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Where to Find Chuck and Danny’s Favourite Canadian Ingredients

When it comes to shopping for ingredients, chefs are often looking for the same things as their customers: freshness, value (hey, restaurants have food costs, too), and local and sustainable products. Chefs Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles spill their sourcing secrets, from their best spot for vegetables to some must-have Canadian libations.

  1. Organic Ocean Seafood

BC-Spot-Prawns
When Chuck and Danny aren’t able to catch spot prawns off the coast of Salt Spring Island, B.C., they get them from Organic Ocean Seafood. 

Sustainable seafood has been a hot topic among chefs for years now, and Chuck and Danny take this issue very seriously. At their Montreal hot spot Le Bremner, the chefs use West Coast seafood sourced from independent fishermen at Vancouver’s Organic Ocean Seafood. “They’re dope guys,” says Chuck. “They’re amazing and they have great product. We get mostly halibut, but also tuna and British Columbia spot prawns when they’re in season.”

Try using Canadian seafood in this Pan-seared B.C. Halibut and Spot Prawns with Morel, English Pea and Chorizo Ragoût.

2. Birri at Jean Talon Market

Jean Talon Marche
Jean Talon Market photo credit: Creative Commons/@mouses_motor

Jean Talon Market has been a Montreal institution since 1933, and local shoppers and chefs can be found prowling its aisles looking for the best local produce, baked goods, meats and other amazing eats. Chuck and Danny’s favourite place to stop is the Birri brothers’ family-run produce stall. “We have a lot of great markets in Montreal, but my favourite is Jean Talon, and Birri has some of the best vegetables there,” says Chuck. “I love to get cherry tomatoes, and tomatoes in general — we don’t use them all the time, but in the summer, when they’re good, we get them from Birri. They have a selection of fresh herbs, and their zucchini is phenomenal. A lot of our stuff in the restaurants come from them.”

Try this sweet and savoury recipe for Colourful Cherry Tomatoes, glazed with apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.

3.  Norman Hardie Winery 

Chuck-Hughes-Danny-Smiles-at-Norman-Hardie-Winery
Norman Hardie, centre, with Chuck and Danny

A former sommelier at the Four Seasons and a well-known champion of local product, winemaker Norman Hardie is no stranger to Canadian chefs from coast to coast. Chuck and Danny made a point to stop at his winery during their tour through Prince Edward County to snag some freshly made pizza from the wood-fired oven, and sip some of Norm’s chardonnay. “We’ve got to be proud of what he’s doing right now,” says Danny.

Watch Chuck and Danny scarf down some of Norm’s pizza, made with locally-produced water buffalo mozzarella, on the first episode of Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip.

4.  Walter Craft Caesar

the perfect caesar

Although the origin of the Caesar can be a hotly-contested issue, it’s safe to say that Canadians have claimed this cocktail for their own, spiking it with everything from chicken wings to grilled cheese. Chuck likes the all-natural Caesar mix from Walter Craft Caesar, a locally produced, small-batch, ready-made mix that’s even on the Ocean Wise partner list for approved suppliers. “Their Caesar mix is good stuff,” says Chuck.

Try this recipe for a classic version of the Caesar, perfect your mixing technique with this infographic, or take a cue from Chuck and top your libation with a snow crab claw for an ultra-luxe finish.

Discover Chuck and Danny’s Must-Visit Canadian Destinations.

Figs

Fun Ways to Eat Fresh Figs with Chuck and Danny

It’s a day of land and sea ahead as Chuck and Danny wheel into Vancouver Island. Briny, spiny sea urchins and 100-foot bull kelp seaweed pulled fresh from the ocean are saline superstars of tonight’s feast, but the chefs are thinking sweet thoughts for their morning repast — and for that, they head off to find fabulous, fresh figs.

Figs-on-a-Tree

Figs ripe for the plucking on ALM Organic Farm, Vancouver Island.

