How to Make the Best Homemade Pizza

Saturday nights are made for pizza parties, but instead of doing the same-old delivery it’s a lot more fun to make one yourself. You don’t need a wood-fired oven or pizza stone to make perfectly crispy, chewy pizza at home. A large, square pan is a perfect base for your custom creation and we have a few tips to help get your pizza party started.

sausage and broccoli pizza

Start with the dough
When it comes to making good pizza, it all starts with the dough. Warm water and a teaspoon of honey will help activate the yeast. Pay attention when measuring your flour; it’s important not to use too much or too little so your pizza has the right texture.

Roll with it
Roll out the dough starting at the centre and work your way out. It doesn’t need to be a perfect circle. To transfer your dough onto the pan, use Giada de Laurentis’ genius trick: gently roll the dough around your rolling pin and unroll it right onto your pan. Easy-peasy!

Get saucy
Purée canned tomatoes, salt and basil for a simple and flavourful pizza sauce. No need to pre-cook it — the sauce will finish cooking in the oven. Have fun adding your favourite pizza toppings. Try pan-fried veggies, cooked chicken and fresh herbs.

Say cheese!
So much about pizza is about the melted cheese! Here’s the time to experiment and up your game by using other cheese varieties, such as smoked scamorza, a soft cheese made with both cow and goat’s milk. It’ll add a strong smoky flavour to your homemade pie. Prefer a traditional pizza? Drop fresh mozzarella on top your pie. For more cheesy flavour, grate a bit of Parmesan overtop.

We’ve chosen Giada de Laurentiis’ pizza dough recipe to help bring a little taste of Italy to your kitchen.

giada's pizza dough

1 tsp honey
1 tsp active dry yeast
2-1/4 cups flour, plus more if needed
1 tsp kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

1. Add the honey and yeast to 1 cup warm water. Stir to dissolve. Let the mixture to sit for 3 minutes to make sure the yeast is alive; it should foam and start to bubble.

2. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast mixture and mix on low speed until the mixture starts to come together. Turn the speed up to medium and mix for 8 minutes. The dough should start to pull away from the sides but still remain soft and slightly sticky at the bottom of the bowl. Add 1 extra tablespoon of flour if needed. Coat your hands in a bit of olive oil and form the dough into a ball. Place the dough in a bowl that is coated in olive oil. Cover with a towel and proof the dough in a warm place until it doubles in size, 1 hour.

3. Knock down the dough and cut into 4 equal pieces if making small pizzas or simply reform into a ball if making one larger pizza and proof the dough for an additional 1 hour.

Ingredient Inspiration
Not sure what to put on your pizza? Find all the inspiration you need in these scrumptious recipes.

All Dressed PizzaAll-Dressed G-Style Pizza

Olives, salami, spinach and two types of cheese make this an indulgent pizza pie!

Cheese pizzaQuebecoise Sausage and Cheese Pizza

Try mixing some traditional sausage with soft brie and hard cheeses for a burst of French flavour.

Tomato PizzaBuffalo Mozzarella and Tomato Pizza

Keep it classic with torn basil and buffalo mozzarella.

Pizza BiancaPizza Bianca
Ditch the tomato sauce and make a simple, cheesy pizza with fresh lemon zest and thyme.

10 Restaurants with Celebrity Connections

The restaurant game isn’t an easy one to play; even if you’re a great chef with a great concept, capital can really slow you down. It’s only fitting that celebrities would get involved in the restaurant business every now and then, I mean, if I had the money, I certainly would too. Here are 10 popular food businesses owned by or connected to celebrity actors, musicians, athletes and beyond.

Robert De Niro, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper Partners of Nobu Hospitality

Robert De Niro, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Meir Teper Partners of Nobu Hospitality

Spin (various locations in North America) 

These days, being able to go to a restaurant, eat, drink and play a game (whether that be bowling, pool, board games or otherwise) is pretty common in most major cities. Owner and actress Susan Sarandon, along with her business partners, were a little ahead of the curve with this one. Head to a Spin location in cities like Toronto or Chicago to play a few games of ping pong, grab some drinks and maybe a slider or two.


SPiN Toronto

Tagine (Beverly Hills, CA) 

Canadian heartthrob Ryan Gosling — admit it, he’s pretty dreamy and man crushes are nothing to be ashamed of — partnered up with longtime friends to open up Tagine, a Moroccan-inspired restaurant. Dishes served here highlight big, bold flavours using exotic spices, with a chef’s expert touch. Out of all of the establishments on this list, Gosling’s is easily the most unique.



Wayne Gretzky’s (Toronto, ON) 

It’s not much of a surprise that one of hockey’s most famous athletes has a namesake establishment. Pop in to watch the game and chow down on items like grilled cheese sandwiches, meatloaf or fish and chips. If you’re craving a glass of wine, rest assured that the selection is primarily Gretzky’s own label (also namesake) that’s produced in the Okanagan Valley.

Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, David Furnish and owner of Neuro Diana Jenkins attend Neuro Hosts a Party at Southern Hospitality BBQ

Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, Elton John attend Neuro Hosts a Party at Southern Hospitality BBQ

Nickels Deli and Bar (Québec) 

Peppered around the province of Québec, serving patrons simple food like roast chicken platters, French onion soup and, of course, mile-high Montreal smoked meat sandwiches. Where’s the celebrity endorsement here, you ask? Well, it’s not overly apparent at first glance, but a quick Google search will tell you the Canadian-born multi-platinum songstress Céline Dion is an investor in the Nickels chain.


Nickels Deli and Bar

Nobu (various locations worldwide) 

Acclaimed worldwide, this string of restaurants opened by partners Chef Nobu Matsuhsia and Hollywood A-lister Robert De Niro, can be found in some of the biggest mecas across the globe: London, Milan, New York (that’s where you’ll find the flagship location) and Los Angeles. The menus may vary from location to location, but there’s strong attention to detail in terms of food and drink offerings, as well as interior design.



National Underground (Nashville, TN) 

Located on Broadway, the city’s most famous and buzzing street in the downtown core, this generally jam-packed venue offers live music and a standard pub menu. Owned by singer-songwriter brothers Gavin and Joey DeGraw, the former being the more recognizable name in the music world. Like many of Nashville’s Broadway bars, it wouldn’t be unusual to see an actor from the Nashville television series, or a country artist sitting down for a casual beer and bite with friends.

Rock & Brews (various locations in North America) 

More or less a Kiss-focused version of the Hard Rock Café, this music-themed chain serves up simple food like burgers, flatbreads and nachos, and currently only exists in the United States and Mexico. There are a few rumours buzzing around that a Rock and Brews (or two) may pop up in Canada in the coming months, specifically in Saskatoon as it’s the hometown of Gene Simmons’ wife, Shannon Tweed.


Rock & Brews

Rustic (Geyersville, CA) 

Francis Ford Coppola, director of the iconic film The Godfather, shares his personal host of recipes on the grounds of his winery, where you can enjoy thoughtful farm-to-table cuisine just steps from the rows of grapevines. Plates of pasta, salads built of fresh, local produce and of course a couple glasses of wine are always enjoyable in the California sun.



