You Gotta Eat Here! On Delicious Food Trends You Gotta Try

The fourth season of You Gotta Eat Here! kicks off tonight with even more amazing comfort food stops across Canada. In this latest season, host John Catucci  explores more places south of the border.

We visited John on set at San Remo Bakery in Etobicoke, Ontario, and he named four hot food trends he’s noticing right now.The-Jammery---Edit-IMG_3558
John Catucci, with a pretty excited fan, in an upcoming episode in the new fourth season of You Gotta Eat Here!

Trend #1: Doughnuts are the new cupcakes.
We’ve also noticed that gourmet doughnut shops have been popping up a lot across Canada. These aren’t your regular Timmy doughnuts. Doughnuts are now getting the artisanal treatment, being made from scratch and with the finest ingredients.
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Image courtesy of Von Doughnuts.

You’ll see Von Doughnuts, a doughnut shop that makes their doughnuts from scratch all day, every day, in an upcoming episode this season.

Trend #2: Pies are bigger than cakes.
John is pretty happy about this trend as he loves a good apple or strawberry rhubarb pie. But it’s not just sweet pies that are trending. Savoury pies are having their moment, too. What’s not to love about something delicious wrapped in a flaky, buttery pastry? Nothing.

This season’s You Gotta Eat Here! travels to Salmon Arm, BC to visit Shuswap Pie Company, a small and darling pie shop that serves hot coffee and lots o’pie made from scratch.
Shuswap Pie Company-YGEH
Mouth-watering pies left to right from Shuswap Pie Company : Blueberry Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, Pecan Pie. 

Trend #3:  Everything is made from scratch.
It’s not enough that your delicious meal is cooked to order. Chefs are making sure that all the components of your dish are made from scratch. From the cinnamon rolls used to make a country French toast breakfast, to the in-house cured bacon accompanying it, that’s exactly what you’l find at Emma’s Country Kitchen, a homey breakfast and lunch joint featured in this season of YGEH!

John also mentioned eating at a restaurant that baked their own bread, cured their own deli meats and made all their condiments. “You could definitely feel and taste it in the final product,” he added. Now that’s taking homemade to the delicious extreme.

Emma's Country kitchen

Made from scratch — baked breakfast treats and country French toast from Emma’s Country Kitchen. 

Trend #4: Bacon is still very big.
We’re not surprised at all that bacon is still holding strong. John may personally have something to do with that. He told us if he had to open his own restaurant, “it would just be bacon.” When asked to elaborate, he replied: “It’s a little place. The bacon is cooked, you come in, you get a couple of slices of bacon and you walk out. Simple as that. Just straight up bacon.” The man loves his bacon. Enough said.

Find the restaurants featured on You Gotta Eat Here! by using our restaurant location tool.
Check out our episode guide
to find out more about upcoming episodes in the new season.

Catch new episodes of You Gotta Eat Here! Fridays at 9 ET/ 6 PT.

Easy Hot and Sour Soup with Shanghai Noodles

Crunchy wood ear, soft tofu cubes, silky egg ribbons, tangy vinegar, and an umami-laden chili broth makes the classic hot and sour soup a delicious bowl of bold flavours and textures that are surprisingly easy to throw together. If you’re celebrating Chinese New Year, you’re going to want to start the feast with this appetizer, or do what I did and throw in fresh Shanghai noodles to soak up the delicious soup and make it into a main.

While hot and sour soup was never much of a fixture at our family’s Chinese New Year’s dinners (a good chunk of my family can’t even handle the spice of black pepper), my mom and resident Chinese-cooking expert Uncle Simon gave me some tips when I was developing this recipe. For them, the key is using “toban jan”, a fermented paste made of chilies and beans used throughout in Sichuan cooking. This is what’s going to give you that deep reddish-brown colour and that signature spicy umami kick. You can find this in the Asian aisle at the supermarket and it goes wonderfully with tofu, chicken, stir-frys, and on top of rice and noodle dishes. Think of it as Chinese sriracha.

For the sour component, I was advised by both of them to use ketchup. I love them both (especially if they’re reading this post) but I substituted the ketchup with a sharper, less sugary rice vinegar that turned out quite well. If any readers decide to listen to my mom and use ketchup, please tweet me @karonliu and let me know how it goes. A tip I did use was cooking the noodles separately in water rather than in the soup. This is because the noodles have a light coating of flour, which would leave a chalky taste in the broth.

One final note: wood ear mushrooms are sold dried at the Chinese grocer and need to be soaked in boiling water for 30 minutes before they’re ready to be eaten. Shimeji mushrooms can be found fresh at the Asian grocer (along with the Shanghai noodles), but if you can’t find them use another slightly chewy mushroom like enoki or shiitake.

