressure of the competition while facing weekly challenges featuring plant-based cuisine, celebrating local and seasonal ingredients, and a new twist on long-standing Top Chef Canada challenge Restaurant Wars, pivoting to Takeout Wars.

This season introduces a roster of new culinary voices with diverse backgrounds, all possessing a shared fiery passion for food. The professional chefs set to compete for the title of Canada’s Top Chef are:

Galasa Aden, 27 (Calgary, Alta.)
Andrea Alridge, 30 (Vancouver, B.C.)
Emily Butcher, 30 (Winnipeg, Man.)
Aicia Colacci, 40 (Montreal, Que.)
Siobhan Detkavich, 21 (Kelowna, B.C.)
Jae-Anthony Dougan, 34 (Ottawa, Ont.)
Alex Edmonson, 28 (Calgary, Alta.)
Erica Karbelnik, 30 (Toronto, Ont.)
Josh Karbelnik, 30 (Toronto, Ont.)
Stéphane Levac, 41 (Kentville, N.S.)
Kym Nguyen, 34 (Vancouver, B.C.)

Visit foodnetwork.ca/shows/top-chef-canada for full biographies and exclusive cast videos.

In order to cook another week in the competition, the chefs must impress the revered Top Chef Canada judging panel comprised of chef, cookbook author and host Eden Grinshpan, chef and owner of The McEwan Group, head judge Mark McEwan, and resident judges: powerhouse restaurateur Janet Zuccarini, food writer and personality Mijune Pak and renowned food journalist and critic Chris Nuttall-Smith.

During this season’s high-adrenaline Quickfire and Elimination Challenges, culinary personalities and Canadian icons joining the Top Chef Canada judging panel are: entrepreneur, chef and owner of Impasto, Stefano Faita; media personality and host of STROMBO Radio on Apple Music Hits, George Stroumboulopoulos; chef and owner of Kamuy, Paul Toussaint; Grand Slam Tennis Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, Daniel Nestor; chef, author and social advocate Suzanne Barr; chefs and owners of Pai Northern Thai Kitchen and Kiin, Nuit Regular and Jeff Regular; chef and owner of Feast Café Bistro, Christa Bruneau-Guenther and many more.

Top Chef Canada is the homegrown version of the hit Emmy® Award-winning NBCUniversal Series Top Chef and is produced by Insight Productions Ltd. in association with Food Network Canada. Executive Producers are John Brunton and Mark Lysakowski, and Executive Producer and Showrunner is Eric Abboud.

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Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada returns with a never-seen-before twist

From a media release:

Food Network Canada’s #1 series last spring*, Top Chef Canada, returns with the nation’s best and brightest professional chefs as they prepare to enter the toughest culinary competition in the country starting Monday, April 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Representing the coming of age in the Canadian culinary scene, 11 chefs enter the competition and are introduced to a brand-new twist that sees three talented chef contenders compete against each other in order to earn the coveted 12th spot in the competition.

Prepared to impress the judges, each chef must spark the taste buds of Top Chef Canada’s expert panel of judges comprised of chef, restaurant co-owner and host, Eden Grinshpan, owner of The McEwan Group, head judge chef Mark McEwan and resident judges: powerhouse restaurateur Janet Zuccarini, writer and international food personality Mijune Pak and renowned food journalist and critic Chris Nuttall-Smith. This season the chefs will compete for the prestigious title of Canada’s Top Chef and the grand prize of $100,000 provided by Interac Corp., a design-inspired Café kitchen, a culinary tour of Italy for two from Air Transat and $5,000 worth of Cuisinart® products.

Following a nation-wide search, this season’s competitors represent Canada’s culinary scene from coast to coast and beyond including Dartmouth, N.S., Quebec City, Que., Tofino, B.C., Toronto, Ont., Vancouver, B.C., and more. The 11 competitors confirmed to compete for the title of Canada’s Top Chef are:

  • Tania Ganassini, 31 – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
  • Takeshi Horinoue, 37 – Montreal, Que.
  • Hayden Johnston, 29 – Toronto, Ont.
  • Sebastien Laframboise, 31 – Quebec City, Que.
  • Renée Lavallée, 43 – Dartmouth, N.S.
  • Paul Moran, 31 – Tofino, B.C.
  • Dennis Peckham, 41 – Port Moody, B.C.
  • Phillip Scarfone, 33 – Vancouver, B.C.
  • Erin Smith, 32 – Toronto, Ont.
  • Max Straczek, 32 – Vancouver, B.C.
  • Wallace Wong, 27 – Toronto, Ont.

In a never-seen-before twist, the three talented chef contenders set to compete for the final spot in the competition are:

  • Alexei Boldireff, 25 – Edmonton, Alta.
  • Benet Hunt, 28 – Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Paul Kim, 33 – Toronto, Ont.

