Tag Archives: Eden Grinshpan

Eden Grinshpan’s Baba Ghanoush With Za’atar, Pomegranate and Mint Will Be Your New Favourite Dip

What makes this an essential is the eggplant technique, which is so simple but blows your mind at the same time. I learned about charring eggplants whole when I was twenty-one years old and working in a restaurant in Tel Aviv. They’d score an eggplant, throw the entire thing on the grill, and then let the fire do all the work. The skin gets completely charred while the heat steams the flesh until it is smoky, tender, and juicy. That becomes the foundation of baba ghanoush, a smoky, velvety dip that’s an essential in its own right.

Baba Ghanoush with Za’atar, Pomegranate, and Mint

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20-35 minutes
Total Time: 30-45 minutes
Servings: 4 cups

Ingredients:

3 medium eggplants
½ cup tahini paste
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, grated
1½ tsp kosher salt
Za’atar, for serving
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Pomegranate molasses, for serving
Fresh mint leaves, for serving
Pomegranate seeds, for serving (if in season)

1. With the tip of a knife, pierce each eggplant in two places—doesn’t need to be perfect or in the same place every time; this is just so the eggplant doesn’t explode on you (it’s happened to me, and it’s not pretty).

2. Pick a cooking method for the eggplant: grill, broiler, or stovetop burners. The bottom line is that you want this eggplant to be almost unrecognizable. It’s going todeflate and the skin will get white in some places, but that just means the fire is working its magic on that eggplant.

OPTION 1: Grill Preheat the grill until hot. Add the eggplants and let the fire do its thing, making sure to keep turning the eggplants so they char all over. You want them to get black in some places, 20 to 30 minutes total.

OPTION 2: Broil  Preheat the broiler. Put the eggplants in a broilerproof roasting pan and place the pan as close to the heating element as possible. (You may have to adjust your oven rack to accommodate the size of the eggplants and the depth of the pan.) Broil until they are evenly charred all over, 30 to 35 minutes, checking and turning the eggplants periodically. You want the eggplants to keep their shape but get really charred and wilted.

OPTION 3: Stovetop Gas Burners Line your stovetop around your burners with foil. Working with one at a time, place the eggplant over a medium flame and let it char, making sure to turn it every 5 minutes. Continue cooking until it is deflated and black all over, 20 to 30 minutes.

3. Transfer the cooked eggplants to a colander in the sink and let the juices run. (The juices can make the dish taste bitter.) Once the eggplants are cool enough to handle, remove the stem and all of the skin.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggplant flesh with the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.

5. To serve, first make a za’atar oil by mixing together 1 tablespoon of za’atar with 1½ tablespoons of olive oil for every 2 cups of baba ghanoush.

6. For each serving, use a spoon to spread about 1 cup of the baba ghanoush over a platter or in the bottom of a bowl. Drizzle over 1 to 2 teaspoons of the pomegranate molasses (go easy—it’s very tart and sweet), followed by the za’atar–olive oil mixture. Finish with a sprinkling of small mint leaves (or large leaves, torn) and a small handful of pomegranate seeds (if using).

Excerpted from Eating Out Loud by Eden Grinshpan. Copyright © 2020 by Eden Grinshpan. Photography by Aubrie Pick. Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Eating Out Loud, Amazon, $35

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Composite image of the season 9 cast of Top Chef Canada

This Year’s Top Chef Canada Contestants (Plus Season 9 Predictions!)

We all need nice things in our lives right about now, and what’s nicer than a brand new season of Top Chef Canada? The ultimate culinary competition is back for an anticipated ninth season, with a whole new batch of chefs ready to slice and dice their way to the top.

But first, this diverse group (which for the first time includes a married couple competing against each other) will have to cook their way into the hearts of a notoriously tough judging panel. This year that includes returning judges Mark McEwanMijune PakChris Nuttall-Smith and Janet Zuccarini, along with host-with-the-most Eden Grinshpan. Who will rise to the challenge, and who will fall faster than a collapsed soufflé?

We have a few first-look thoughts and impressions to get you started heading into the brand new season before it premieres on April 19 at 10p.m. ET/PT. Call it our amuse-bouche for all of the fierce competition to come.

Aicia Colacci, Montreal

Previous Gig: Chef de Cuisine at Impasto

First Impressions: This chef is going to bring the heat this season, and probably more than a few plates of spaghetti, rigatoni and raviolis in between. Aicia reveals that growing up food was always at the center of everything, and after getting her start in advertising she completely switched gears to the culinary world. Naturally, she’s never looked back.

Our Predictions: Passion in the kitchen can never be understated, but here’s hoping that this pepperoncino can keep her cool when the competition really heats up. As for her penchant for pasta? Well, that will definitely impress the judges at the start, but Aicia will need to prove that she has other bold plates that she can bust out too in order to rise to the ranks of Top Chef Canada.