Hot and Sour soup recipe Food Network Canada

Ingredients:

For the soup base
1 litre no salt-added chicken broth
3 tablespoons Chinese chili-bean paste (the anglicized name is “toban djan”)
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

For the pork
1/2 pound pork loin, sliced into long and thin strips (about a cup)
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

For the toppings
4 wood ear mushrooms
2 ounces shimeji mushrooms (about a cup)
1 cup firm tofu, cut into cubes
1 large egg
4 ounces fresh Shanghai noodles (about 1/4 package)
Chopped green onions for garnish

Directions:

    1. If your wood ear mushrooms are dehydrated, reconstitute them by soaking them for 30 minutes in boiling water. Do this ahead of time, or even the day before. Store the hydrated mushrooms on a plate with a damp paper towel draped on top.
    2. In a medium-sized soup pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
    3. In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the pork together (meat, soy sauces, sugar, cornstarch, and ginger) in a bowl. Set aside and let marinate for five minutes.
    4. In a slightly oiled pan, sear the marinated pork until it starts to brown, about one or two minutes. Set aside.
    5. When the broth is boiling, add the chili paste and vinegar. Stir until the paste has completely dissolved. Chop the wood ear mushrooms into smaller slices and add them to the pot along with the simeji mushrooms. Stir and add in the cornstarch to thicken the soup. Bring to a boil and add the tofu and pork. Whisk the eggs together and add them to the boiling soup very slowly in a thin stream. Keep the soup to a simmer.
    6. Bring a fresh pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles until they are al dente, about two to three minutes. Drain and set aside.
    7. To plate, pour 3/4 of the soup into a large bowl. Pile the cooked Shanghai noodles high on top in the centre, and then ladle the rest of the soup around the noodles. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately. Serves two as an appetizer, or one as a main dish.

734863_10151322355189438_2070375187_n Karon Liu is a freelance food writer based in Toronto who is slightly lactose intolerant but will otherwise eat and cook anything.

1 Dish, 2 Meals: Souvlaki-Style Pork Tenderloin

A lean cut of meat that’s versatile and easy to master, this pork souvlaki-fied tenderloin is spiked with garlic, lemon and oregano to mimic all the flavours that help make the Greek staple so scrumptious.

Just in time for the Super Bowl, I’ve got a healthier twist on the ultimate viewing party snack that will have you rethinking your entire nacho game. Big, juicy pieces of oven-roasted pork tossed over a bed of toasted pita chips, drizzled with a creamy sauce of feta and yogurt and topped with a Mediterranean garnish of tomatoes, cucumbers and olives. You can also save this one for a whip-together-in-no-time weeknight meal.

On the flip side, add this bright and light warm orzo salad to your roster; it’s dotted with tomatoes, cucumber, olives and feta, and makes quickie side dish for this Greek-style tenderloin.

GreekTenderloin2

Souvlaki-Style Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:
1 medium pork tenderloin
4 Tablespoons olive oil
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and oregano in a large resealable plastic bag. Place tenderloin in the bag and seal. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush marinade off of tenderloin, but do not rinse. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and brown pork on all sides. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until just a hint of pink remains inside, about 10 minutes. Transfer to cutting board, let stand for 5 minutes before slicing.

OrzoSalad

Orzo Salad with Tomatoes, Olives Feta & Roasted Red Peppers

Ingredients:
2 cups orzo, cooked
1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2 roasted red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and adjust seasoning to taste. Mix in cooked orzo and gently stir to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste again.

GreekNachos

Souvlaki-Style Nachos with Garlicky Yogurt Feta Sauce

Ingredients:
3 cups, pita chips
Cooked pork tenderloin, chopped
1/2 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the sauce (Adapted from Mark Bittman):
4 ounces feta cheese
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1 lemon
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Arrange pita chips on a baking sheet and brush or drizzle with a Table-spoon or two of olive oil. Warm for about 5 minutes.
  2. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, olives with olive oil and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine feta, yogurt, 1/4 cup olive oil, mint and zest and juice of lemon; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Blend or process until smooth.
  4. Arrange chips on a serving plate and top with sauce, chopped tenderloin and tomato mixture and serve.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.

Lynn Crawford and Noah Cappe to Host Food Network Canada’s Great Canadian Cookbook

We think Canada is an exceptionally delicious place, with our rich culinary diversity and the amazing ingredients from coast to coast. That’s why we’re going to celebrate Canada and our food – from the cooks at home keeping family traditions alive, to the makers who grow and cultivate Canada’s bounty – with The Great Canadian Cookbook!

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Lynn Crawford is a judge on Chopped Canada, the hit network series airing Saturdays at 9 E/P.

Who better to tell these Canadian stories than chef Lynn Crawford (Chopped Canada, Pitchin’ In) and comedian Noah Cappe (Carnival Eats). They’re heading across Canada, into the communities and homes of Canadians, to cook and eat with the food lovers and heroes we all need to know. The food, people and stories they encounter on the road will hit the air in a must-see four-part documentary series.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg (lettuce). The Great Canadian Cookbook will have so much more for you to sink your teeth into.  It will be an online community for Canadian food lovers, home cooks – really anyone who loves to eat in Canada.  Canadians will be able to share their recipes and food traditions,  connect and make friends with Canadians who love food as much as they do. The site will also have a great collection of curated recipes, celebrity videos and a library of helpful cooking tips to make you an even better cook.

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Noah Cappe visited the Calgary Stampede in the first season of Carnival Eats. 

The Great Canadian Cookbook website will launch later this year. The documentary series starring Lynn Crawford and Noah Cappe will premiere after the launch of the online community and website. Check back here for more updates on this amazing project. We can’t wait to gather around the kitchen table and swap recipes and share stories with you!

Best in Canada: 8 Tea Cafes to Cozy In This Winter

There has been some 2015 trend talk of tea becoming much more commonplace this year. Both in terms of people opting for more quality or sustainable blends as well as working it into edibles and beverages. If you’re still sipping Red Rose, you should probably know that there’s a whole, wide world of tea out there just waiting for you to discover it.

Here’s a great mix of old school and newer places where you can sit down, steep some tea, sip and discover the spectrum of flavours those little leaves can offer.