Within walking distance of their campsite at Goldstream Provincial Park, Chuck and Danny discover Mary Alice Johnson’s ALM Organic Farm , which operates year-round and has 15 acres of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Mary Alice is eager to show Chuck — who has never eaten a fig just off the tree — how to pick ripe figs off her precious plants. “When they’ve got a shine on, they’re ready. You don’t want to tear them at the top, so just give them a twist,” she advises. Sampling these “fruits of the gods”, the chefs are surprised by the texture and sweetness of the organic figs. “Usually the figs that you get are wet on the inside, but these are drier, with distinct pulp and are so tasty,” says Danny. Although quite perishable and easily bruised, this versatile B.C.-grown fruit is simple to use in a multitude of ways: fresh, dried, roasted, candied, preserved, paired with prosciutto or added to baked goods.

Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles

Not far from the tree, Chuck and Danny get ready to whisk up a batch of camping-style cardamom fig muffins to give to Mary Alice, pressing their trusty barbecue into service. They gather eggs from the happy hens at Jesse and Evelyn Pereira’s local farm Terra Nossa, and are using a few unexpected ingredients — cardamom, orange, mint and almond flour — for a unique twist on a breakfast staple. “The figs will add that floral, honey flavour,” says Danny, who adds chopped figs to the batter and places halved figs on top. All that fruit keeps everything moist, with a finished texture in between a cake and a muffin. Home cooks looking to make this recipe without a muffin tin can borrow a technique from the chefs by pouring the batter into ramekins, then placing them into the centre of a preheated barbecue with a closed top, which works as a makeshift oven. Served with creme fraîche and drizzled with dark buckwheat honey, these beautiful baked goods will be the star of your table, whether at home or to start out an outdoor adventure.

Cardamom Fig Muffins

Danny Smiles whipped up these fig muffins spiced with cardamom.

“This is the part of camping that I love,” says Chuck. “You may not have everything, but what you do have, you use in a unique way, so maybe you’ll discover something new.”

For more fun with figs, check out Chuck Hughes’ Sticky Fig Pudding With Candied Fresh Figs, Christine Cushing’s Fig and Armagnac Preserves, or Laura Calder’s Pistachio-Stuffed Figs.

Missed the episode? Catch it online at Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip.

Watch the recipe video below to learn how to make Cardamom Fig Muffins.

Chuck and Danny’s Guide to Cooking with Sumac

After a long day on the road in Hastings and Prince Edward Country, chefs Chuck Hughes and Danny Smiles set out to create a succulent feast from the bounty of local Ontario ingredients they’ve gathered.

After foraging for wild juniper,  harvesting local beets and squash and securing tender buffalo mozzarella, plus a bone-on tomahawk ribeye roast,  the pressure’s on to create a campfire feast for the local farmers and purveyors.

With the help of a custom-made barbecue grill on loan from Enright Cattle Company, they’ve got the perfect vehicle to cook the 43lb ribeye roast. Sounds impressive, but the menu doesn’t end there. They’re also roasting Golden Nugget Cups, candy-sweet squash from Earth Haven Farms, halved and stuffed with Ontario buffalo mozzarella (a gift from winemaker Norman Hardie.) The squash holds another local secret: sumac foraged from chef and local resident Justin Cournoyer’s back woods.

This citrus-like star ingredient is widely used in Middle Eastern cuisine, which is why the chefs were surprised to find it growing in the wild in Ontario.

chuck-hughes-danny-smiles-golden-nugget-cups
Chuck and Danny’s sumac-spiced golden nugget squash cups. 

Neither Danny or Chuck are strangers to the flowering plant: Danny uses it in his homemade za’atar mix with sesame seeds and thyme, and it’s part of Chuck’s arsenal at his restaurants as a citrus substitute. “It’s like a Canadian lemon,” says Chuck.

Chuck-Hughes-Danny-Smiles-Foraging-Sumac

Justin teaches them how to find the best plant by looking for a vibrant red hue in the berries, and to store it by drying it whole in the sun and making a powder, which can be used to braise beef or put on raw bread.