Alex Edmonson, Calgary

Current Gig: Personal Chef and Owner of AE Chef Services

First Impressions: As a former model and current social media star, Alex is used to all eyes on him. But now he’s out to prove that he’s more than a pretty face (or a pretty food picture on Instagram), by showing that his flavours and techniques are just as impressive. The chef knew he wanted to be in the kitchen ever since he saw the movie Ratatouille in his teens, and now as a personal chef, he brings the restaurant to the people.

Our Predictions: Alex isn’t the least bit nervous about entering the Top Chef Canada kitchen, but maybe he should be. While his multitasking experience as a business owner could serve him well, not being in the pressure cooker environment of a working kitchen for a while could ultimately be a disadvantage.

Andrea Alridge, Vancouver

Current Gig: Chef de Cuisine at CinCin

First Impressions: Being a young chef at a renowned restaurant can come with its share of challenges, but that also means that Andrea is hungry to prove. Meanwhile, although this chef cooks a lot of Italian at her regular gig (where she fell in love with cooking with fire), she is also eager to showcase tons of other flavours—including those from her Filipino-Jamaican heritage.

Our Predictions: Andrea may be our chef to beat in terms of best fusion flavours this season. After all, she herself has said that she’s a rule breaker. But her desire to grow and passion for food could also mean that she will learn from any potential stumbles along the way, which makes her a strong contender in our books.

Emily Butcher, Winnipeg

Current Gig: Chef de Cuisine at Deer + Almond

First impressions: Emily grew up with a strong awareness of the magic that cooking can conjure up. After all her grandfather ran a butcher shop, her grandmother had a pie business, and her dad is “a pretty awesome home cook.” This chef sees cooking like a dance, and is very much looking forward to the day when the magic of dining returns following the pandemic.

Our Predictions: Emily seems fairly driven to become the first Top Chef Canada winner from Winnipeg. But first she may need to loosen her perfect standards just a smidge in order to keep up with the tight timelines and pressure cooker challenges featured on the show. She may also need to take the judges’ criticism to heart without letting it weigh her down, a challenge for any passionate chef on this show.

Erica Karbelnik, Toronto

Current Gig: Head Chef, Elmwood Spa

First Impressions: This fierce competitor is here to prove herself to everyone. That includes her former mentor Mark McEwan, her family, and her husband/fellow Top Chef Canada competitor, Josh. Erica definitely brings a lot to the table this season, but we’re especially excited to see her cooking, which she says will be a mix of Polish, Israeli and Moroccan influences.

Our Predictions: How will husband and wife competitors fare in this kitchen? It’s hard to say because that’s definitely a Top Chef Canada first, but we can’t wait to see how they compete with each other. Meanwhile, we’re even more jazzed to see some of the new flavours and fusion fare that Erica promises to bring—something tells us it’s going to be spicy.

Galasa Aden, Calgary

Current Gig: Executive Chef, Cliffhanger Restaurant

First Impressions: Galasa is all about infusing his plates with heart and soul, whether he’s making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or whipping up a dinner party for 20. The young chef is excited to showcase his Canadian-Ethiopian cooking style in the competition, a style he started refining as a young guy cooking with his mother in the kitchen.

Our Predictions: Galasa is aware that some of the other chefs may underestimate him because he’s the chef at a golf course, but where you cook is really only a matter of geography. This chef is definitely here to inspire and prove himself, and as a result, the other chefs may pick up a thing or two from this young star along the way.

Jae-Anthony Dougan, Ottawa

Current Gig: Owner, Chef Jae Anthony Pop Up

First Impressions: This seasoned chef has owned restaurants across Canada and cooked for basically every Canadian celeb possible (think Drake and The Weeknd). Now he’s ready to crush it on Top Chef Canada. Jae-Anthony wants to represent underrecognized Black chef talent, and he’s all about changing the game for his community… not to mention for his son.

Our Predictions: Winning this competition is quite personal for Jae-Anthony, so we’re fully expecting him to be one of the fiercest chefs out of the gate. His array of Caribbean flavours will be game-changing, and we have a feeling he’ll unknowingly push some of the other competitors to put their own passion and flair on the plate too.

Josh Karbelnik, Toronto

Current Gig: Chef de Cuisine, The Broadview Hotel

First Impressions: This fierce competitor (and former Chopped Canada winner) is all about bringing luxurious and refined plates with big flavours. He saw the power of perseverance firsthand as a young kid when his single mom would work three jobs to take care of the family. And he himself has had to push through, having lost two fingers nine years ago in an ice cream machine accident.