1. Silk Road Tea (Victoria, BC)
Silk Road is practically heaven for tea fanatics. With a ton of loose and pre-bagged teas to choose from, a spa program that utilizes various leaves in their treatments, and a nice little bar area where you can grab a stool and order a pot to stay, well, it’s pretty much a teahouse nirvana. Tell the knowledgeable staff what flavours you like and they’ll point you in the right direction.

silk-road-tea

2. Pekoe Tea Cafe (Vancouver, BC)
This is a pretty cool little cafe on West Broadway, just a few blocks away from the South Granville area, a very popular shopping district of Vancouver that’s filled with cool housewares shops and other boutique businesses. Pekoe’s got a long list of teas you can enjoy inside, and also prides themselves on making good quality traditional chai, as well as something a bit less conventional — chocolate chai!

3. Oolong Tea House (Calgary, AB)
Don’t let the name fool you, the long-standing tea house in the Kensington area of Calgary has a lot more to offer than just a few varieties of oolong tea. The cozy room has a nice, relaxing atmosphere if you’re just looking to chill out and don’t be surprised to walk into some live music should you be popping by in the evening.

4. The Tea Factory (Calgary, AB)
The 17th Avenue strip is speckled with various spots where you can get your regular caffeine jolt (i.e. coffee), but walk a block south on 4th St into Mission and you’ll see this “factory”. In it are bright, white walls with marble floors, sweets like cupcakes and macarons, and a surprising amount of seating as far as tea shops go. Whether you’re getting a matcha latte to go or simply some Earl Grey to stay, it’s worth your while to check this place out.

The-Tea-Factory

5. Little Bird Patisserie (Saskatoon, SK)
It’s no secret that Saskatoon gets pretty damn cold in the wintertime. This newer bake shop in the Riversdale area is all about warming you up as fast as possible and that includes good quality teas, freshly baked pastries, homemade soup and sandwiches. If you want to sit and sip here all day long, that is A-OK. It’s -40 outside anyway, why would you want to leave?

Little-Bird-Patisserie

6. Windsor Arms Hotel (Toronto, ON)
Now, this is a place for prim and proper high tea. It’s definitely not the kind of situation you want to stroll into wearing your casual about-town sort of outfit. Try dressing up and getting the real-deal tea experience. High tea is all about the dainty pastries, the teeny sandwiches, the quiet sipping and if you’re really into, putting that pinky up. Although you won’t find an avante garde tea choices here, you get to experience an age old culinary tradition, which once you partake, I think you’ll agree that it’s surprisingly fun!

Windsor-Arms-tea-room

7. Tealish (Toronto, ON)
Aside from stocking almost every possible type of tea even a tea enthusiast could ask for, Toronto’s premier tea shop also boosts a tea latte bar (no coffee to be found here, folks), where tea “barristas” can set you up with lattes made with a myriad of teas like matcha, assam and earl grey also known as a London Fog…obviously.

8. World Tea House (Halifax, NS)
The heart of Halifax can be a little rowdy at night with plenty of bars, pubs and lively eateries to choose from. If you’re wanting something low key during the day or in the early hours of the evening, head to World Tea House where they’ve got shelves and shelves of tin filled with anything from floral Rooibos tea to bold black ones like Irish Breakfast or the smoky Lapsang Souchong.

Dan-Clapson-Avatar Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.

Sweet Eats: Best-Ever Yorkshire Pudding

My British grandmother had a knack for making consistently sky-high Yorkshire puddings. As a child, I remember watching her throw flour, eggs and milk into a bowl, without ever measuring a thing and always revealing the puffiest, most enviable Yorkshire puddings I can remember devouring.

I’ve had varying rates of success with my Yorkshire puddings. So, I decided to test this recipe multiple times so I could get them just right. These are perfect alongside any roast dinner, served with a big bowl of chili or even smothered in jam or nutella!

Yorkshire Pudding recipe

Best-Ever Yorkshire Puddings

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
¼ cup cold water
2 teaspoons hot English mustard or Dijon (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Yorkshire pudding recipe

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Mix in the salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Create a well in the flour and add the eggs, milk, cold water and mustard. Mix well. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. If there are lumps strain through a fine sieve into a jug for pouring. The consistency should be like whipping cream, if it is too thick, pour in a bit more milk.
  3. Divide the vegetable oil between a 12-tin muffin tray and place in the preheated oven for at least 5 minutes. It is really important that the oil is sizzling hot, almost smoking.
  4. Working quickly, pull the tin out of the oven and fill the muffin holes ¾ full of batter. If you want giant yorkies, fill them right to the top (you’ll just have less). Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. The puds should be golden brown and crispy. If they’re not crispy, they will sink as soon as they come out of the oven.

SONY DSCMiranda Keyes is a freelance food stylist, recipe developer and writer who used to live in London, UK but moved back to Canada for nanaimo bars, maple syrup and poutine. To learn more about her, follow her on Instagram @littlemirandapiggy and Twitter @mirandaak.

Guilty Kitchen: Breakfast-for-Dinner Savoury Waffles

savoury-waffles-recipe-image

Breakfast for dinner is probably one of my most favourite ways to make dinner in a hurry. What’s faster than frying some eggs, bacon or sausages and whipping up some delicious waffles in less than 10 minutes? I kid you not, these savoury waffles take even the most amateur of cooks less than 20 minutes to make, and that’s if you are having a tough time concentrating on the task at hand.