Southern Hospitality BBQ (New York, NY) 

We’ve seen him sing, dance and act, so being a verified triple threat, it’s safe to assume that Justin Timberlake can do no wrong. This A-lister taps into his Southern roots at this New York restaurant that offers diners everything from deviled eggs to smoked meats, fried chicken and pecan pie.

On a side note, it’s likely not Timberlake himself posting on behalf of the restaurant on social media streams, but at least the eatery has a similar sense of humour to the actor/musician. “We survived the storm, come celebrate with our deep-fried pickles!” said Hospitality in a recent Facebook post.


Southern Hospitality BBQ

Music City Food and Wine Festival (Nashville, TN) 

We know this one isn’t a restaurant, but this large-scale annual food festival in Nashville wouldn’t have come to life without the joint effort of celebrities, Chef Jonathan Waxman and two members of Kings of Leon, Nathan and Caleb Followill. When the festival kicks off again this coming fall, a long list of culinary stars will be cooking up a storm in the lively Southern city, including Marcus Samuelsson and Carla Hall.


Music City Food and Wine Festival

4 Tasty Ways to Use Leftover Tomato Sauce

Take the time to boil and bubble a pot of homemade tomato sauce on Sunday, then reap the delicious benefits all week as you find yourself reaching for that jar of leftovers to deliver an unexpected shot of flavour.

Ricardo's Tomato SauceStart with Ricardo’s 3-Step Tomato Sauce.

Shakshuka with Crumbled Feta

Also known as Eggs in Purgatory, this tomato and egg dish gets a whack of flavour from sautéed onions and red bell peppers stewed in leftover tomato sauce that’s be flavoured with bold cumin and smoked paprika. Simply crack in a few eggs and simmer until set. Serve with a flourish of chopped fresh parsley, crumbled feta and thick wedges of buttered toasted baguette or pita.

Winter Minestrone

Winter Minestrone

Boxed broth combined with a half cup of leftover tomato sauce creates the flavourful base for a super quick, super healthy bowl of belly-warming minestrone. Just mix low sodium beef or vegetable broth and about a cup of your leftover sauce with Giada’s flavour-boosting combination of diced carrot, celery, pancetta, Swiss chard and cannelloni beans and finish with fresh-grated Parmesan.

almond crusted baked eggplant parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

Crispy almond crusted baked eggplant casserole gets doused with your best homemade leftover sauce and a generous lid of gooey melted mozzarella. Eat with a side of pasta for a heartier dish or simply serve with a leafy green salad dressed with vinaigrette to help balance out this indulgent winter dish.

Shrimp and Chorizo Kebabs with Rice

Shrimp and Chorizo Kebabs with Red Rice

Dip your threaded shrimp and chorizo skewers in leftover sauce and then add another splash to make a fast and flavourful rice. This stir-fry like saucy rice dish gets jazzed up thanks to a mash up of red onions, garlic, chili powder and smoked paprika.

Looking for more leftover ideas? We have lots of recipes to help you transform pork tenderloin, meatballs and chicken breast.


Budget-Friendly Lunches Under $5: Week 4

This week, we’re providing some hearty soups as well as dishes that share grocery items; further stretching your dollar. We hope that you continue on this path of saving money and eating homemade food. The benefits on both your health and wallet are worth the small changes in your routine.

Looking for more budget-friendly lunch ideas? Don’t miss our menus from Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.

chicken rice soup

Photo by Maya Visnyei

Monday: Chicken and Rice Soup
This half-homemade soup (it uses a store-bought rotisserie chicken) tastes and looks as if you slaved over the stove for hours.

Tuesday: Avocado Bowl
Grain bowls are not just a food trend. They’re also a smart and easy way to pack your meal with high-nutrition foods. We love how you can use valuable leftovers thus saving you money!


Photo by Maya Visnyei

Wednesday: Apple, Cheese and Bacon Frittata
A frittata is the ultimate in easy and economical meals. Plus, this recipe is packed with cheese so it’s got that going for it too.

black bean yum tum soupThursday: Black Bean Yum Tum Soup
This hearty soup is full of fibre and vitamins. If you don’t want to eat if for the health boost then for sure the cute name and delicious flavours will hook you.

Fancy Tuna Wrap

Photo by Maya Visnyei

Friday: Fancy Tuna Sandwich
I know you’re thinking tuna isn’t fancy but this lovely lunch has a host of veggies including avocado that gives it creamy flavour and carrots for a snap of sweetness.

Grocery List Ingredients

1 can black beans
2 onions
5 carrots
1 bunch celery
1 bunch of fresh dill
2 sweet potato
1 apple
1 head of garlic
1 red onion
4 cup kale
1 bunch handful cilantro
2 avocados
6 grape tomatoes
cherry tomatoes
sunflower sprouts
pea sprouts
sliced almonds
1 lemon
1 bag of frozen corn
1 rotisserie chicken
4 strips bacon
1 cup cheddar cheese
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 can of tomato paste
1 can of chickpeas
1 can tuna
6 cups low sodium chicken stock
brown rice
coconut oil
vegetable bouillon

You’ll also need:
Olive oil
chili powder
dry herbs

How to Make a Classic Canadian Fried Dough Treat

I first tried these soft, oval-shaped doughnuts while skating down the Rideau Canal in Ottawa. A classic Canadian treat,  these delicious snacks are fried to perfection then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. But toppings can vary from lemon juice with sugar, nuts, chocolate sauce and even caramel. Whichever topping you prefer, just be sure to eat them warm!

Classic Canadian Fried Dough Treat

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yield: 8 doughnuts

Beaver Tails donuts

1/4 cup warm water
8g pkg or 2-1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup milk, warmed
2 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 eggs
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

1 L vegetable oil for deep-frying

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the warm water, warm milk, yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.

2. Add melted butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs. Give everything a good mix together. Add flour and mix with the dough hook (or with a wooden spoon if you’re not using a mixer) and mix until the dough comes together and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Knead for about 6 minutes in the mixer and 10 minutes by hand, until the dough is smooth, silky. Use extra flour if dough is sticky.

3. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

4. Punch down dough and place onto a lightly floured countertop. Shape into 8 equal sized pieces. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into an oval shape. If you like, score a crisscross pattern in the top of dough.

5. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and leave to rise, covered, for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.

6. Make cinnamon sugar by combining sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.

7. Heat a large wide pot with about two inches of oil. Heat to 350F/176C. If you don’t have a thermometer, check the oil’s temperature by tearing off a small piece of dough and see if it sizzles and floats to the surface. Keep a close eye on the oil, adjust temperature as needed to prevent it from getting too hot. If you see it smoking or crackling take off the heat to cool down before frying.

8. Fry your doughnuts on each side for 30-60 seconds until they are golden brown. Dunk immediately in cinnamon sugar or top with lemon and sugar, Nutella, jam or my favourite, maple syrup!

Dishes That Still Stump Our Chefs

Call it the dish that got away, your Achilles heel — or more simply put, rice — but rest assured, we all have a recipe that never turns out the way we’d like. Yes, even the pros have them. Here are the dishes that still frustrate our very accomplished Chef in Your Ear stars.