Our Predictions: If anyone can persevere through tough challenges this season it may be Josh. However let’s not forget that one of the people he’s competing against is his high school sweetheart and wife, Erica. Josh seems pretty sure that he and his partner will be the last chefs standing, so if that dream doesn’t come true it will be interesting to see how this couple rebounds.

Kym Nguyen, Vancouver

Current Gig: Sous Chef at Pidgin

First Impressions: Kym is here to put themselves on a plate, whether that means an Asian twist on a Shepard’s Pie or coating everything with soy sauce. The non-binary chef is all about interesting flavour combinations and mixing different culinary experiences together. And, although they didn’t go to culinary school, they definitely represent a new wave of chefs—chefs that leave aggression and anger behind in the kitchen in order to bring light into the industry that they love.

Our Predictions: Kym may seem quiet compared to some of the other competitors, but their food will speak for itself. The former architect student made a commitment when they first started their culinary career to practice civility in the kitchen, so we can probably expect that next-level outlook to be on full display on the show.

Siobhan Detkavich, Kelowna

Current gig: Demi Chef de Partie at Terrace Restaurant at the Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

First Impressions: At 21-years-old Siobhan may be a young competitor, but that doesn’t mean she won’t bring experience. So far in her culinary career, she’s turned heads winning over competitions and palates alike, and she’s definitely not one to be underestimated when things get tough in the kitchen.

Our Predictions: As a young, Indigenous competitor Siobhan admits she feels a bit of pressure to represent. This chef knows what she wants, and what she wants is to win. Even if she doesn’t make it all the way to the finale, it seems like she’ll be taking in every single learning opportunity along the way, which means she has everything to gain from doing this series.

Stéphane Levac, Nova Scotia

Current Gig: Chef, Maritime Express Cider Co.

First Impressions: This self-proclaimed casual-to-fine-dining chef is self-taught and tends to whip up comfort fare in his taproom, but he’s ready to take his bagels and foraged plates to the next level on Top Chef Canada. For him, food is a way of reconnecting with his Indigenous roots, and now he’s ready to share those plates with the rest of Canada.

Our Predictions: Stephane may be this season’s biggest wild card, as self-taught chefs typically are on this show. That isn’t a bad thing—sometimes it’s the chefs that think outside the box that come up with some of the most show-stopping plates. In that vein, we can’t wait to see what tricks Stephane may possibly have up his sleeve.

Watch Top Chef Canada April 19 at 10ep and stream Live and On Demand on the new Global TV App, and on STACKTV. Food Network Canada is also available through all major TV service providers.

Top Chef Canada Nordic Ingredients

Your Guide to Mastering Scandinavian Recipes the Top Chef Canada Way

Top Chef Canada has celebrated a rich world of cuisines over the seasons, from street- and market-inspired fare to classic French, Italian, Mediterranean and Japanese dishes. Of course, there have also been myriad fusions and new techniques in between.

On Monday night the series revved up our palates for yet another kind of feast when host Eden Grinshpan welcomed guest judge Marcus Samuelsson and chef Emma Bengtsson (of New York City’s two-Michelin star Aquavit) to help guide the remaining chefs through a three-course Nordic feast—served on the Toronto Island, no less.

“[Nordic cuisine] is very raw, it’s very pure, it’s taking what the land is giving and bringing it to the table,” Bengtsson explained to the remaining chefs. “It’s making sure the natural flavours of the food is coming through.”

“The Nordic Cuisine was my favourite challenge because what I know about Nordic cuisine is actually very little,” Grinshpan tells us. “I got to learn from the best of the best. Marcus Samuelsson was able to come in and teach us a little bit about it and eat the food while we were eating it and give his critique. Nordic cuisine has specific ingredients that get used often and the location was beautiful.”

So what are those ingredients and how can you use them like a Top Chef Canada contestant? Let’s have a look at the specific components the chefs were working with Monday night.

Skol!

Rosehip

Dennis picked this dried fruit, which grows on—you guessed it—roses. Rosehip is traditionally picked in the fall when it’s bright red or orange, and then dried until ready to use (usually in a soup, jam or even tea). It’s said to boost immunity and help heart health, comes packed with vitamin C, and tastes tart, like hibiscus.

Bengtsson advised Dennis to rehydrate his in order to bring out maximum flavour, and then to grind it and use it as a powder. In turn he created a Rosehip-Roasted Venison with Beets, Celeriac, Rosehip Jus and Foraged Wood Sorrel that the judges were down with as a main.

Try: Quail in a Rosehip Raspberry Sauce

Lichen

Bengtsson straight up told Hayden that he picked a hard one when he chose lichen as his featured ingredient. The moss varietal is traditionally cleaned off and fried in order to add texture and a slight mushroom undertone to a plate.

Some types of lichen are toxic to humans, although the edible kind has also been used to help fight inflammation. For his part, Hayden wowed the judges with his beautiful Helbredt Oksekød: Cured Beef with Beer Bread, Oyster Cream and Crispy Lichen, propelling him to the night’s big win.