So the next time you are in a rush to make dinner, say, because of an after school event/sport for your kids? Or even just because you don’t want to pull out all the stops for a weeknight dinner. Or maybe even because it’s freakin’ CHEAP to make breakfast for dinner (!) and you won’t be sorry you chose these savoury waffles as your first foray into this delicious underworld of meal crossovers. Next thing you know, you’ll be brunching….oooooo, fancy.

Savoury Waffles
Makes 4 waffles

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

savoury-waffles-recipe

Ingredients:

2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup blue or yellow medium ground cornmeal
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup kéfir (buttermilk works too)
1 tablespoon melted butter
oil for greasing your waffle iron

Directions:

  1. Preheat your waffle iron. In a small bowl, blend together the dry ingredients.
  2. In a separate bowl whisk the egg, then add the kéfir or buttermilk and the melted butter and whisk again until thoroughly blended.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine.
  4. Spray your waffle iron with oil and spoon out the batter evenly. Follow your waffle iron manufacturers instructions for cooking.
  5. Serve with fried eggs, bacon, sausage, sour cream, chives or whatever the hell you want!

Elizabeth-Nyland-0012-2 Elizabeth Nyland, author behind “Cooking with Coconut Oil: Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Recipes for Good Living” and “Cooking with Avocados: Delicious Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal” is also a mother of two and is the blogger behind guiltykitchen.com, a food, fitness and health blog that’s been going strong since 2009. You can find Elizabeth in her home gym lifting heavy things, in her kitchen cooking up new recipes or at the bakery down the street attempting to uncover the world’s best doughnut.

Elizabeth Nyland is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network  family.

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1 Dish, 2 Meals: Mixed Mushrooms with Caramelized Shallots and Spinach

If the thought of king oyster mushrooms, shallots and spinach sizzling in butter whets your palate, then follow me to your future dinner options, involving quick, meatless weeknight meals.

Thanks to a few store-bought helpers and a bright, no-fuss side of lemony greens, these quick-cooking vegetables make a gorgeous meal that tastes just as good the next day.

Butter Sautéed Oyster and Cremini Mushrooms with Caramelized Shallots and Spinach

Sauteed-mushrooms-with-shallots-and-spinach.jpg

Ingredients:

3 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced
3 king oyster mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
6 to 8 large cremini mushrooms
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons, olive oil
1 tablespoon, butter
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook until caramelized and soft, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Fold in baby spinach, add salt and pepper.

Mixed Mushroom Tart with Caramelized Shallots and Goat Cheese

mushroom-tart-with-spinach-shallots-goat-cheese

Ingredients:

1 sheet, frozen butter puff pastry
3 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced
3 king oyster mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
6 to 8 large cremini mushrooms
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons soft goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons, olive oil
1 tablespoon, butter
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper

For the egg wash:
1 egg, whisked
1/2 tablespoon milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Roll out thawed puff pastry and place on a baking sheet. Fold over about 1/4-inch to form a border and brush the edges with the egg mixture. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook until caramelized and soft, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Fold in baby spinach, add salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Top the pastry with the shallot/mushroom mixture and drop the goat cheese on top. Bake for another 10 minutes.

For the Salad:

Baby salad greens
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the salad greens in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour enough dressing on the salad to moisten. Toss and serve.

Mixed Mushroom Quiche with Caramelized Shallots and Goat Cheese

Mushroom-spinach-shallots-quiche-recipe

Ingredients:

1 pre-made pie crust
3 large shallots, halved and thinly sliced
3 king oyster mushrooms, halved and thinly sliced
6 to 8 large cremini mushrooms
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons soft goat cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons, olive oil
1 tablespoon, butter
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper

4 large eggs
2/3 cup half and half
1/3 cup whole milk
Coarse salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the egg wash:
1 egg, whisked
1/2 tbsp milk

Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush pie crust with egg mixture and bake until light golden brown, about 13 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
    2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add shallots and cook until caramelized and soft, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Fold in baby spinach, add salt and pepper. Set aside.
    3. Whisk eggs, half and half, salt, pepper and nutmeg in large bowl to whisk. Stir sautéed mushroom/shallot mixture and goat cheese and pour the filling into the crust.
    4. Bake quiche until puffed, golden brown, and just set in the centre, about 40 minutes. Cool and cut into wedges.

For the Salad:

Baby salad greens
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Place the salad greens in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour enough dressing on the salad to moisten. Toss and serve.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.

Kids Baking Championship, Duff Till Dawn, You Gotta Eat Here! and More Premiere This Winter

We’re not done rolling out crave-able new shows this winter! We have exciting new series premiering early February and a comfort food favourite returning for its fourth season late January.

Kids these days, am I right? They just want to get in the kitchen and bake, bake, bake.
KBC-Group-Laughing
From the kids’ reactions you can tell that this is a very serious baking competition. 

In Kids Baking Championship, eight tiny and talented bakers, accomplished in making delectable sweets by the time they could reach the kitchen counter, are mixing and baking their way to a brag-worthy grand prize of $10,000. Hosted by TV star and cookbook author Valerie Bertinelli (I remember her from One Day at A Time!) and Duff Goldman, of Donut Showdown and Ace of Cakes, this four-part series will be a sweet and thrilling ride for all ages.

Find out more about all eight baking prodigies in our photo gallery here.

Kids Baking Championship premieres February 8th at 9 E/P.