Chuck-Hughes-Holding-Suamc

Chuck and Danny use their collected sumac to sprinkle on the golden nugget squash, tempering its sweetness with a slight pucker. The cups rest just above the coals, collecting the succulent drippings from a 43 lb. bone-in tomahawk style side of beef rubbed and spritzed with juniper, and juniper branches are tossed onto the fire, creating fragrant smoke. The food’s so good, even a slight drizzle can’t dampen the mood, and the feast goes on under the stars for hours.

Chuck-Hughes-Danny-Smiles-Cooking-Dinner-PEC
Chuck and Danny begin cooking the bone on tomahawk ribeye roast hours before their guests arrive.

Home cooks can take a walk on the wild side with sumac in their own kitchens. In the warmer months, ground sumac gives flavoured butter an extra kick, lending a slight tartness to balance out summer-sweet corn on the cob. Paired with juniper, sumac steeped in tea and poured over wild Canadian blueberries from British Columbia makes for a spread-worthy preserve to liven up breakfast at home or the cottage. And for lazy nights any time of year, a potent sumac infused potion, sweetened with maple syrup, uses whole sumac clusters — combine it with vodka for a Canadiana martini, a true sweet and sour sipper.

Missed the episode? Catch it online at Chuck & Danny’s Road Trip.
Watch video below to learn more about sumac.

Meet the Celebs Competing in the Chopped Canada Kitchen

They can sing, they can dance, they can act — but can they work a kitchen as well as they can work the camera? Four homegrown stars show off their hidden culinary talents on a special episode of Chopped Canada Celebrities. Let’s meet the four celebrities vying for the title of Chopped Canada Champion.

Roz

Roz Weston: Most of us know him as an entertainment reporter for ET Canada, and the co-host of Kiss 92.5’s The Roz and Mocha Show. Roz has covered the biggest entertainment stories on the planet; he’s even crawled inside the Great Pyramid in Egypt, and stood right smack in the middle of Moscow’s Red Square.

How do you define your cooking style?
I’m not an adventurous cook at all. I don’t like dessert, I don’t like sweets. So I’m nervous about the dessert round because I’ve never made a dessert in my life.

What’s one dish you cook well?
I make really good soups! I could live my life off soups. I don’t enjoy when people in my house are sick, but I kind of do, because I get the opportunity to make soups.

What ingredient would you hate to see in a basket?
If I got a basket of just fruit, I wouldn’t know what to cook with it. I don’t know how to make a pie or a reduction. Any sort of fruit would give me a hard time.

Who’s your biggest competition?
I don’t want to see anybody go, but I would say Steven and I are on the same level. What I find intimidating is he’ll start referencing names of foods and dishes I’ve never even heard of, let alone make.

What charity are you playing for?
I’m playing for SKETCH. It’s an organization that helps underprivileged  kids by introducing them to the arts. When kids don’t have a lot, the first thing that’s usually cut in schools or at home is any sort of artistic outlet. Sketch helps kids develop an eye for art and lets them shine in a place they wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to.

Keisha Chante

Keshia Chanté: A singer, actress and philanthropist, Keshia’s known internationally as a television personality having co-hosted BET’s 106 & Park for two years. Keshia has released three albums and received numerous awards including a JUNO Award for R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.

How do you define your cooking style?
My attention span is short, so when I’m in the kitchen, my mind wanders off. I try and do as many meals at once. When I cook, I go for classic comfort foods.

What’s one dish you cook well?
A lot of people seem to love the beef stew I make. I get good feedback from that.

What ingredient would you hate to see in a basket?
I really don’t want to see a fish head. I don’t even know where to start. I’m finicky with seeing eyes of fish.

Who’s your biggest competition?
Roz makes me nervous because he cooks a lot. And I know Mary knows how to work a deep fryer, which is intimidating!

What charity are you playing for?
I’m playing for Free the Children, part of the WE Charity. They’ve made a huge impact on kids’ lives. They put kids in school and give them resources that we [take for granted].

Steven Page

Steven Page: A well-known singer/songwriter, Steven is one of the founding members of The Barenaked Ladies with whom he toured the world and sold millions of albums. On his own, Steven continues his artistic evolution with an array of solo projects.