Baked goods

Baking, admits Craig Harding, is a temperamental science that depends on factors like time, location and weather. “There’s not one correct way, you just need to understand how it works,” he says. “Baking, bread, pastries — they’re temperamental and challenging for sure.” This doesn’t stop him from baking entirely, but you’re not going to see Harding on Sugar Showdown any time soon, either. “I just try and keep pastry extremely simple,” he says.

Diet food

Healthy eating is one thing, but Devin Connell can’t stand curbing her creativity for the sake of a few saved calories. “I would never make a low-fat health dish,” she says. “That would bother me, if I had to restrict anything.”


Jordan Andino won’t use recipes unless they’re his own, which makes baking a particular challenge. “There are established rules for baking and you can’t deviate,” he says, “But I hate using recipes, and I rarely get cookies right. I can do bread without a recipe, and I can do some other things, cakes and stuff. But I just can’t get cookies right — it’s frustrating.”


Cory Vitiello doesn’t like following recipes or leaving food to do its own thing. “Rice is one of those where you just set it and forget it. It’s one of those dishes I try to stay away from,” he explains. Rob Rossi feels the same. “You know, I can definitely cook risotto but beyond that I have a hard time even cooking minute rice. I don’t like to follow recipes, for one. And I’m not patient enough to leave the lid on and let it actually go for 25 minutes. I can’t do that. I have to be involved.”

Watch new episodes of Chef In Your Ear Mondays at 10 E/P and catch up on episodes online.

10 Canadian Restaurants Owned by Celebrity Chefs

If you enjoy watching these celeb chefs on the big screen, then why not pay them a visit at their restaurants. From contemporary Indian cuisine in Vancouver to hyper-local fare served ocean-side in Prince Edward Island, here are some of the best restaurants owned by celebrities that you can dine at from coast to coast.

Frings (Toronto, ON) 

Typically known for his inspired and refined take on various Asian cuisines, Susur Lee and business partner Drake (yes, the rapper) have gone a different direction with this new Toronto hot spot. Fried chicken sliders, braised short ribs and kale Caesar salads are definitely a departure from Lee’s typical scope, but are proving to be popular nonetheless.

Frings by Susur Lee


Garde Manger and Le Bremner (Montreal, QC) 

There’s somewhat of a celebrity trifecta going on at these two top Montreal eateries. Not only are both owned by all-round nice guy and talented chef, Chuck Hughes, but Top Chef Canada runner-up Danny Smiles runs the kitchen at Bremner. To complete the trio, there’s Hughes’ business partner, actor Tim Rozon who’s known best for his role of Mutt on Schitt’s Creek.

Le Garde Manger and Le Bremner by Chuck Hughes

Le Garde Manger

The Inn at Bay Fortune (Bay Fortune, PEI) 

Owned by Michael Smith, this quaint inn on the east coast offers beautiful waterfront views, and also a newly conceived menu by the celeb chef and his team, every day of the year. If you get the chance to chat with Smith, he gets exceptionally excited about the focal point of the restaurant, the wood-burning grill, where all of the magic (AKA your dinner) happens.

Michael Smith: The Inn at Bay Fortune

The Inn at Bay Fortune

Jamie’s Italian (Toronto, ON)

Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant chain has slowly been peppering the globe over the past few years, with locations in Australia, Ireland and, of course, England. With his first North American location in Toronto, which opened just a few months ago, people in the GTA can now get a little taste of what Oliver has to offer, like crispy-fried ravioli, fresh crab bruschetta and much more.

Jamie Oliver: Jamie’s Italian

Jamie’s Italian

One Restaurant (Toronto, ON) 

With a few restaurants and his own chain of grocery stores under his belt, Mark McEwan keeps busy when he’s not sitting on the the Chopped Canada judging panel. His renowned downtown eatery, One, is a morning-to-night go-to for the business crowd, featuring such breakfast dishes as cinnamon French toast and refined plates of grilled octopus or lamb chops for dinner.

Mark McEwan: One Restaurant

One Restaurant

Ruby Watchco (Toronto, ON) 

Staying as fresh and local as possible, the menu at Lynn Crawford’s first restaurant changes daily. Any food lover would agree that when you’re left in the capable hands of Crawford and Co-chef Lora Kirk, your dinner will be stellar. If you’re flying out of Pearson any time soon, pop by Hearth, the chef’s newly opened casual eatery located in the domestic flight wing.

Ruby Watchco

Ruby Watchco

Twist by Roger Mooking (Toronto, ON) 

Being the first celebrity chef in Toronto to see the opportunity in elevating the airport dining experience, Chopped Canada‘s Roger Mooking opened Twist in 2014, to much applause. Having personally being laid over many times in Pearson, I can speak to the friendliness of the Twist staff, and simple but thoughtful menu. Here you’ll find dishes like fried perogies and chorizo, lamb burger with mint and fennel relish, and more.



Vij’s (Surrey, BC) and My Shanti (Vancouver, BC) 

Former Chopped Canada judge and also former Dragon’s Den investor Vikram Vij is one of the most well-known restaurant operators on the west coast. In addition to serving up creative takes on Indian curries at Vij’s, or the street food-inspired dishes at My Shanti, Vij also has his own namesake grocery line available in stores.

My Shanti

My Shanti

Roger Mooking’s Top Tips for Feeding a Family

Roger Mooking knows a thing or two about family meal planning . When he’s not judging Chopped Canada or developing creative dishes for Twist By Roger Mooking, a new restaurant at Toronto Pearson Airport, he’s a busy father to four girls. That’s right, four girls under the age of 10! That means getting all four kids to try new flavours at mealtime — not an easy feat.

We connected with the family man who shared his tips on grocery shopping, getting kids excited about food and introducing new flavours.


On Having a Plan
“We shop once a week, usually early Saturday mornings when the grocery store is empty but well stocked for a busy day. It’s the best time to go if you can get up early on a Saturday — folks with kids are used to getting up early for the most part! Then we spot shop as needed during the week.”

On Introducing New Foods
“We always buy a new item every week that we’ve never tried before. It might be a type of cheese, a kind of cracker, a new brand of yogurt, a different pasta or noodle — anything. It’s about introducing new flavours to the kids; sometimes it’s successful sometimes it’s not.”

On Getting Kids Involved
“I always encourage the kids to go grocery shopping with me. Sometimes we all go (including my wife Leslie), sometimes it’s just one or two kids, and sometimes it’s just me. But when the kids are involved, they usually ask to buy something that piques their curiosity. I like to include them in the cooking process, too. Cooking is one of the most important life skills we can teach them”

On Saving On the Grocery Bill
“I like to peruse the specials displays to see if there is any good value there. Often you can find specials on great quality products that just might have a shorter shelf life. The grocery stores tend to mark down those items to get them off the shelves quickly before they spoil.”

On Buying Quality Food
“We tend to buy for quality over price. Quality and value can co exist though! I usually buy what looks the freshest and build meals around that.”