KBC-Duff-Goldman-Valerie-Bertinelli
Judges and hosts Valerie Bertinelli and Duff Goldman are having a lot of fun with the kids on Kids Baking Championship.

John Catucci and You Gotta Eat Here! are back with a new season of mouth-watering comfort food from amazing restaurants, diners and joints from Vancouver to Halifax with tons of stops in between, with more legendary joints from below the 49th parallel.

Via-Mercanti-YGEH
John isn’t shy about diving in and “helping out” in the kitchen. He visits Toronto’s Pizzeria Via Mercanti in the season four premiere. 

Put on your favourite plaid shirt and watch the season premiere of You Gotta Eat Here! on  January 30th at 9 ET/6 PT.
Bookmark the show website to find recipes of featured dishes and location info of all the restaurants featured on You Gotta Eat Here!

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If John Catucci comes to your restaurant, you gotta wear plaid. John is pictured with Dustin Therrien, one of the owners of Ottawa’s The Cheshire Cat pub featured in the season premiere.

 

Duff-Till-Dawn

When the day is done and the bakery closes, Duff Goldman wants to see what the best of the best in cake decorators can create in his new underground baking competition, Duff Till Dawn. You won’t see sweetly prim tea party cakes on this show. Two teams are tested with twists and challenges to create the most over-the-top cake that tastes as amazing as it looks.  A rotating panel of judges, including celebs Haylie Duff, Carrie Keagan and Kevin Smith and Ace of Cakes alums Elean Fox and Geof Manthorne, crown the winner before the sun comes up.

Duff Till Dawn premieres February 4th at 9:30 ET/6:30 PT.

And if that’s not enough, we have more!

Ted-Allen-Best-Ever

Best.Ever. is exactly what it sounds like – a show about the best ever comfort food and where to find them. Hosted by Chopped‘s Ted Allen, this four-part series covers the best burgers, barbecue, breakfast and pizza in the States and has guest appearances of Food Network stars, chefs and foodies sharing their thoughts on their best ever eats.

Best.Ever premieres February 8th at 8 ET/ 5 PT.

 

For our full network schedule, visit our schedule page here. 

How to Make Perfect Crispy Bacon… Every Time

To be honest, I was totally skeptical when I heard about this method of cooking bacon. The thought of adding water to my favourite breakfast item conjured images of soggy (read: boiled), sad strips of rubbery bacon. Basically, blasphemy in the bacon-lover’s world.

But upon learning that the geniuses behind this awesome trick is America’s Test Kitchen — who produce amazing, no-fail recipes — well, I quickly became a believer.

And soon you will too! Watch the trick being demonstrated in this video.

Vegan Greek Salad with Mushroom Souvlaki

Just because you’re going meatless today doesn’t mean you won’t be satisfied. This recipe is Greek-inspired but instead of the traditional lamb souvlaki you might normally see in a dish like this, the star of this big salad is a flavourful mushroom walnut “meatless” patty. You could even make great meatballs with this recipe and use them in a simple spaghetti and tomato sauce.

NOTE: This recipe is for 4 servings with the exception of the tofu feta. But the tofu feta is a great thing to keep in the fridge and use for lunches and other dinner ideas.

Vegan-Greek-Salad-with-Mushroom-Souvlaki-vegetarian-Food-Network-Canada-Hot-for-Food-Blog

Tofu Feta Ingredients (make 1 day ahead):

1 x 350g brick extra firm organic tofu
½ cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
½ cup almond milk (or soy milk)
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons sea salt

Directions:

  1. Remove the tofu from the packaging and drain the excess water.
  2. Cut it lengthwise in half, then into strips, and then cut the strips into cubes.
  3. Whisk the remaining ingredients together in a glass storage container that has a fitted lid. Submerge the tofu cubes in the mixture, place the lid on the container and refrigerate it.
  4. It is preferred to marinate the tofu at least overnight as it gives it a stronger flavour, but you could do it as for as short as 3 hours.

Creamy Cucumber Dressing Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/3 cup shredded cucumber
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
½ teaspoon agave nectar (can substitute honey for non-vegans)

Directions:

  1. Make the dressing ahead of the mushroom walnut patties and leave it the fridge until you’re ready to serve the salad.
  2. You can either whisk all these ingredients together until combined or blend them in a blender for a creamier, smoother dressing.

Mushroom Walnut Patties Ingredients (makes 8 patties, 2 per serving):

1 tablespoon ground flax
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms
2 teaspoons coconut or grapeseed oil (for frying)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 cup raw walnuts
½ cup all-purpose or whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons tamari (or soy sauce)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon sage
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1-3 tablespoons coconut or grapeseed oil (for cooking the patties)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together ground flax and water. Place it in the fridge for 15 minutes to allow it to thicken.
  2. Heat a pan to medium and sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms in 2 teaspoons of oil for approximately 5 minutes. In the last minute of cooking add in fresh thyme.
  3. Put the sautéed mushroom mixture in a food processor along with the thickened flax mixture, walnuts, flour, tamari, tomato paste, parsley, onion powder, cumin, ground mustard, smoked paprika, sage, pepper, and salt. Process the mixture until a smooth pâté-like consistency is formed.
  4. Form 2 ½ wide x ¼” thick patties with the mixture using your hands. You may need to dampen your hands with a little bit of water to keep the mixture from sticking.
  5. You can either bake the patties on a lightly oiled baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes at 375°F and flip them half way through or pan fry them.
  6. To pan fry, heat a large pan to medium heat with 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, place the patties in the pan and fry for 1 to 2 mins a side until golden brown. Don’t overcrowd the patties in the pan. Depending on the size of your pan you may want to only do 2 to 3 at a time. Add more oil to the pan for the next batch.