How do you define your cooking style?
I love to go to the farmers’ markets and buy fresh ingredients to cook with. I like to cook comfort foods but I lighten them up with fresh, healthy ingredients.

What’s one dish you cook well?
I make really good homemade vegan pâté. I don’t eat vegan all the time, but I like the things that are more labour intensive. It’s fun when you try and challenge yourself to create something flavourful that’s not full of fat.

What ingredient would you hate to see in a basket?
Durian. It’s an Asian fruit that smells like a dumpster. But they wouldn’t do that to us, would they?!

Who’s your biggest competition?
Roz is my biggest competition. He’s someone who really knows his way around the kitchen. But that doesn’t always mean it’s a recipe for winning.

What charity are you playing for?
I’m playing for the The Steven Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign. They work with community level organizations in Africa to give grandmothers all the help they need to raise their children.

Mary

Mary Walsh: Creator and star of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC’s wildly popular take on current affairs, Mary is also the recipient of the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performing Arts.

What’s one dish you cook well?
I make a great roast. At home I make a roast and three-veg, salt meat and cabbage. It’s quite massive!

What ingredient would you hate to see in a basket?
I don’t want to see chickpeas. They’re not my favourite.

Who’s your biggest competition?
My biggest competition is Keisha. But I’m an old hippie. I want everyone to win and everyone’s charity to get money.

What charity are you playing for?
I’m playing for Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa. It provides all levels of healthcare for Aboriginal people. They have outreach workers looking to see who needs help round the clock. I admire them greatly.

Turn in to this exciting episode of Chopped Canada Celebrities, airing Saturday, December 17th at 9 E/P.

Get in the Holiday Spirit with Must-See Specials

‘Tis the season to sit cozy up by the fire, sip on some eggnog and enjoy your favourite holiday shows! This winter, Food Network Canada sees the return of festive favourites and the launch of new specials that’ll whet your appetite for the season.

Put on your favourite ugly Christmas sweater and get merry with the return of Cake: Wars: Christmas, premiering Monday, November 14th at 9 E/P. Host Jonathan Bennett, and judges Charles Phoenix and Sherry Yard are back to find the most over-the-top holiday cake display.

A new set of pastry chefs are throwing on their aprons and getting their hands in the dough on a brand new season of Holiday Baking Championship beginning Sunday, November 6th at 9 E/P. Hosted by Bobby Deen, this baking competition is the sweetest way to celebrate this holiday season.

Get ready for the most adorable four-way cook-off ever! Cameron Mathison hosts the new series Clash of the Grandmas, premiering Wednesday, November 16th at 10 E/P. Each week, four grandmothers will battle in a series of holiday-themed challenges. But these ladies aren’t your average grannies; Fiercely competitive with undeniable cooking chops, these ladies use old-school tricks to impress the judges in the kitchen!

Celebrate all things sweet and delicious with a brand new season of Sugar Showdown . Hosted by Josh Elkin,  four holiday episodes kick-off Wednesday, December 7th at 9 E/P. 

For the first time in Chopped Canada history, some of Canada’s most humble grandmothers, bravest firefighters, most-loved celebrities and revered judges battle it out in a special series. The 4-week stunt begins Saturday, November 26th at 9 E/P with judges Susur Lee, Michael Smith, Mark McEwan and Anne Yarymowich competing for charity. The kitchen has never been hotter!

We’ve been waiting patiently all year for this! A brand new season of Top Chef premieres Thursday, December 1st at 10 E/P.  Season 14 finds new and returning chefs in a high-stakes competition set in Charleston, South Carolina. Cooks vs. Cons judge Graham Elliot joins the judges table this season, alongside veterans Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons.

For our full show lineup, visit our schedule page.

Chopped Canada Host Brad Smith

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Brad Smith

You may already know Brad Smith as a CFL star and a Bachelor, but the host of Chopped Canada is also a food lover who enjoys haute cuisine, fast food, and everything in between. We chatted with the Montreal native to talk about his palate – and his heart.