Sea Buckthorn

These bright orange berries grow on spiky bushes typically found near sandy soil or on rocky mountain ledges and are packed with vitamins C, B12, A and E, not to mention magnesium, iron and calcium.

Sébastien was tasked with transforming this Nordic superfood into a super dish. He described the fruit as sour and acidic, or basically “lemon juice times 10.” So in order to balance out the flavours, he pared it down with maple syrup, presenting the judges with a Scallop & Pork Belly With Rye Bacon Crumble and Sea Buckthorn Beurre Blanc.

Try: Venison Carpaccio with Cedar Jelly and Sea Buckthorn Jam

Autumn Olive

In North America, autumn olive is considered an invasive species as a result of the deciduous shrub’s ability to grow up to 20 feet high and to spread quite quickly. Despite the name, the berries are actually sweet and tart (like lingonberry), and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Paul had some trouble working with his autumn olive juice, and found it didn’t heat up the way he wanted. But he still managed to pull out an impressive dish of Autumn Olive-Marinated Duck Breast with Beet Sausage and Crispy Giant Puffball. The judges, at least, were impressed.

Cardamom

This spice, which is also used in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, is slightly more familiar to North American palates. The pods and seeds can be used whole, or it also comes ground up. Cardamom is an antioxidant with a minty, spicy, fragrant flavour that makes it an easy dessert pairing, although it’s also used (sparingly!) in stews and curries.

Wallace, who worked briefly at Denmark’s renowned Noma restaurant, went the sweet route with his dish, and presented the judges with a Cardamom Spice Cake with Fennel, Carrot and White Strawberries.

Try: Cardamom Shortbread Tarte

Allspice

Most of us have heard of allspice, although we may be hard-pressed to identify exactly what it is. Turns out it’s a spice made from dried pimenta berries, and it has a flavour reminiscent of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. It’s strong and pungent, and in Nordic cuisine it’s sometimes used instead of black pepper in savoury dishes like fish or sausages.

Phil went the opposite route and embraced allspice and the Scandinavian use of veggies in desserts for his dish, which was a show-stopping Celeriac Crepe Cake with Wild Grape Mousse, Crispy Parsnip and Buttermilk.

Try: Allspice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Rum Raisin Sauce

Dill

Benet lucked out when he drew dill, one of the better-known flavours on a Nordic plate. Dill is considered one of Scandinavia’s most important herbs, and it’s often paired with fish and fresh veggies like potatoes and cucumbers. It’s also a standout in Dillkött, a lamb or veal stew.

Benet steered clear of seafood for his dish for the Elimination challenge and coupled the herb with his love of meat instead. He concocted his own outdoor meat house and presented the judges with Moss & Birch-Smoked Beef with Mushrooms, Dill Mayonnaise and Pickled Berries. The plate was Samuelsson’s favourite of the night—he even likened it to “Heart and Abba doing an outdoor concert in one.”

Try: Slow-Roasted Salmon with Cucumber Dill Salad

Sorrel

Sorrel may have a fancy name but it’s really just another herb that happens to be popular in Nordic fare. It’s tart and sweet, or as Tania described it when she drew it on Sunday night, it, “Tastes like rhubarb meets apple.”

Traditionally the herb has been used in France both medicinally and in soups and stews, but in Nordic cuisine it’s embraced in a variety of dishes, from pestos and sauces to pairings with mushrooms, meats and fish dishes. Tania showcased the herb in a controversial Root Vegetable Cake with Sorrel Apple Puree, Toasted Oat Ice Cream and Lingonberry Chantilly, a dessert that had the judges spinning. The dish sent her home, but it may have more to do with it being dry and vegan rather than Tania’s creative use of sorrel.

Try: Bread-Crusted Chicken with Morels, Young Leeks, Sorrel and Hay-Infused Jus

Juniper

Most martini lovers have probably experienced the juniper flavour of gin, given that the alcohol is derived from juniper berries. But that isn’t the only use for this aromatic ingredient, which is also an antioxidant and good for digestive health. In Nordic cuisine, it’s paired with chicken, salmon and game meats or in sweet dishes like fruit cake, but Bengtsson was quick to warn Renee that a little goes a long way.

With that in mind, Renee concocted a savoury Juniper Panna Cotta with Roasted Buckwheat, Rye Crumb and Parsnip Chips as an appetizer, but the simplicity of it confused the judges, who wanted to see the ingredient pushed a little farther.