Looking for family-friendly recipes? Check out our Cooking for Kids guide. And tune-in on Saturdays at 9 E/P to catch Roger Mooking on Chopped Canada.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Q&A: Boralia’s Culinary Duo Serve a Slice of Canadian History

Evelyn Wu and Wayne Morris are serving up a little slice of Canadian history with every dish that comes out of the kitchen of their Toronto restaurant, Boralia. Taking a page from the history books — literally — the restaurant’s menu is filled with modern interpretations of historic dishes. Think pigeon pie circa 1611, a flaky meat-filled pastry served with roast squab breast and parsnip. Reaching even farther back in history is Boralia’s smoked mussels, a particularly dramatic dish dating back to 1605. The shellfish are served under a glass dome, which is lifted to reveal a cloud of pine-needle smoke and aromas reminiscent of old world fare.

Evelyn and Wayne’s extensive research and culinary creativity has lead to an outstanding menu inspired by early settlers of the 18th and 19th centuries and traditional Aboriginal dishes. We caught up with Evelyn and Wayne to hear about their signature dishes, their first food memories and which Canadian chefs excite them.

Evelyn Wu and Wayne Morris

Photo courtesy of Boralia.

What’s your idea of happiness?
Wayne: Having dinner with my wife.
Evelyn: I did not make him say that . . . but I would say having dinner with my husband! And just hanging out at home with our new baby and our cat, Carl.

What’s your first memory of food?
Wayne: One of my first memories of food is going on walks with my parents and collecting periwinkles at an inlet where the Atlantic Ocean met the salt water lake behind my house. We would collect them, steam and eat them with white vinegar and garlic butter.
Evelyn: When I was two, my family moved to Hong Kong for five years. During that time we would go to the New Territories, one of the main regions of Hong Kong where the streets are lined with seafood vendors with live fish tanks. My mom would buy all kinds of seafood which we would take to one of the nearby restaurants for them to cook. My favourite was the boiled shrimp served with a sesame oil and soy dipping sauce.

Who was your cooking mentor? How did you first meet?
Wayne: My cooking mentor is Mark Filatow, the chef and owner of Waterfront Wines in Kelowna, B.C. Mark hired me when I moved out west from Nova Scotia in 2006. Over the next six years, I worked all the stations and ultimately became chef de cuisine. It was while working for Mark that I really got to work with the freshest produce from Okanagan and gained appreciation for working with fresh, local produce and cooking seasonal food and getting the freedom to experiment with new dishes.
Evelyn: My mentor is Daniel Patterson, chef and owner of Coi in San Francisco. He hired me in 2006 when I was really green and fresh out of culinary school. Through working for him, I really learned how to balance flavours and seasoning. He also has a very cerebral and conceptual approach to food and creating dishes that I found very inspiring.

Leclade smoked mussels

Photo courtesy of Boralia.

What do you love to cook the most (your signature dish)?
Wayne: I love making the pigeon pie on our menu. It takes knife work for the filling, I love making pastry and it smells so good while it’s baking. Also, cooking the accompanying squab breast takes skill to make sure it stays moist.

Where do you see yourself in two years?
Wayne and Evelyn: Hopefully we’ll be doing the same thing as we are now! Boralia is only one year old.

If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Wayne: I’ve always been fascinated with woodworking, so I think I would have liked to work in carpentry or joinery, specifically on a boat because it’s the most challenging.
Evelyn: I would own a bookstore or a stationery shop. I love the organization in those kinds of shops, and I’d get to read all day.

What’s the least favourite thing about yourself?
Wayne: I wish I had more confidence in myself. I let criticism get to me too easily.
Evelyn: I’m not the most patient person. When I get something in my head I want to get it done right away and I’m very anxious until it’s done. Sometimes it would be nice to just let things happen more organically.


Photo courtesy of Boralia.

What was the last restaurant you dined at? What did you eat?
Wayne and Evelyn: Cava. The poached foie gras pintxo is magical.

Name a Canadian chef that is doing exciting things in food right now.
Wayne and Evelyn: Our friend Jack Chen of The Farmer’s Apprentice and Royal Dinette in Vancouver. He’s staged at so many great places around the world and is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

If you were any dish or ingredient in the world, what would you be?
Wayne: Wild mushroom. They taste great and they get to live in the forest. I love being in the forest.
Evelyn: Garlic. It makes everything taste better.

What is your favourite quote?
Wayne: “An eye for an eye, and the whole world would be blind.” Khalil Gibran

Nigella Lawson’s Crowd-Pleasing Dinner Party Menu

With an emphasis on simple recipes and stress-free entertaining, Nigella Lawson proves that no matter the occasion, food should always be pleasurable.

Nigella says, “It’s all about the ease and comfort of food. It’s also about the process of cooking itself – showing how it can provide pleasure and calm in an ever more stressful world.”

Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner with family or a large party with friends, Nigella’s delicious, crowd-pleasing menu is sure to put your mind (and hands) at ease.


Lentil and Chestnut Soup

Soup is the perfect way to greet your guests when they come in from the cold. This creamy, nutty soup chock full of hearty vegetables will really hit the spot.

Warm Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad with Pomegranate Seeds

This restaurant-worthy salad combines warm spiced cauliflower mixed with harissa-spiced chickpeas and tomatoes. They are placed on a bed of fresh parsley leaves then sprinkled with pomegranate seeds for the finishing touch. Nigella suggests crumbling in some feta for a hit of salt and creaminess.


Potato and Pepper Bake

The perfect side to a meat-filled main: Yukon gold potatoes are covered in roasted red peppers, oil, and coriander seeds. Potatoes become soft and tender in the middle and crisp on the outside after they’re baked.

Georgian Stuffed Chicken

Roast chicken is a go-to for simple weeknight suppers and lavish dinner parties alike. This impressive dish features a butter-rubbed chicken filled with sour-sweet rice stuffing, which is then roasted to a golden, crispy perfection.


Apricot Almond Cake with Rosewater and Cardamom

Reminiscent of her clementine cake from How to Eat cookbook, Nigella admits this is her idea of a perfect cake. Polenta, ground almonds, dried apricots and cardamom pods make the base of this elegant dessert. To decorate the cake, brush the rose petal jam and lemon mixture over top, and then sprinkle with chopped pistachios.

Watch new episodes of Simply Nigella on Saturdays at 1:30 pm E/T and catch up on episodes online.


Budget-Friendly Lunches Under $5: Week 3

Can you believe we’re three weeks into the New Year? If you’ve already noticed the difference these lunches have made on your wallet then you’ve received all the motivation you need to keep packing your noontime meal. Missed a week? Catch up on all the delicious dishes in the Week 1 and Week 2 menus.

This week we tried to spice things up with a few dishes that feature curry as well as a quesadilla that gets an unexpected flavour boost from a cilantro pesto. We’ve also streamlined your groceries making sure you can use some of the ingredients in more than one recipe. To help keep you organized, we’ve compiled the shopping list making the notion of packing your lunch a sure thing.

curry chicken salad pita

Photo by Maya Visnyei

Monday: Curried Chicken Salad Pita with Grapes
Curry spiced chicken gets a hit of sweetness from the addition of grapes making it an addictive lunch selection you’ll be sure to put on heavy rotation.