Chopped Canada Host Brad Smith

Here’s what we learned:

1. He wants to open a restaurant with Lynn Crawford
During a recent Facebook Live Q&A, Brad was asked which chef he’d love to team up with to open a restaurant. Brad says that hands down, he’d love to work with Chef Lynn Crawford and he’d name their restaurant Goofballs. “We’d specialize in rice balls or something like that!”

2. He loves Brunch in Toronto
Like many of us, Brad is a sucker for a good weekend brunch. He especially loves the indulgent offerings at Toronto restaurant Lisa Marie. “They do s’mores pancakes there,” he says, adding that Nutella is cooked inside the pancake and marshmallow fluff is toasted, and top with maple syrup. Brad recently appeared in an episode of Neighbourhood Eats and, of course, he stopped by Lisa Marie.

3. He loves cooking
Before he ever stepped foot on a Food Network Canada set, Brad was already a good cook. Still, working alongside Canada’s top chefs hasn’t hurt his kitchen skills. “It increased my ability to go from a pretty decent cook to actually being pretty proficient at it,” he says.

4. He puckers up before every meal
When Chopped Canada judge Susur Lee told contestants they all needed more acid in their dishes, the host listened. “My girlfriend will tell you this– she hates me for it—everywhere I go, no matter what I’m eating, I’ll always ask for a lime or lemon wedge just because Susur Lee said for everybody to add more acid. On everything! I learned that enough salt and enough acid makes anything good. So I literally squeeze lemon on everything.”

5. He’ll do anything for a good burger
After watching Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Brad needed to try the American chain’s burgers. It took him 16 hours to drive to Maryland but it was worth it.

6. He loves cooking for his parents
Cue the awwws: If Brad could cook for anyone, ever, he’d choose his mom and dad. “I think I just get the biggest enjoyment from when I go home and cook for my parents,” he says. “They’re the ones who’ve appreciated it the most in my entire life. They always look forward to when I’m back and I’m going to make food.”

7. He shares his stomach with Eden Grinshpan . . .
“Eden eats everything,” says Brad of Toronto-born Chopped Canada judge Eden Grinshpan. “Eden would eat out of a garbage can. She’s like my food sister. We have the exact same food taste.”

8. . . And his heart with Lynn Crawford
“She’s the nicest woman ever,” says Brad of Chopped Canada judge Lynn Crawford. “She has the most beautiful heart you’ll ever meet. She treats every single person like they’re the most important person at that time to her.”

9. He loves haute cuisine, but he’s not a food snob
Get Brad talking about food and he’ll rave about his favourite gnocchi, Montreal’s amazing food scene, Susur Lee’s famous slaw and his favourite dish . . . a Big Mac from McDonald’s.

10. The weirdest thing he’s ever eaten was . . .
You’ll have to stay tuned to Chopped Canada for this one. “I can’t say it until the show comes out because it’s in one of the episodes,” he reveals. “Roger [Mooking] threw up and Mark McEwan said it was the most disgusting thing he’s ever put in his mouth. It tasted like . . . it was disgusting.”

Chopped Canada returns with brand new specials starting with Chopped Canada Junior on Sunday, October 16 at 8 E/P. See schedule information here.

Inspired With Anna, Food Network Star Kids, and More Coming This Fall

As we say goodbye to another beautiful summer, we say hello to an action-packed fall line-up on Food Network Canada. We’re kicking off September with exciting new shows and brand new episodes of your returning favourites.

Chopped Canada returns with more high-stakes, heart-pumping competition Saturday, September 3rd at 9 pm E/P. Brad Smith and all your faovurite judges are back to critique appetizers, entrées and desserts from talented Canadian chefs.

Get a double-dose of Bobby Flay this fall as Beat Bobby Flay returns with new episodes Thursday, September 1st at 10 pm E/P. The grill-master and breakfast pro will also debut a brand new show, Brunch @ Bobby’s, premiering Saturday, September 10th at 10 am E/P. With the launch of this appetizing new series, we’re giving away three copies of his cookbook, Brunch @ Bobby’s, which features 140 sweet and savoury recipes. Enter the contest now.