Try: Blueberry, Sumac & Juniper Preserve

Top-Chef-Canada-Eden-Grinshpan-Mark-McEwan

Mark McEwan and Eden Grinshpan Dish on Why the New Season of Top Chef Canada Will Give You Serious Food FOMO

Some of the most promising young chefs—representing a culinary coming-of-age for Canadians across the country—are about to congregate in the Café kitchen for the contest of a lifetime. With a hefty cash prize, a trip for two to anywhere in the world, and a fully stocked kitchen on the line, these competitors are among the strongest and fiercest we’ve seen to button up the chef’s jackets over seven seasons of the culinary competition.

Host Eden Grinshpan and head judge Mark McEwan agree. They promise that this upcoming season, the 12 selected chefs will present some of the most impressive dishes (throughout a bevy of challenging cooks) that showcase all of the great ingredients and techniques Canadians have to offer.

Here we sit down with the dynamic duo to preview what we can expect when the competition fires up.

Top Chef Canada Mark McEwan and Eden Grinshpan

What are you most excited for fans to see this year?

McEwan: Just the food. The food this season was great. The chefs really stepped up to a new level. They nailed the timelines and they nailed the products. That what was most impressive to me.

Grinshpan: All the judges were just floored this season. It feels like it’s getting better, and better, and better. This season we all looked at each other and we were like, “We eat very well!” It’s just such a joy to be a part of. And also this season, in particular, the locations we shot in were just really fun. We showcase Toronto in a new way and the actual challenges the producers put together are extremely hard and extra creative. A lot of people are just going to really enjoy watching them unfold.

McEwan: The chefs were super competitive. In a nice way, but this season the competitive side was a little more obvious to me. Some seasons were a little more kumbaya; a lot of hugging. Not as much hugging this season.

Top Chef Canada Season 7 Episode 1 Watch

See More: Meet the Season 7 Top Chef Canada Competitors

What advice do you have for the chefs in cooking their first dish on the show?

McEwan: At the start of the game, you want something that’s really flavourful. I tell the chefs this every season: “The last memory I have of your plate is the flavour that’s on my palate.” So, a beautiful presentation is one thing, but if it didn’t eat well it goes downhill from there. Whatever you’re going to choose, it should be really punchy flavour-wise and then it should incorporate some interesting technique. Whether you’re making dumplings or fresh pasta, you’re not just sautéing a piece of meat or fish and saucing it. I like to see different levels of techniques on a plate.

Grinshpan: This isn’t a dish that you should be trying to challenge yourself with necessarily; it’s a dish you need to reach into your back pocket and go, “I know it’s successful, everyone that I’ve given it to loves it, it’s a crowd-pleaser.” It’s something that you’ve tested out numerous times and people love. Don’t try and think outside the box when you’re trying to get into the competition. Show us who you are and what you know. That’s what you should fall on.

Out of all the locations the show travels to this year, which one was your favourite?

Grinshpan: Obviously Canada’s Wonderland. Watching Mark on the roller coaster was a huge highlight for me.

McEwan: I screeched. For the first time in my life! It was a new moment for me.

Grinshpan: Also being at Canada’s Wonderland they had to set up the challenge in an interesting way, so it was cool for the chefs and also really challenging for them to cook in that space.

McEwan: We had great food that day.

What’s scarier—a giant Canada’s Wonderland roller coaster or facing the judges of Top Chef Canada?

Grinshpan: Facing the Top Chef Canada judges, to be honest. These chefs… listen, this is their livelihood, this is their passion. When you become a cook, when you become a chef, it takes over so much of your life. In order to get to that next level, it really takes priority over other things, and they want to show who they are. They feel like they’ve made it to a certain place in their careers and they want to put themselves out there. Having Mark McEwan eat your food and give feedback, that’s huge for these chefs. So it’s extremely intimidating, and also really great. When you get that positive feedback you’re on cloud nine. You’re already a winner.

McEwan: The criticism comes at you in waves and it can be inconsistent. One [episode] you’re flying and everybody is loving your product and you have confidence. And so you go into the next one with confidence and maybe that’s what screws you up. And then all of a sudden, you’re on the bottom of it. We’re trying to be constructive in telling you why we hate your food. It’s kind of the roller coaster of Top Chef Canada that is really hard for them.

Top Chef Canada Season 7 Chris Mijune Janet

Have your judging styles changed or evolved over the years?

Grinshpan: This is my third season on Top Chef Canada, and what I have learned working with [these guys] is you can’t learn that stuff. Basically what I’ve picked up… their approach to food, their opinions of food, the way they look at food when it hits the table, it’s amazing. Listening to them talk about food and watching them taste it has really affected the way I look at food and judge and critique it. Because we’ve judged food together for the last three seasons, we’ve found this rhythm and genuine respect for each other’s opinions. Look at the level. This is chef Mark McEwan. I want to hear what he has to say about food and how he looks at food because that affects his entire career and how he has viewed the restaurants and businesses that he’s put out there. I’ve learned a lot.