Cilantro Pesto QuesadillaTuesday: Cilantro Pesto Quesadilla
Who said pesto was only for basil? This quesadilla oozes cheese and flavor thanks to an easy to make cilantro pesto.

kale chicken salad

Photo by Maya Visnyei

Wednesday: Kale Chicken Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese and Pecans
With juicy chicken, sweet blueberries, savoury cheese and salty pecan, this bowl of happiness will be your new go-to lunch.

curried carrot soup

Thursday: Curried Carrot and Sweet Potato Soup
Creamy and delicious, this soup uses a host of veggies to create a dish that is healthy goodness in your Thermos.

tuna black bean wrap

Photo by Maya Visnyei

Friday: Tuna and Black Bean Wraps
Protein and fibre-rich black beans pair with veggies as well as tuna to deliver a wrap sandwich that will have you doing your happy food dance at your desk.

Grocery List Ingredients
2 bunches fresh cilantro
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 cup dried tomatoes
1 tomato
1 red pepper
1 red onion
1 head of lettuce
1 avocado
1 medium yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 head cauliflower
1 lb. carrots
1 medium sweet potato
2 stalks celery
1/2 cup seedless grapes
1 small head of kale
1 cup blueberries
1 cup pecans
1 lime

1 rotisserie chicken
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
sour cream
Greek yogurt

4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
curry powder
chili powder
1-19 oz. can of black beans
1-5 oz. can of tuna

8 10-inch flour tortillas
whole wheat pita pockets

You’ll also need:
olive oil
red wine vinegar
Dijon mustard


Weekend Project: How to Make Fresh Pasta

If you’ve never made fresh pasta, you are in for a treat! Delightfully fresh al-dente noodles are a comforting indulgence on cold winter days and a great way to learn new kitchen skills. Plus, it’s really fun to make! You won’t be able to resist cranking the handle, feeding the dough into the machine and watching those long, squiggly noodles come out the other side. But don’t worry if you don’t have a pasta machine — it’s just as fun rolling the dough by hand!

Fresh pasta cooks in minutes and chances are, you already have all four ingredients. We’ve chosen Michael Smith’s simple pasta recipe to bring the taste of your favourite Italian bistro on to your table.

Fettuccini Alfredo

4 cups flour
1 tsp ground pepper
6 eggs
1 tsp olive oil

1. Mix flour and pepper, and pour into a tight pile on a flat work surface. Make a well in the centre. Crack five eggs into the well and lightly whisk them together with a fork. Add a splash of olive oil to the eggs. Using your fingers begin stirring the flour into the egg and if it seems like it needs another egg, add it now. The dough should be a little dry, but workable.

2. When the dough has formed into a workable mass, begin kneading it until it is smooth and elastic. Be patient, this will take some time, 15 minutes or so.

3. Flatten into a disc and wrap in plastic. Let dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour or two, overnight is best. Its elastic structure needs time to relax from the stress of kneading.

4. Set up and use a pasta roller, following manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have a pasta machine, cut your dough into 6 pieces and roll the piece of dough into a thin rectangle approximately . Starting at one end, fold your dough every 5 cm, creating a roll. With a sharp knife, slice the noodles crosswise into thin noodles.

5. Cut the dough into 6 pieces and flatten them into thin rectangles about 6 – 8-inches in length and 2 to 3-inches wide. Feed the rectangles through the pasta machine, gradually adjusting the thinness, until they have gone through the thinnest setting. Lay the sheets out on a baking sheet, sprinkling more flour on them to keep them from sticking together. Run the pasta sheets through the fettuccine cutter and hang to dry on a pasta rack.

6. To cook, bring a large pot of water to the boil. Salt liberally then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta floats to the top, 3 minutes or so. It should be al dente, cooked through but still chewy.

Simply Scrumptious Sauces
What should you serve with your fresh pasta? We’ve got four delicious options perfect for your noodles.


Leek and Lobster Linguini
If you are going to make homemade pasta, you might as well treat yourself to a luxurious dinner. All your hard work will be worth it when you taste this herb-filled sauce topped with buttery lobster tails.


Chicken Tetrazzini
Chicken, mushrooms, garlic, herbs and peas mingle in a deliciously rich and chunky sauce. Thick linguine noodles are a perfect fit for this hearty Italian dish.

Fettuccini Alfredo

Fettuccine Alfredo
If you find your noodles are a little thicker than desired, go for this classic, creamy dish.Top each serving with an extra crack of fresh pepper and grated Parmesan.


Winter Squash Fettuccine with Crispy Pancetta and Pecorino
This perfect winter pasta dish gets its creaminess from winter squash, balanced with salty pancetta and Pecorino.

Chefs Share Their First Job in the Industry

The Chef In Your Ear stars make it look easy, but they didn’t begin their careers as pros. For the most part, these TV chefs began their careers in entry-level positions, cooking, baking, tasting and most importantly, working their way up.


Craig Harding

Craig Harding’s first job was working as a line cook — “If you want to call it that,” he says — at McDonalds. Eventually, he was fired from that gig, but it’s all in the past now that he’s a household name.

Jordan Andino

Jordan Andino remembers joining his chef dad at the North 44 kitchen as early as nine years old, but it’s tough for him to pinpoint the official moment he started working there. “My dad’s the chef — he’d have to babysit me,” he says. “And he said, ‘You don’t just sit around in the kitchen.’”

Devin Connell

Compared to her Chef In Your Ear colleagues, Devin Connell’s first industry job was pretty sweet. “I started my own cookie business selling cookies to a local health food store,” she explains. “It was called Devin’s Delights and I was 10. I made peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies, and I even got a t-shirt made that said Devin’s Delights.”

Cory Vitiello

“I was a dishwasher at a restaurant when I was fourteen at Pizza Chief in Brantford,” says Vitiello. Although he claims he was “a great dishwasher,” it wasn’t long before management noticed his potential for more. “I was quickly promoted to the buffet line where I was serving dessert toppings on people’s cheesecake,” he says.

Rob Rossi

Like Cory Vitiello, Rob Rossi started as a dishwasher at a pizza joint — in his case, Pizza Hut. “I absolutely hated it, it was an awful job,” he admits. “But it got me in the business and it made me want to experience more. So as much as I didn’t like it, it led me to bigger and better things.”

Watch new episodes of Chef In Your Ear Mondays at 10 E/P and catch up on episodes online.

1 Meatball Recipe, 4 Mouthwatering Leftover Ideas

No matter which way you roll them, meatballs are a versatile mealtime staple worth hoarding. Whether you chose to make them with classic Italian flavours, Middle Eastern or even vegetarian, here are four ways to turn your little balls of joy into a brand new meal.


Start with Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs.

Italian Wedding Soup

1. Italian Wedding Soup
Soup season dictates that once the temperature dips below the freezing point, a steaming bowl of broth should be consumed at least once a week. Thanks to your stash of leftover meatballs, this quick and easy version of Italian wedding soup comes together in mere minutes. Simmer chicken broth and add the cooked meatballs until heated through. Add roughly one cup of spinach and simmer until just wilted. Ladle hot broth to bowls filled with cooked couscous, or any small pasta like ditalini or orzo and finish with a dusting of grated Parmesan.