This season’s Quickfire and Elimination Challenges will test the chefs’ culinary chops and demonstrate their creativity. Each week their dishes will be served to the esteemed Top Chef Canada judging panel, who will be joined by culinary masters and noted food lovers as guest judges. Some of the celebrated culinary personalities from Canada and abroad include Emma Bengtsson (Executive Chef, Aquavit, New York City, N.Y.), Richard Blais (Top Chef: All Stars winner, Owner Juniper & Ivy, San Diego, Calif.), Craig Harding (Chef and Owner, Campagnolo, La Palma and Constantine, Toronto, Ont.), James Beard award- winning restaurant critic Adam Platt, Rob Rossi (Top Chef Canada, Season 1, Chef and Owner, Giulietta,Toronto, Ont.), Marcus Samuelsson (Owner, Red Rooster, Harlem, N.Y.), and Michael Solomonov (Owner, Zahav, Philadelphia, Pa).

On foodnetwork.ca, viewers can get a sneak peek of this season’s most exhilarating locations, learn about the judges’ best ever bites from the series and get to know some of host Eden Grinshpan’s most uniquely lovable “Eden-isms.” Plus, learn more about the competitors and get their restaurant recommendations from across the country. Week-to-week, recaps will be available online highlighting the best and most shocking moments from the season. Fans can also watch full episodes online after broadcast at foodnetwork.ca/topchefcanada and On Demand with participating providers.

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

Top Chef Canada: Eden Grinshpan previews Season 6’s culinary combat

Eden Grinshpan’s secret to scoring Top Chef Canada leftovers is pretty darned simple. She writes her name on the food she wants to save for later. And, she’s had plenty of worthy dishes to set aside thanks to this year’s crop of competitors.

“Mark McEwan has been doing this for six seasons and he thinks that this is the best food he’s ever seen on the show,” Grinshpan says. “I’ll leave it at that. Mark McEwan can’t get over it!”

Returning Sunday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network, Grinshpan returns to host Top Chef Canada alongside head judge McEwan, resident judges Chris Nuttall-Smith, Mijune Pak, Janet Zuccarini and guests like Susur Lee, Rob Feenie, Lynn Crawford and Alexandra Feswick to taste plates prepared by 11 Canadian chefs all gunning for $100,000 and bragging rights.

We spoke to Grinshpan ahead of Sunday’s return to get her take on the competition this season and how she scored one of the best gigs in primetime TV.

Congratulations on your second season of hosting Top Chef Canada.
Eden Grinshpan: Thank you. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this brand. I’ve been a big fan of Top Chef Canada for many years. This year is really great because we have some fresh blood, young chefs who have a lot to prove and are trying to come into their own. It’s amazing to see where they are at and hear their strong culinary voices. This is their chance to showcase who they are as chefs and a lot of the time this can kick-start the next stage in their career. A lot of them are working under some very big names and this gives them the chance to make that big leap and have their own kitchen. I love this season for that reason.

Let’s go back in time. How did you get the hosting gig? Did you audition or did the producers have you in mind?
I was a judge for Chopped Canada and one of the producers actually suggested me because they were looking for a new host. It was kind of like a last-minute audition. I just happened to be in Toronto and they asked me to come in, read a couple of lines and talked. I went in and had a full-on audition and really got along with the executive producers. A couple of months later they sent over a contract and told me they’d love me to be the new host.

Hosting Top Chef Canada is a unique experience. You’re there to introduce guests, the challenges and keep things moving. Was that a learning curve for you?
Definitely. My experience on television has been unscripted, I’m very candid and am very casual on-camera. Top Chef Canada is the most prestigious culinary competition. This is serious. There is a huge title and huge prize. This is another level, so I had to learn some new skills and be able to move the whole competition to the end point. That’s something I had to learn as I went. This season felt more comfortable because I had been through it already and I knew what to expect. I learned a lot and I love that.

Yourself, Mark, Mijune, Janet and Chris all have great chemistry.
We all love each other. Everyone brings something so different to the judging and the show. Chris, obviously, is one of the most intimidating people in the food industry. He just last season revealed what he looks like. That was a big deal. Janet is a powerhouse restaurateur who was nominated for a James Beard Award for best new restaurant. Mark, again, another powerhouse. He is the guy. Mijune has her world experience through her travels and her knowledge of different cuisines. It’s really something all of us can respect in one another and we do. Judging food together has been interesting and amazing.

What can you say about the food you’ve tasted this season?
Mark McEwan has been doing this for six seasons and he thinks that this is the best food he’s ever seen on the show. I’ll leave it at that. Mark McEwan can’t get over it! Every season, it gets next level good. And they always, always surprise us. Not that we’re not expecting amazing, but they are bringing exceptional.

Top Chef Canada airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network.

Images courtesy of Corus Entertainment.

 

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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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