Greek Salad Ingredients:

8 to 9 cups arugula
1 cup cherry tomatoes
½ cup sliced kalamata olives
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup tofu feta cubes (as per above recipe)

Directions:

  1. Assemble the salads starting with a bed of arugula and add in olives, halved cherry tomatoes, and top with thinly sliced onions.
  2. Place warm mushroom walnut patties on top of the salad.
  3. Crumble tofu feta on top and drizzle with the creamy cucumber dressing.
  4. Garnish with fresh ground pepper and serve immediately.

See more from hot for food on their YouTube channel.

Gratinée’s Seared Lemon-Pepper Beef Carpaccio

This Seared Lemon-Pepper Beef Carpaccio served with a handful of baby arugula and slivers of Pecorino Romano with garlic aioli and slices of toasted Ciabatta bread, literally it took minutes to make.
The one caveat about simple food is that you really do need the best quality ingredients you can find. There is no hiding with elaborate sauces and cooking methods.

You will need a nice chunk of beef tenderloin (fillet). Don’t attempt it with an inferior cut of meat. Make sure you put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before searing; even though the heat will defrost the outside, it will be easier to slice in very thin pieces, which is what you want.

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Ingredients:
(Serves 2)
5-ounce piece of beef tenderloin
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon lemon pepper*
1/2 Tablespoon salt
Handful of rosemary leaves
Pecorino Romano cheese (or Parmesan)
Baby arugula
1 Tablespoon capers

For the aioli:
1 large egg yolk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice, more to taste
Sea salt
Cracked black pepper

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Directions:

  1. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and spread on a clean cutting board to mix with the salt and lemon pepper. Rub the olive oil on the outside of the meat and press into the salt mixture.
  2. Heat a cast iron pan on the stove on maximum heat. Sear the tenderloin on each side for one minute–until just brown; immediately remove from pan and place back onto the cutting board. Holding the meat with tongs, slice very thinly with a sharp chef’s knife and press each piece with the backside of the knife to thin it down further. Arrange on a platter.
  3. To make the aioli, press garlic into the egg yolk with a fork to develop the flavour; add lemon juice, salt and pepper. Whisk a few drops of olive oil into the egg yolk until it starts to thicken and emulsify. Continuing to whisk, start pouring the rest of the oil in a very slow and thin stream until the aioli is completely thickened.
  4. Garnish carpaccio with capers, thinly grated slivers of cheese and a couple handfuls of arugula. Add small dollops of aioli and serve the rest on the side.

* lemon pepper is a seasoning of cracked black peppercorns and granulated lemon zest and can be found where you might buy better qualitiy spices

Darina Kopcok Darina Kopcok is a food writer and photographer based in Vancouver, BC. She writes the blog Gratinée, for which she also develops, styles and shoots each recipe. In addition to photographic training from Langara College, she holds an MFA from the University of British Columbia. She has a passion for Italian cuisine and French culinary technique.

Darina Kopcok is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network  family.

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The Hot Plate’s Tropical Steel Cut Oatmeal

When it’s cold outside, this creamy oatmeal with coconut milk and tropical fruits is warm, comforting and dairy-free!

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Tropical Steel Cut Oatmeal

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup steel cut oats
1 2/3 cups water
1 can coconut milk
Pinch salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (approximately)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup finely chopped pineapple
1/3 cup finely chopped mango
1/3 cup finely chopped banana
1/3 cup finely chopped strawberries
1/4 cup chopped cashews, toasted
1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes

Directions:

  1. Pour water in medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in coconut milk. When mixture comes to a simmer, stir in oats and salt.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender and you like the consistency. Let stand covered, for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon. Divide equally into 4 serving dishes. Toss pineapple with mango, banana and strawberries. Top oatmeal with fruit mixture, cashews and toasted coconut. Serve with additional brown sugar if desired.

Notes:

  • Use your favourite tropical fruits to top the oatmeal: try melon, papaya, kiwi or guava.

amanda riva Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. 

Amanda Riva is part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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Sweet Eats: Easy Carrot Cake Cookies

Carrot cake is one of my all-time favourite cakes. But when you don’t have time to make a whole cake and you’re craving something sweet, whip up these cute carrot cake cookies. This way you can have a much smaller portion but just as much delicious carrot cake flavour.

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If you’re feeling extra ambitious, whip up some cream cheese frosting, and layer between two carrot cake cookies for a more decadent treat. Cookies can even be scooped into balls and frozen so you can pop them out of the freezer and into the oven when you’re craving something sweet!

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Carrot Cake Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

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Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Mix in the vanilla. Beat in the eggs one at a time, until fully combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet and mix until fully combined. Mix in the grated carrots and raisins.
  5. Scoop 2 Tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between each cookie. Bake for 12-14 minutes.

Try Anna Olson’s recipe for cream cheese frosting here.

SONY DSC Miranda Keyes is a freelance food stylist, recipe developer and writer who used to live in London, UK but moved back to Canada for nanaimo bars, maple syrup and poutine. To learn more about her, follow her on Instagram @littlemirandapiggy and Twitter @mirandaak.