On the new series Inspired with Anna, acclaimed chef Anna Olson takes a break from baking to travel Southeast Asia for an unforgettable culinary journey. From Singapore to Hong Kong, Anna discovers unique ingredients in the markets, and learns original techniques from local cooks and distinguished chefs. Inspired with Anna premieres Sunday, September 4th at 10 am E/P  with two back-to-back episodes.

The Man in Plaid is back! John Catucci is hilarious, but when kids across Canada invite him into their favourite restaurant kitchens, things get downright silly. On a special edition of You Gotta Eat Here!, a new generation of foodies show John that their taste in cuisine goes beyond chicken fingers and fries. You Gotta Eat Here!: Kids Edition begins Friday, September 2nd at 8 pm E/P and regular episodes resume Friday, September 30th at 9 pm E/P.

Speaking of kids, Tia Mowry and Donal Skehan host the pint-sized competition, Food Network Star Kids, where 10 wildly talented young chefs battle their way through a variety of culinary challenges to become the next Food Network Star Kid. The adventure begins Sunday, September 4th at 8 pm E/P.

An all-new, star-studded cast of recruits joins the new season of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition hosted by Anne Burnell and Rachael Ray. Upcoming episodes feature Oktoberfest-themed beer and sausage challenges, a Halloween Bloody Mary battle, and the return of the trivia game, Family Food. Guest judges include lasy season’s winner, Jenni “JWoww” Farley, and runner-up, Kendra Wilkinson. The competition heats up Wednesday, September 14th at 9 pm E/P.

For our full show lineup, visit our schedule page.

Meet the Next Food Network Star

Tregaye Frazer’s  life-long dream of hosting her very own show will soon become reality! The 31-year-old Atlanta chef was crowned the next Food Network Star on Sunday night’s exciting season finale.

The chef and mother of two beat out fellow Atlanta competitor Jernard Wells, and fan favourite Damiano Carrara in the emotional and shocking conclusion to the 12th season. Tregaye’s spunky personality and flair for food fusion was enough to impress judges Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay.

After a few stumbles early on in the competition, Tregaye’s cooking and presentation skills brought her back in the running. She impressed judges with wow-worthy plates throughout the 12-week long journey, including her infamous Loco Moco Fried Rice Patties.

Tregaye has been honing her on-camera charm ever since she appeared in season 7 of Cutthroat Kitchen alongside Food Network Star competitor Yaku Moton-Spruill.  When it came to any on-camera challenges on Food Network Star, Tregaye left a mark on the mentors. “She really grabs your attention,” Giada exclaimed. Other guest judges like Tia Mowry gave kudos to Tregaye for being “authentic in her approach.”

Upon winning, Tregaye took to Instagram to debut a new look and express her gratitude. “I am so excited about my new job. I won’t let any of my family, friends or fans down. Love you all,” she wrote.

We can’t wait to see more of Tregaye on Food Network, cooking up a fusion feast in a fun, bold way. For now, we’ll let the champion enjoy those delicious deviled eggs.

https://twitter.com/cheftregaye/status/760265076196646913

Congratulations, Tregaye Fraser. Welcome to the Food Network family!

Guy and Hunter’s European Vacation: How to Eat Like a Brit

Guy and Hunter’s epic adventure winds down in London, England where the father-son duo visit the oldest fish & chips shop in town. If you haven’t already caught the episode, you can watch it online here.

Rock & Soul Plaice, established back in 1871, is a year-long hotspot among locals and tourists alike. While the French invented “pomme frites” (French fries), it was the Brits who invented “chips.” The humble restaurant owner reveals the best ingredient for a traditional fish & chips dish is cod loin. They’re coated in a thin, crisp batter, leaving just a light crush on the fish. Nothing on the plate is greasy.

“It’s flaky and light but still has a nice crunch on the batter,” Guy says upon his first bite.

After touring the city on a double-decker bus, it was time for the two to indulge in some “real deal Indian food,” as Guy likes to call it. “This is an important part of the culture of food in London.”