Meatball Sub

2. Sandwiches
If you’ve got dinner rolls or a sliced baguette, the time is nigh to create what’s perhaps the most beloved of all the meatball leftovers: the meatball sandwich! Heat cooked meatballs in a saucepan with your favourite tomato sauce, assemble the sandwich and top with any quick-melting cheese like mozzarella. Bake until the cheese is bubbly. Make it fancy by adding fried onions, pepper and even some jalapeño for heat. If your leftover meatballs happen to be flecked with Asian flavours, make a version of Banh Mi by topping your sandwich with pickled carrots and daikon, sprigs of fresh coriander and fiery chilis.

potato hash

3. Make a Breakfast Hash
Who says you can’t have meatballs for breakfast? For this riff on a classic brunch time hash, sauté onions together with peppers until soft. Add cooked potatoes and fry until they become crispy and form those glorious craggy bits and add the chopped meatballs until heated through. Serve with a fried egg on top and a squirt of hot sauce.

4. Meatball Calzones
Hot and gooey melted cheese is the food equivalent of cozy knit throw and a crackling fire. Quickie homemade calzones using store-bought pizza dough and leftover meatballs are your cheese delivery du jour. Divide the dough into roughly eight equal portions and roll each section off into a circle, spreading on tomato sauce before filling with chopped meatballs, shredded cheese and any vegetables you have laying around.

halifax donair

How to Make a Nova Scotia-Inspired Donair Kebab

Many would say a night out in Halifax wouldn’t be complete without a donair. Nova Scotia donair kebabs are unique – a combination of heavily spiced salty meat, sweet and garlicky sauce and soft pita that leave you covered in sauce and completely satisfied. If you can’t make a trip out East, then try making a healthy Halifax-inspired version at home. Have lots of napkins at the ready!

halifax donair

Nova Scotia Donair Kebab

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Makes: 8 donairs

Donair Meat:
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
Freshly ground pepper

Donair Sauce:
1 (370ml) can evaporated milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup white vinegar

Donair Toppings:
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
8 large pitas

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
2. In the bowl of a food processor combine the ground beef, spices and egg. Whirl the mixture until fully combined, about 30 seconds.
3. Shape the meat into a loaf shape (like a large meatloaf) and place on the prepared baking sheet.
4. Cook for 1 hour, or until the meat is cooked through and springy to the touch.
5. While the meat is cooking make your donair sauce. Combine milk with garlic and sugar. Gradually add white vinegar. Sauce will thicken.
6. Let the meat cool for about 20 minutes, this will make it easier to thinly slice.
7. Thinly slice donair meat (about 1/8 inch thick). Warm your pita and fill with meat, top with donair sauce, onions and tomatoes. Wrap in foil to have the real donair experience or eat as is and have lots of napkins handy!

The 10 Healthiest Whole Grains and How to Cook Them

Whole grains come in all shapes, sizes, tastes and textures. With a myriad of B vitamins, fibre, iron, plant-based protein and minerals, each tiny grain delivers a hefty nutritional punch. A whole grain has its natural bran, endosperm and germ intact, which hold a good portion of its nutritional value.

The complex carbohydrates present in whole grains digest more slowly than refined versions, keeping blood sugar levels (and cravings) regulated for sustained energy. They’ve also been shown to reduce LDL (“bad” cholesterol), help to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, as well as lower heart disease and diabetes risk.

With whole grains, you’ve got many options not only in variety, but versatility in the kitchen, too. From breakfast to dinner and everything in between, there’s a grain out there for every time constraint, cooking level and craving. Here are the 10 most nutritious whole grains with tasty ways to add them to your daily diet.


Warm Brown Rice and Wheat Berry Salad Bowl

Not just for the birds, millet is a gluten-free whole grain containing amino acids, complex carbohydrates, fibre and a range of minerals. Its tiny, bead-like appearance makes it a whole grain alternative to couscous (refined white pasta), can be ground in your blender to make gluten-free flour for baked goods, and can be turned into a creamy grain main like this Millet, Lemon and Kale “Risotto.”

Quinoa’s superfood status is reputable, with complete plant-based protein containing all essential amino acids, fibre, iron and slow-digesting carbohydrates. The original fast-food, quinoa cooks up in 15 minutes and can be used in lieu of oats in porridge, tossed in a leafy salad, served as a simple side dish or as the main such as this cozy Avocado, Kale and Quinoa Salad.

Bran, rolled, steel-cut and whole groats are all the same grain presented in different ways. They’re high in soluble fibre, helping to lower cholesterol, improve digestion, help manage a healthy weight, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and more. An everyday pantry staple that makes not only a fantastic warm breakfast cereal with rolled oats, but also risotto with steel-cut or pilaf with whole groats. They’re also star players in desserts, like this healthier recipe for Honey Oat Roasted Pears.

Farro (Spelt)
A popular grain in Italy long before it appeared on the everyday North American table, farro is an ancient wheat with a chewy, rice-like appearance that comes in three varieties; farro piccolo (einkorn), farro medio (emmer) and farro grande (spelt). Its ability to stay intact makes it the perfect pasta substitute in cold salads, like this veggie-packed Farro Salad with Radishes, Arugula and Feta.

A whole grain with a funny name, freekeh is a low-glycemic, naturally low-carbohydrate popular for its earthy taste and stellar nutritional profile. With four times the fibre of the same amount of brown rice, freekeh keeps you fuller for longer. It’s roasted, allowing it to work as a bold base for hearty pilafs. Try freekeh in a substantial bowl of greens and grains like this Carrot, Spinach and Freekeh Salad with Miso Vinaigrette.

Not often thought of as a whole grain, corn’s bad-boy health persona should be limited to the refined versions of itself (i.e. high-fructose corn syrup). Its standout nutritional features are lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that help eyesight. As a whole food, corn is a unique grain in that it’s eaten fresh from the cob, as well as dried in the form of cornmeal and flour. For an elegant and healthy vegetarian entrée with corn, try this Veggie Ragu on Blue Cheese Polenta.

Brown Rice
Whole grain brown rice is a low-allergen, gluten-free whole grain high in B vitamins, selenium, fibre and slow-digesting carbohydrates. Many varieties of white rice can be readily found in whole grain brown rice such as basmati, short grain and long grain. Combined with a legume or bean, brown rice turns into a complete plant-based protein, as showcased in this recipe for Goat Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls.

Black Rice
Inky-black with a slightly sweet, grapey taste, this dark-coloured whole grain is one of the highest sources of antioxidants in any food, even more so than most fruits and vegetables. It’s excellent as a side dish, used as a bed for curries or made into a healthy dessert like this Black Rice Pudding with Mango, Lime, Passion Fruit and Coconut.

Nutty, tender barley is best known for its role in wholesome soups and stews. Containing high amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, selenium and fibre, barley is an everyday, economical pantry staple. As it’s not gluten-free, barley isn’t suitable for those with celiac disease. Employ this pleasingly chewy whole grain as a complete-meal like this simple Slow-Cooker Bean and Barley Soup.