1 Dish, 2 Meals: Pan Roasted White Miso-Glazed Cod

Resist the lure of takeout with a homemade version of your favourite sushi joint entrée. The rich *marinade of white miso, sugar, soy and sesame oil, soak deep into the flesh of this light and flaky fish, transforming an economical, easy-to-find ingredient into a surprisingly simple weeknight treat.

Here, I made two completely different meals using many of the same ingredients. One; a hearty and elegant offering of nutty purple Thai rice paired with tender, quick-braised baby bok choy and the other; an even lighter meal of mellow white miso soup that cooks up in a snap. The addition of fresh herbs, a squeeze of citrus and hot pepper—and of course, the silky miso cod—elevates this quick, humble soup to superstar levels.

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Pan Roasted White Miso-Glazed Cod
*Marinate the fish the night before or if you’re pressed for time, at least 30 minutes before.

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons mirin
3 Tablespoons sake
1/2 cup white miso paste
1/3 cup sugar
Six 6- to 7-ounce skinless cod fillets, about 1 1/2 inches thick
Vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the mirin and sake to a boil. Whisk in the miso until dissolved, add the sugar and cook over moderate heat, whisking, just until dissolved. Add toasted sesame oil.
  2. Transfer the marinade to a large baking dish and let cool. Add the fish and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight, if you have time.
  3. In a medium non-stick pan, heat vegetable oil. Scrape off majority of marinade from the fish, but don’t rinse. Cook, without disturbing for about 3-4 minutes. Gently flip and cook other side for another 3-4 minutes.

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Mellow White Miso Soup with Cod, Baby Bok Choy, Sriracha and Lime

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons miso paste (to taste)
4 ounces of somen noodles
2 green onions, tops removed thinly sliced
Small handful of cilantro
Baby bok choy, trimmed and halved
Fresh squeezed lime juice, to taste
Sliced Thai chilies (to taste)
Sriracha, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the somen noodles in salted water and drain. Run cold water over the noodles to stop them from cooking, shake off any excess water and set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pan bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and remove from heat. Pour some of the hot water into a small bowl and whisk in the miso paste to avoid clumping. Stir this back into the pot. Adjust amount of miso to your own liking.
  3. Add bok choy and simmer until tender.
  4. Divide noodles between 3 or 4 bowls, and pour the miso broth and bok choy over them. Add cooked miso cod, green onions, cilantro, Sriracha, lime and chilies to taste.

White Miso-Glazed Cod with Purple Rice and Braised Baby Bok Choy

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Braised Baby Bok Choy

Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
6 pieces of baby bok choy, trimmed, and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
3 Tablespoons soy sauce

For Purple Rice
*Cook rice according to package directions. Feel free to substitute chicken or vegetable broth instead of water and add a knob of ginger to add more flavour.

Directions:

  1. Cook dice according to package directions.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add bok choy and cook, turning once, until just beginning to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add stock and soy sauce. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer until bok choy is tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer bok choy to a serving platter, reserving cooking liquid in skillet.
  3. Cook liquid over medium-high heat until it is reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Arrange rice, miso cod and braised bok choy on a plate, and drizzle leftover braising liquid over rice, if desired.

BonnieMo Bonnie Mo is a Toronto-based editor and the face behind Food Network Canada’s Food Fetish column. She’s also a contributing editor over at slice.ca.

BS’ in the Kitchen’s Banh Mi Sandwich

I was little frightened when my room-mate Nathan told me I was going to be in charge of cooking something for “Ethnic Potluck 2014?, a potluck with all the kitchen staff from Ayden Kitchen & Bar. Naturally it’s a little intimidating cooking with chefs of that level, and knowing I had to make a dish from another country didn’t help! Fortunately I got Vietnam, which I felt was one of the less intimidating submissions amongst places such as Peru, Croatia, Morocco, & more. After doing some research, given my love of sandwiches, I knew the Banh Mi was the way to go!

Banh Mi Sandwich

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 10-15

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Ingredients:

BBQ Pork
1.5 kilograms pork shoulder (thinly sliced)
1/2 cup lemon grass (finely minced)
4 Kaffir lime leaves (finely chopped)
5 cloves garlic (minced)
2 large shallots (minced)
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon pepper
2 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

Do Chua (Pickled Vegetables)
1 large carrot
1 large daikon radish
4 cups warm water
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons salt
6 Tablespoons rice vinegar

Banh Mi Sandwich
2 large baguettes (about 2 feet long)
Butter
Japanese mayonnaise
150 grams of head cheese
200 grams pork liver pate
Fresh ground pepper
1 Cucumber (sliced lengthwise ¼ inch thick)
1 jalapeno
1 bunch of cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Grated ginger

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Directions:

  1. To make your pork shoulder easier to slice, put it in the freezer for about 30-45 minutes, then remove it and cut it into thin strips.
  2. In a large sealable bowl or bag, combine pork and other ingredients, mix, and marinate for 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  3. Cut your carrot and daikon into skinny strips about 3-4 inches long.
  4. Add salt, sugar and rice vinegar to warm water and stir until dissolved, then add vegetables and let pickle for up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
  5. Once everything has been marinated and pickled, dump the Do Chua in a strainer to allow all the pickling liquid to drain. While Do Chua is draining, cook the pork on the barbecue on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until cooked through. If pork is too thin for the barbecue grill, you can either skewer the pieces, or cook on a grate fine enough so the pork doesn’t fall through.
  6. If you don’t have a barbecue, spread pork out on a pan and broil on high until cooked through.
  7. Once pork is done, squeeze juice of half a lime, and grate fresh ginger on top, then let it rest.
  8. While the pork rests, slice the baguettes in half, spread with butter and broil in oven until lightly toasted.
  9. Once baguette is toasted, spread a generous amount of Japanese mayonnaise on both halves of the baguettes.
  10. Spread 100 grams of pork liver pate on the bottom slice of each baguette, grind fresh pepper on the pate if it’s not very peppery.
  11. Place a generous amount of cilantro on the baguette (lots of cilantro is important)!
  12. Place enough cucumber to cover the sandwich (I used two long slices per baguette).
  13. Follow up with a generous amount of Do Chua.
  14. Place the BBQ pork on next, then the head cheese, and finish with jalapenos to taste (I ended up doing one with no jalapenos) and your top slice of baguette.
  15. Slice in to individual portions and enjoy!