McEwan: It’s a fun judging table. Everybody brings their own unique style and viewpoint. Chris Nuttall-Smith is very studied about food and food writing and [he] is very articulate. Mijune Pak has eaten everywhere.

Grinshpan: She’s eaten everywhere, everything and everyone under the table.

McEwan: It’s amazing there’s a tree standing anywhere in Canada… but in terms of my judging, I’ve not really changed my format in all the years, it’s always been the technique and style and cleanliness. The flavour side of it is always 50 per cent of the roster for me. But what I don’t do, is I don’t tell the other judges how I really feel about everything, I kind of bottle it up and keep my thoughts in my head and then I let it out. You don’t want to change someone else’s opinion. I like to hear their virgin idea of what the food was rather than base it on a conversation.

Have you ever been surprised by a winner or did they catch you off guard?

McEwan: Last season, season six, I did not expect Ross Larkin to be in the finale.

Grinshpan: I second that.

McEwan: He had some really disappointing days and he seemed to be spinning his wheels and not clicking, but he saved himself. He stayed in the competition and all of a sudden he started to shine. He caught fire very late, and the fact that he won still surprises me.

Grinshpan: I agree. This is the thing… you either have people that have extremely high highs and extremely low lows throughout the competition or you can have people who play the middle ground until the end and then they just hit you with their talent. There are so many ways that this can go, because when we judge it’s not based on, “Oh their dish was good last time.” It’s, “Is their dish good this time?” It doesn’t matter how good you’ve been the entire time, if you make a crappy meal, you’re being judged on that, unfortunately. That’s just the way it goes. You start to see where the talent is at the beginning, and you read up on the chefs and have these expectations, but the competition gets to them. You have the cameras, the crazy challenges. All that pressure adds up.

Have you ever had to resist the urge to jump in and do a challenge yourself?

Grinshpan: Naw. Nope. No. Honestly, cooking in the Top Chef Canada kitchen is probably the most intimidating thing to do. Mark McEwan could take them all down.

McEwan: It’s challenging. At my age, my eyesight is not what it used to be. I find that to almost be a disability, having to take glasses on and off. I can’t cook with my glasses on because it’s foggy, but I can’t read a label without them. So to run around and be in the Top Chef Canada kitchen, I’d be the slowest chef without a doubt. The way they bolt—they’re like gazelles, running around. It’s a little bit intimidating.

Grinshpan: Even sometimes after I give the Quickfire challenges and I’m walking out of the kitchen it’s like, dangerous. Whoever is a guest, I have to hold them close to me, and it’s like we’re dodging traffic. It’s really intense.

McEwan: They’ll knock you over.

Grinshpan: They will! It’s a pretty wild environment.

Top Chef Canada debuts Monday, April 1 at 10 PM E/P on Food Network Canada. 

New Season of Top Chef Canada Introduces Next Generation of Canada’s Culinary Elite

Top Chef Canada, the country’s most prestigious culinary competition returns April 8 for an exciting new season! Eleven extraordinarily talented, up-and-coming chefs from across Canada are vying for the illustrious title and the opportunity to be catapulted into Canadian culinary stardom alongside previous winners Dale Mackay, Carl Heinrich, Matt Stowe, René Rodriguez and Nicole Gomes.

The new lineup of next generation chefs competing this season on Top Chef Canada are (from L-R in above image):

Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef Eden Grinshpan returns as host, guiding the chefs through their challenges and helping to deliberate at judges’ table. Culinary legend Chef Mark McEwan is back as head judge along with the esteemed resident judges, renowned food journalist and critic Chris Nuttall-Smith, food blogger Mijune Pak and powerhouse restaurateur Janet Zuccarini.

“You really felt a fresh new energy walking into this new season and meeting all the chefs,” Eden revealed.  “There was an overwhelming sense of excitement. Everyone brought their A-Game. Everyone really wanted to win. I found there were so many new, creative ways these chefs were bringing their food to the table.”

Head Judge Chef Mark McEwan has been with Top Chef Canada since it launched in 2011. Looking back on the past seasons, he shares, “Every year’s been good but every year’s gotten better. This year the chefs are hitting a new level. This was our best season yet for food.” He elaborates,  “The young chefs show a great sign of maturity and really excellent dexterity and ability to make flavours happen. Some real, great surprises!”

Not only will the chefs have to impress judges’ panel, they’ll also need to win over the palates of celebrated guest judges featured throughout the series. This season, guest judges include chef-owners of some of Toronto’s best-known restaurants, such as Lynn Crawford (Ruby Watchco), Susur Lee (Fring’s, Lee), Rob Gentile (Buca, Bar Buca) and Alexandra Feswick (Drake Devonshire). Top Chef Canada alum returning as guest judges include Steve Gonzales of Baro, Dustin Gallagher of 416 Snack Bar as well as Top Chef Canada: All-Stars winner, Nicole Gomes of Calgary’s Cluck ‘N’ Cleaver. Additionally, Evan Funke, L.A.-based chef and co-owner (with Janet Zuccarini) of the acclaimed Felix restaurant, and Danny Bowien, chef-owner of New York’s Mission Chinese Food join as guest judges.