Wheat Berries
Unrefined whole wheat (used to make whole wheat flour) makes up wheat berries, which have a fruity, delicate flavour and a texture similar to barley. This slow-digesting, energy-boosting grain delivers a host of B vitamins, as well as fibre and magnesium. Use as a cold or warm breakfast cereal served with fruit and almond milk, or try this superfood-packed, double-grain Warm Brown Rice and Wheat Berry Salad Bowl.

Butternut and Black Bean Quesadillas

Budget-Friendly Lunches Under $5: Week 2

It’s Week 2 of our budget-friendly meal plan and we’ve got a tasty line-up of dishes that will surely have you wondering why you ever bothered to buy lunch. While making and packing a lunch seems like more work, once you get used to taking a few extra minutes each week to create a plan around our meals you’ll realize your efforts actually save you time.

Missed a week? See our menus for Week 1 and Week 3.

We’ve even made it easier since you can slide our prepared grocery list into your weekly shopping. By the end of the month, you won’t believe the difference these easy changes will make on your nutrition and your budget. For your brilliance, you’ll need to give yourself a raise. And by raise we mean dessert.

The ALT Sandwich

Photo by Maya Visnyei

Monday: The ALT Sandwich
This tasty twist on a classic sandwich helps you honour your resolution since it doesn’t require bacon. No, seriously, it doesn’t.

garlicky turkey kale soup

Tuesday: Garlicky Turkey Kale Soup with Pasta, White Beans and Tomatoes
A flavorful meal of healthy goodness in a bowl, and it all comes together in under 30 minutes.

Butternut and Black Bean Quesadillas

Photo by Maya Visnyei

Wednesday: Butternut Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas
This vegetarian dish will keep you full all afternoon helping you skip the 3 p.m. cookie slump.

fiesta tomato wedge salad

Thursday: Fiesta Tomato Wedge Salad
A simple, nutritious and super satisfying salad, especially if you pack it with some crusty bread. What more can you ask for from your lunch?

Grilled Pizza

Photo by Maya Visnyei

Friday: Spinach Pesto Pizza with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Ricotta
You’ll be the envy of the water cooler chatter after you debut this over-the-top delicious pie at your desk. By the way, does anyone still have water coolers?

Grocery List Ingredients

1 bunch of fresh basil
1 avocado
1 lime
3 lbs. mixed tomatoes
1 head of Boston bibb lettuce
1 bunch of rainbow kale
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 head garlic
1 butternut squash
1 bunch cilantro
1 bunch baby spinach
1 container sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 lb. turkey sausage

1 container parmesan cheese
1 block cheddar cheese
1 container ricotta cheese
1 container asiago cheese

1 loaf multigrain bread
1 lb orecchiette pasta
1 package whole wheat or multigrain tortillas
1 large flatbread or na’an

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 15oz. can cannellini beans
1 15oz. can black beans

You’ll also need:
Olive oil
Lemon juice
Chili powder

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Greg Komorowski

Comedian and slinger of zingers, Greg Komorowski is a man of many strengths but put a Neapolitan pizza in front of the Chef in Your Ear host and he goes weak.

greg komorowski

Here are some other fun facts you may not know about the Food Network Canada star:

1. He’s got a sweet tooth

Greg Komorowski works with some of the biggest names in the food industry and is no stranger to gourmet cooking. But if you want to stay on his sweet side, a chocolate bar from the corner store will do. “I’ve got a real big sweet tooth,” he admits, “so any kind of peanut M&M or O’Henry, for sure. I’ve got a big problem with those.”

2. He loves Italian food

“Even though I’m Polish, I love Italian food,” says Komorowski. He even re-enacted his own version of Eat, Pray, Love – kind of. “She eats at like this place in Naples called Da Michele. I’ve been there too.”

3. Seriously, he LOVES Italian food, especially Da Michele’s pizza

“Da Michele’s pizza is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted,” says Komorowski, joking that it’s even better than his mom’s cooking. “It’s so good you can’t leave it for leftovers. You know when you have that problem, like, I’m so full but there’s half a pizza and I won’t appreciate it but I’m still going to eat it? Yeah, absolutely that.”

4. His last meal would be . . . huge

For his last supper in this life, Komorowski would start with a bagged kale salad with seeds and cranberries, move on to king crab legs and bisque from Tracy’s King Crab Shack in Alaska, and top it off with Wagyu beef. For dessert he’d down Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream with smashed peanut M&Ms and sip on Royal Tokaji ice wine.

5. Perogies made him the man he is today

“My favourite thing to eat when I was a kid was definitely perogies,” says Komoroski. His grandma and aunt handcrafted them, stuffing them with meat, potato and cheese – his favourite. “There’s nothing like starch that’s packed inside of starch,” says Komoroski. Or perogies filled with sweet fruit! “Cherries, berries, they might even mix up the sugar with the smetana, the sour cream. And that’s why I am who I am today,” he says.

6. Europe changed him

“I always liked cooking,” says Komoroski, “but when I went over to Europe it was like a wakening, a food wakening. I was like in my late twenties or early thirties. And then I realized what food could be, which is art.”

7. He’d love to have a moment with Gordon Ramsay

“I think Gordon Ramsay is really interesting because he is so focused and frighteningly so,” he says. “I’d love Gordon Ramsay to call me a donkey. It would just be so fun to have him lay into you.”

8. He can’t resist chicken and waffles

If Greg Komorowski sees chicken and waffles on a menu, that’s what he’s getting. “This is one of my life problems because it’s kind of like a goal now,” he says. “When I see chicken and waffles, I order it.”

9. He’s a great listener

“Active listening is what we do in improvisation a lot, which is where I’m hearing what you say – every single word – and after that I will compose my thoughts based off that,” he explains. It’s a skill that’s particularly handy on Chef in Your Ear. “You kind of have to be as supportive as possible, especially with these new rookies because you don’t want to scare them off. They’ve already admitted they’re not great at what they do, which is a hard thing.”

10. He thinks every Chef in Your Ear contestant leaves a winner

“Sure there’s a winning chef and a losing chef but it’s really all about the celebration of creating food and people who never thought they could cook discovering they can,” he explains. Best of all, the food always tastes good and he loves watching contestants discover that. “What’s really cool is when people are done, they do want to taste what they’ve created, and they also want to taste the other person’s. And it’s great to see the difference because the dishes somehow always end up completely opposite ends of the spectrum. Somebody went with this theme and somebody went with that theme and then you try it and everyone thinks it’s delicious and feels good about it.”

Catch Greg and all the Chef in Your Ear action Mondays at 10 pm E/T. See more show details here.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mark McEwan

You know his face, you know his voice, you may even know the taste of his lobster poutine — but did you know that Mark McEwan adores his wife’s meatballs and Susur Lee’s jokes? Here are 10 fun facts about the newest Chopped Canada judge you’ve probably never heard before.


1. He Can’t Get Enough of Susur Lee

Mark McEwan enjoyed meeting new colleague Antonio Park, and catching up with old friends like Lynn Crawford and Michael Smith, but Susur Lee is the chef who knows how to best season McEwan’s funny bone. “Susur, we had a hilarious time together,” he says. “I had so much fun with Susur. It was just hysterical.”