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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Chopped Canada Judges Reveal Their Thoughts on Season Two

Chopped Canada’s season two premiere is just one day away! Tune in on Saturday, January 10th at 9 e/p to watch Michael Smith, Anne Yarymowich and Eden Grinshpan dish out culinary judgement in the season’s premiere episode.  What do they and their fellow judges think about the show, the competing chefs and the new season? Food Network Canada (FNC) visited the set last year to chat with all the judges. Here’s what our panel of celebrity chef judges had to say.

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Lynn Crawford joking around with fellow judge, Antonio Park, who is new this season, while returning judge John Higgins looks on.

FNC: What should the fans look forward to in the new season?
Lynn Crawford: Chopped Canada really focuses on Canadian ingredients. I’m really proud of and really thrilled to see what these Canadian chefs are doing with local Canadian products. There’s a lot to cook with that I can’t get into any details (no spoilers!) but I don’t know who’s behind those basket combinations. They’re brilliant!

Anne Yarymowich: It’s exciting as ever. There’s a lot of suspense on the show. What I really enjoy about the show is the basket. When we see some of those ingredients come out of the basket, we’re just like omg. What are they going to do with that? What’s incredible, surprising and exciting is that the chefs pull stuff out of their imagination and do stuff with the ingredients that I think ‘I don’t think I could have done that’. It’s so fun.  What the culinary team does here, they put together a great pantry, an incredible basket, they keep it exciting, they keep it fresh. The quality of the ingredients are so good. We know that all of the stuff in the pantry and in the baskets is top notch. I really love that. 

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Michael Smith goofing around with fellow judges Anne Yarymowich and Eden Grinshpan during the shoot for the season’s premiere episode. 

FNC: What were some things you found surprising being on Chopped Canada?
Antonio Park: The secret basket ingredients! It’s like holy s@#%! Sometimes I look at those basket ingredients and I’m shocked. There’s certain items that you can actually use for an entree or an appetizer but not for desserts. But apart from being shocking, it makes me realize that you don’t have to see the ingredients as they are.  You have to think of it in a different way. Let’s say you’re getting a cheesecake you can use it as a cheesy component to your dish or a sweet component.  So, that’s a challenge and that’s why you win ten thousand dollars at the end of the day.

FNC:  What does a competing chef need to win?
John Higgins: You have to think on your feet, be competitive and be creative. But taste is king even for the queen as I keep saying on the show. It’s all about the taste. Sometimes it doesn’t look good but it can taste good. Visual is very important but I think taste is the most important thing, the most memorable for me.

Michael Smith:  The key to winning Chopped Canada is to stay in the moment.  To overcome the fear, to overcome the pressure,  all of which are self-caused.  And to just stay in the moment. It’s so easy to look back with 20/20 hindsight and say I would have done this or I woudl have done that.  But you don’t need 20/20 hindsight to take a deep breath. Open the basket, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts and just cook.

Roger Mooking: You have to utilize the basket ingredients. In my mind, some of the judges like to see and make sure that every basket ingredient is incredibly transformed. In my opinion, as long as the chefs take the ingredient and make a dish that’s cohesive, makes sense and is delicious. [For example], if they just take a hemp heart and put it on the plate and that was the best application for that dish, to me they have done their job.

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Judges Massimo Capra, John Higgins and Michael Smith take a break from the intensity on the Chopped Canada set. 

FNC: What makes you excited to be a judge on Chopped Canada?
Massimo Capra: I get to see other people in a really tight position. It’s nice to see other chefs from all over the country and see how they handle being put on the spot. We get put on the spot all the time in our restaurants every night. A show like this can really give you an idea of how good the chef is and where his mind is at.

FNC: Have you given any of the new judges any advice?
Susur Lee: No. I don’t give them any advice I just say, “Wow, you’re amazing!” They are very good expressing their thoughts about the food. There’s good energy.We have fun and we respect each other. I’m enjoying working with colleagues who are experienced and know what they’re talking about.

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Judges Susur Lee and Roger Mooking share a laugh while manning the chopping block. 

FNC: Did any of the judges returning from the first season give you any advice?
Eden Grinshpan: Absolutely.  My first day I worked with Chef Michael and Chef Anne. Both super smart, extremely talented chefs. They said to me: really pay attention to understand where these chefs are coming from, understand what techniques and what is motivating them.  Pay attention to every little detail.  Those details really make that chef shine. And just be as honest as you possibly can.  Everything in the end is all positive feedback. It’s not that the chef isn’t good, it’s just that they can do this to take them to the next level.

We’ll hear more from the judges throughout the entire second season. Check back each week for exclusive articles, photos and more on what these celebrity chefs shared with us.