Each week during the season, topchefcanada.ca will be your destination for everything Top Chef Canada! You’ll find full episodes online, exclusive exit interviews with each of the departing chefs, behind-the-scenes secrets from life on set, chef cooking tips, episode recaps and our must-see interview with the winner.

Top Chef Canada Returns With All-Stars Season

Food Network Canada has been cooking up a delicious secret and it’s time to share it with all of you. Top Chef Canada is coming back in an all new way. Canada’s most prestigious and high stakes culinary competition returns Sunday, April 2 at 10 ET/PT with an All-Stars season for its fifth installment.

Mark McEwan, revered chef and restaurateur, is back as head judge and is reacquainted with 12 chefs from past seasons, who return to see if they can win the previously elusive Top Chef Canada title.

Mark is excited for what fans will see in Top Chef Canada: All-Stars.

“Top flight ingredients, driven and proven chefs, full on challenges and the best food I’ve seen in five seasons, epic!”

If this doesn’t make your stomach rumble with excitement, you might want to check if you have a pulse!

Top Chef Canada: All-Stars Judges
From Left: Eden Grinshpan, Mark McEwan, Mijune Pak, Janet Zuccarini, Chris Nuttall-Smith.

Mark McEwan is joined by a new cast of refined palates including resident judges Chris Nuttall-Smith, Mijune Pak, Janet Zuccarini and host Eden Grinshpan. Chris Nuttall-Smith previously worked under the cloak of anonymity as the restaurant critic for The Globe and Mail. On Top Chef Canada, comes face-to-face with the chefs he’s critiquing.

“When we [judges] lost our heads about how incredible a dish was, it was beautiful to be able to say that in the moment to the chef’s face and to see them light up.”

Chris heaped praise on his fellow judges, noting that “every single one of them really is at the top of their game.”

Mijune Pak is the Vancouver food writer behind the award-winning food blog and restaurant guide, Follow Me Foodie. When asked about the reboot of Top Chef Canada, Mijune didn’t hold back.

“It’s the crème de la crème of cooking competitions on television,” she says. From the chef challenges to the guest judges, “it’s all about the food.”

Janet Zuccarini, is a powerhouse restaurateur, owning Toronto hot spots Trattoria Nervosa, Gusto 101 and Pai Northern Thai Kitchen, with more restaurants in the works. Janet says that one of the best parts of being on the series was how the judges, from various backgrounds and with different opinions, worked together as a panel.

Eden Grinshpan, a judge on Chopped Canada, steps into the role of Top Chef Canada host, guiding the chefs through their challenges and weighing in on their fate at judges’ table. She brings with her Le Cordon Bleu chef credentials and a disarming personality. Eden loves watching the chefs evolve and grow throughout the competition and seeing how the competition affects them. “Some people rise to the occasion and some fall under it.”

And who are the chefs that Eden is talking about? We’ll be revealing the 12 chefs to compete on Top Chef Canada: All-Stars soon, so keep checking back. For full bios on each of the judges and host, click here.

Each week during the season, Foodnetwork.ca will be your destination for more Top Chef Canada as we’ll be posting exclusive content including deleted scenes, episode recaps, culinary behind-the-scenes articles, and interviews with the competing chefs. Plus, we’ll be giving away Top Chef Canada prizes.

How Chopped Canada Stars will Celebrate Canada Day

Believe it or not, this year Canada is turning 149 years old —but it doesn’t look a day over 100. To celebrate, the stars of Chopped Canada are eager to rejoice in our great nation with cottages, cocktails, and, of course, food.

Lynn Crawford’s Weekend Getaway
“My cottage in the Kawarthas is my little piece of heaven. I’ll be there with my friends and family. We have a pizza oven that always gets fired up. We always make sure there’s dessert pizza, too, with marshmallows, caramel sauce, raspberries and strawberries. Summer fun!”

Eden Grinshpan Keeps it Classic
“I live in New York right now, so I will probably have a couple Ceasars and some poutine to celebrate with my husband.”

Make this classic Canadian drink absolutely amazing with these super patriotic garnish ideas.

Roger Mooking’s House Party
“It’s both my father-in-law and daughter’s birthday that weekend so we’ll be having a party at my house this year.  There may be fireworks, but, shhh, don’t tell anyone!”