At Punjab, the oldest the oldest North Indian restaurant in the UK, the duo took turns making their own naan bread. A typical naan recipe involves mixing white flour with salt, yeast and yogurt to make a smooth, stretchy dough. It’s cooked in a cylindrical clay oven also known as a tandoor. After passing around plates homemade chutney, seekh kebab, chicken korma and papadum, the food coma sets in and it’s time to call it a day.

Take a trip to England just like Guy and Hunter and eat like a Brit with this London-inspired menu.

Appetizers:

Naan Wedges

Chicken Cornish Pasties

Salt Cured Cod and Roasted Garlic Spread Crouton

Fish Sticks with Dill Caper Aoili

Main Dishes:

Fish and Chips

Bangers and Green Mash with Onion Gravy

Chicken Tikka

Jhal Muri

Desserts:

Classic English Trifle

Yorkshire Pudding

Rhubarb and Rosewater Eton Mess

Blueberry Scones with Lemon Glaze

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.”

Guy and Hunter’s European Vacation: How to Eat Like a Parisian

This week, Guy Fieri and his son Hunter take their month-long culinary adventure to Paris, France. If you haven’t already watched the episode, you can watch it online here.

Paris is often referred to as the “City of Light,” but this dynamic duo refers to it as the “City of Croissants.” Guy took his son to one of the oldest bakeries in the city to learn how to make pastry “the old school, original way,” to properly make an authentic croissant — which can take up to 36 hours!

The elegant old town of Chantilly, 50 kilometers north of Paris, was Guy and Hunter’s next stop. It’s also the commune where Guy spent time in as a high school exchange student. After reuniting with an old classmate, the gang drove up to see the house where Guy used to live. The star chef has many memories of making tacos for his French friends, so together, they make a French-Mexican fusion dinner of tacos complete with raclette cheese melted on top. The French love their cheese, whether it’s Brie, Camembert, or Bleu d’Auvergne.

Take a trip to France like Guy and Hunter, and eat like a Parisian with this delicious inspired menu.

Appetizers:

Stuffed Mushroom Caps

Ham, Apricots and Camembert on Toast

Garden Vegetable Raclette

French Onion Soup

Main Dishes:

Ina Garten’s Coq Au Vin

Grilled Chicken Cordon Bleu

Duck a l’Orange

Beef Bourguignon

Desserts:

Mini Croissants

Brie Cranberry Tarts

Apricot Clafouti

Chocolate Mousse

Food Network Star: Celeb Chefs Offer Advice to Finalists

With the 12th season of Food Network Star underway, culinary icons Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay are busy trying to discover the next food television star. As hopefuls are put through the ringer with tasks that test their kitchen skills and on-camera chops, our current star chefs have a few words of wisdom to share.

Bobby Flay says: “Be original.”

The host of Beat Bobby Flay and one of the judge-mentors on Food Network Star says competitors need to be unique. Trying to mimic someone who is already on the network won’t get you very far.

Giada De Laurentiis says: “Don’t over rehearse.”

Having hosted an array of shows including Giada Entertains and Giada in Italy, this star knows a thing or two about communicating on camera. “If you’re going to over rehearse what you’re going to do and say, you tend to come off as cold and inaccessible,” she says, adding that it’s more genuine when someone’s not trying to be perfect all the time.

Guy Fieri says: “Don’t burn tape.”

As host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives for 24 seasons now, Guy learned early on that a star must always live in the moment — especially on camera. If you make a mistake, Guy says, just keep rolling and keep going.

Rachael Ray says: “It’s not all about the food.”

The chef and host of shows like 30 Minute Meals and Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day says it’s important to hone your storytelling skills. The more you connect with the audience, the more excited they’ll be to share that experience with their families. “Every time they tune in, they’re going to be entertained and they want to share time with you. It can’t just be about the food, because mostly everyone knows how to cook a piece of chicken.”

Geoffrey Zakarian says: “Own who you are!”

Host of the new series Cooks vs. Cons, and probably the swankiest talent on our roster, Geoffrey explains that as long as you’ve got self-confidence, any mistake you make on camera isn’t that important. “It’s how you come across, how you hide it,” he says.

Robert Irvine says: “Picture your mom in the audience.”