2. He Suffers for His Art

Mark McEwan is an experienced judge, but Chopped Canada presented challenges that his previous gig on Top Chef Canada didn’t. He thanks the mystery basket for that. “Well, there was a lot of bad food,” he admits, “And that’s what happens when you give chefs peculiar ingredients they don’t have the experience with. You always try to put yourself in their shoes, but at the end of the day, I judge the plate on whether it tastes good or not.”

3. It’s Possible to Stump Him with a Mystery Basket

It’s rare for McEwan to come across an unfamiliar mystery basket ingredient, but it has happened. This season mochi, the sticky Japanese rice flour dessert, appeared in contestants’ baskets, and he admits it would’ve given him trouble. “If you had the advantage of [experience], sure, you’ll figure something out. But on the fly? Very, very challenging to turn it into anything.”

4. He Worked His Way Up

All great chefs have to start somewhere, but McEwan’s first job was one of the industry’s dirtiest. “I was 16 years old and I was a dishwasher in Buffalo, New York, at Mindy’s Wine Cellar,” he explains. “I made $1.60 an hour. That was the first restaurant job I ever had.” One day the restaurant needed a cook, “so they dragged me out of the dishroom.”

5. He’s Organized, Really Organized

An early mentor taught McEwan that organization is a key component in a chef’s toolkit. “How you set your station, how you put your tools away, how you cut your chives, your shallots, how often you clean your stove, how you keep your uniform,” he says. “It creates efficiency and lack of wasted movement. All those things that make for an efficient day.”

6. He’s got a Soft Spot for Bologna Sandwiches with Mustard

“My mom used to make it all the time when I was a kid,” says McEwan of the school lunch classic. “Good, simple working class family.”

7. He Loves Junk Food

“I fly a lot, and what do I buy when I fly the most often? I’ll buy a bag of Peanut M&M’s,” he says, adding that sweets aren’t his only temptation. “Who doesn’t like potato chips? If someone puts a jar of Heluva dip in front of you, are you going to not stick some potato chips in it? I have a hard time not eating the whole jar. I love it.”

8. His Wife is His Favourite Cook

“My wife just makes the most amazing spaghetti and meatballs,” he says. “She makes a perfect tomato sauce that any nonna would love. She knows how to cook pasta; she makes perfectly tender, little veal ricotta meatballs that are to die for. Reggiano, olive oil, fresh basil… done. You put that in front of me any day and it puts a big smile on my face.”

9. Bugs Are Not the Weirdest Thing He’s Ever Eaten

“I’m not a big fan of the larvae group of bugs. Or eyeballs, or anything of that nature,” says Mark McEwan. But the weirdest food he’s ever eaten was raw chicken, in China. “Chicken sashimi I thought was really weird. I didn’t get that one at all.”

10. He’s Got a Solid Hangover Plan

“Generally I try not to have hangovers — they’re pretty difficult to handle at 58,” says McEwan. But when they do happen, he’s got a delicious cure for them. “Water and two Advil, and fatty foods,” he says. “I really like bacon. With extra bacon. And more bacon. A really wicked BLT with lots of mayonnaise on it. You get fat and salt and more fat.”

Chopped Canada returns with more high-stakes, heart-pumping competition on January 9 at 9 E/P. See schedule information here.

Whole Wheat Pitas

Weekend Project: How to Make Bread

One of the best aromas in the world is the scent of fresh bread baking in the oven. The smells permeates the kitchen and you can’t wait to take that first bite, so warm and satisfying in your mouth.

Making your own bread sounds like a daunting task with lots of ways for it to go wrong, but it is simpler than you think. If you’re a beginner baker, pita breads are a perfect place to start. You’ll learn all the basics of rolling and kneading, and how yeast reacts with flour and sugar to create light, chewy rounds. In just one afternoon, you can make homemade pita and watch the dough rise, right before your eyes.

Whole Wheat Pitas

Here are a few tips and a simple recipe to get your started.

Focus on Flour

Choosing the right type of flour for your recipe is essential for successful loaves. Each types of flour has different amounts of starch and proteins, which will affect the elasticity of your dough.

Pita bread is best made with a mix of whole wheat flour and bread flour, which has a higher protein content — an important part of yeast breads.

What You Knead

A stand mixer can be your best friend when making bread. Bread dough needs a lot of kneading to develop that soft, fluffy texture and a mixer with a bread hook will do the job perfectly.

If you are feeling tough, you can knead by hand but you’ll need a little extra time and energy.You’ll know the dough is done when it is stretchy and resembles elastic bands. This means the gluten proteins are bonded and the dough is ready to rise.


The key to making perfectly round pitas is to divide your dough into equal pieces and then twirl and fold them into a ball on a lightly floured surface. This will give you soft, round pieces of dough with the signature air pocket in the middle. Don’t worry about being too delicate with your dough. Baking queen, Anna Olson says that anytime you handle, roll or knead your dough it helps develop a richer flavour with better texture.

Anna Olson’s Whole Wheat Pita Bread

1-3/4 cup warm water (110°F/43 °C)
1-1/2 tsp instant yeast
1-3/4 cup bread flour
1-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt


1. Place all of the ingredient into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead on low speed for a minute to incorporate the ingredients and then increase the speed one level and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Alternatively, to mix by hand, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until too tough to do so and then turn the dough out onto the counter and knead until elastic (try adding as little extra flour as possible while kneading) about 7 minutes. Place the dough into a bowl, cover with plastic and let rise for an hour (the dough will not double in size).

2. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide into six 150 g pieces (using a scale is best for evenly sized pita). Shape the dough pieces into rounds (try to not use flour for dusting), cover with a tea towel and let rest for 20 minutes.

3. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough into a circle about 8-inches (20 cm) across (if the dough springs back when rolling, just set them aside 5 minutes and finish rolling them to the right size). Cover with a tea towel and let rest 20 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 °F (235 °C) and place 2 baking trays in the oven to heat. Remove a baking tray from the oven, dust with flour and place 2-3 pita rounds on it. Immediately return this to the oven and repeat with the second tray. Bake the pita for 5-6 minutes (they will puff up like a balloon!) and then carefully remove them (they will let off steam if pressed) from the tray to an open tea towel. Cover the pitas with the towel to deflate them and let them cool (this will soften them so they are tender and the pocket will open easily).

5. While fresh pitas are delicious on their own, we have a few tasty ideas for how you can enjoy them throughout the week.

Greek Pita

Paprika-Spiced Turkey

Give turkey breast a dose of flavour with a flavourful blend of fennel, coriander, paprika and garlic powder.

Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms in a Pita

Make this rich, savoury sauteed mushroom dish while your pita is rising and eat it for lunch all week.

Chicken and Wild Rice Salad Pitas

You’ll love the toothsome, chewy texture of wild rice, especially when paired with fresh chives and leftover chicken.

toasted pita triangles

Ina Garten’s Toasted Pita Chips

Toast up your pita bread into crispy chips, Ina Garten-style and serve with your favourite dip as a quick and wholesome snack.

Ham and Cheese Pita Pizzas

Turn your fresh pitas into instant pizzas on the busiest weeknights.