Michael Smith’s Berry Canadian Cake
“Canada Day on Prince Edward Island often coincides with the start of our strawberry season so we like to celebrate with Strawberry Shortcake, then as many fireworks as I can round up.”

Strawberry Rhubarb ShortcakeGet Michael Smith’s recipe for Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcake.

Massimo Capra Craves International Foods
“Here in Canada, we have incredible diversity in food and people, so we can celebrate with just about anything. The beauty of this country is that we love food from all over the world. We can go back to the old English days and cook up some bangers and mash! But right now I’m craving some beautiful curry.”

Get the recipe for Curry Tofu Chutney Salad. Perfect for summer!

Brad Smith Keeps it Low Key
“This is the first summer I’ll have to myself. Every other summer since I was 21 I’ve had to work, so I’ll go to a buddy’s cottage, relax and enjoy what Canada has to offer.”

John Higgins’ Great BBQ
“Scotland is my birthplace but Canada is definitely my home. My wife has a family of 14 siblings and there’s always people coming over. We do something simple [on the barbecue] like peameal bacon. It has to have spicy honey mustard sauce and a great coleslaw.”


Get the recipe for Maple Bourbon Peameal Bacon Sliders.

Anne Yarymowich and the Great Outdoors
“Always start the day with a Caesar and then have fun with it. Find something local, something that is grown and raised within a 10 km radius of where you live and throw that on the barbecue. We have such a short summer season and Canada Day is at the height of it, so being outside is essential.”

Heartwarming Father’s Day Memories from our Stars

Although our stars are often away traveling the world and sampling great food, they always make time for family. Whether it’s enjoying a nice backyard barbecue or going on a road trip, nothing beats quality time with Dad! Here, our chefs and hosts share their favourite Father’s Day memories.

Noah Cappe shares a few photos of his father, Leslie Cappe via  Instagram @noahcappe

Noah Cappe shares a few photos of his father, Leslie Cappe via Instagram @noahcappe

“In recent years my dad has fallen in love with cooking,  more specifically, working the Q!” says Carnival Eats host Noah Cappe. “Last year, we were standing by the barbecue in the classic father and son pose, and I did a fake intro like he was cooking on Carnival Eats and he just went with it. It was hilarious!  That’s my dad.  That’s why I love those moments you get on a day like Father’s Day.”

Anna Olson and her father on a road trip; Anna's Key Lime Pie, her father's favourite dessert. Instagram @chefannaolson.

Anna Olson and her father on a road trip via Instagram @chefannaolson; Key Lime Pie, her father’s favourite dessert.

When Anna Olson was younger, she admits she had a hard time expressing her gratitude for her dad on Father’s Day. “All the typical greeting cards showed guys fishing, golfing or hanging out in the garage — and my dad did none of these things,” says the Bake with Anna Olson star. “But as I grew up and took on baking as my after-school hobby, I quickly learned that he appreciated sweets as much as I liked making them, and he still does to this day.  When I am working on new dessert recipes, I always make sure my dad gets first pick of the sweet selection. His favourite dessert is my key lime pie.”

Eden Grinshpan (second from left) with her mom, Riva Grinshpan, sisters Arielle and Renny Grinshpan, and father Menashe Grinshpan.

Eden Grinshpan (second from left) with her mom, Riva Grinshpan, sisters Arielle and Renny Grinshpan, and father Menashe Grinshpan.

Chopped Canada judge Eden Grinshpan says she was lucky to sit down and have dinner with her whole family every night as kid. “My father grew up in Israel and always talks about the foods his mother gave him. Every special occasion we try to replicate those dishes for him, like smokey eggplant with sliced tomatoes and a sponge cake with 12 eggs in it,” she says. Her father, Menashe Grinshpan, has been supporting the star since day one. “Because of the support and love from him and my mother [Riva], I have been able to achieve everything I have ever wanted to do in my life. I’m a very lucky girl.”

Cooks vs. Cons judge and Sugar Showdown host Josh Elkin was four years old when he gave his dad his first gift. “I built my dad a pencil holder for his desk. To this day, he still has it, although it doesn’t hold pencils anymore,” he says. While pies and ties are popular gift items these days, the star is grilling up something different. “I would love to cook my dad an awesome steak dinner, which I’m sure he would adore. However, it wouldn’t last through the test of time like a pencil holder has.”

Roger Mooking shares some throwback photos of his parents and himself as a little boy via Instagram @rogermooking.

Roger Mooking shares a throwback photo of his parents Gemma and Allay Mooking, as well as a baby photo of himself via Instagram @rogermooking.

“My father was a second generation restaurateur so he clearly inspired me in my career,” says Chopped Canada judge Roger Mooking.  His father Allay and mother Gemma raised him in Trinidad before moving to Canada at the age of five. “I grew up in a household of good steady cooking and music.” Sounds like the perfect pairing to us!