The host of Restaurant Impossible understands that a bunch of cameras can be intimidating for a newcomer. Robert says picturing someone special to you, like your mom or boyfriend, can help dialogue sound more natural.

Catch all new episodes of Food Network Star Sundays at 9 E/P.

10 Fun Facts About Kids BBQ Championship Host Camila Alves

On the series premiere of Kids BBQ Championship, eight talented young grill masters will be battling for the chance to win a $20,000 cash prize and the coveted title of champion. Mentoring and judging them through all the challenges will be winner of Food Network Star season 11 Eddie Jackson and newcomer Camila Alves.

Here are 10 fun facts about our newest Food Network star.

1. Camila was born in Minas Gerais, Brazil. She first came to America when she was 15 years old. After falling in love with Los Angeles, she decided to stay permanently.

2. Food Network star Rachael Ray helped Camila cook her first fish. Camila says she’d often watch Rachael on the channel, and go to the bookstore and look through her cookbooks to get recipe ideas.

Getty Images

Getty Images
Getty Images

3. She’s the wife of Academy-Award winner Matthew McConaughey. They met in 2007 before getting married in 2012. They have three children together: Levi, Vida and Livingston.

4. Her and her family live in Austin, Texas, home to countless barbecue joints every smoked-meat and grill-loving person on the planet needs to eat at! It’s no wonder they called her up to co-host a show like Kids BBQ Championship.

5. The one food item she absolutely cannot live without is a juicy rib-eye steak. “My body literally craves it,” she tells Food Network.

6. Move over Goop, Camila has launched her own lifestyle and DIY website, Women Of Today. It’s chock full of tips, kid-friendly recipes, crafts and beauty posts for busy moms and women around the globe.

7. This is not her first rodeo. Camila, a former model, has hosted other programs including Shear Genius, a hair-styling competition show that ran in 2007.

8. Even better, Camila has already experience judging kids. Ted Allen invited her to be a guest judge on an episode of Chopped Junior, where the young chefs were tasked with creating a dish using cereal and meat.

9. Camila is crafty! Her and her mother started making handbags, and eventually launched Muxo, a collection of handmade bags designed by the duo themselves.

10.  She loves to give back. Her and her husband Matthew co-founded the Just Keep Living Foundation, dedicated to empowering high school students by providing them with the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices. Right now, JKL is featured in 24 schools across the U.S.

Catch the series premiere of Kids BBQ Championship Sunday, May 29 at 8 E/P.

What to Binge-Watch This Victoria Day Long Weekend

Who needs a cottage by the lake when you can curl up on the couch and watch your favourite Food Network shows back-to-back! Starting Saturday, May 21, fan favourites like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Chopped will have marathons running all weekend long.

Grab some breakfast and travel across America with Guy Fieri in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. It all starts Saturday, May 21 at 11:00 a.m. E/P with Guy taking a bite out of Los Angeles’ best pub grub. See the schedule here.

YGEHmarathon

Let food-obsessed funnyman John Catucci show you all the comfort food our country has to offer with a You Gotta Eat Here! marathon starting Saturday, May 21 at 6 E/P. First, he keeps it simple with great barbecue in Edmonton, then it’s off to Ottawa for some Italian-style pizza. See the schedule here.

Make it a Sunday Funday with Ree Drummond in a three-hour marathon of The Pioneer Woman. Sassy farm girl, Ree will show you how to whip up dishes like Strawberry Granola Pancakes and Chicken Tortilla Casserole. The culinary tutorials begin Sunday, May 22 at 11 a.m. E/P. See the schedule here.

Things heat up Sunday, May 22 at 2 E/P with a special marathon of Chopped Grill Masters. Hosted by Ted Allen, this competition pits a group of barbecue experts against one another for a chance to win a $50,000 grand prize. See the schedule here.

The long weekend wouldn’t be complete without an all-day Chopped Canada marathon. From Redemption: Return to Victory to Cooking with Courage, catch the best episodes of season three, hosted by Brad Smith starting Monday, May 23 at 11 a.m. E/P. See the schedule here.

Guy and Buddy

Food, Family and Fun: Guy & Hunter’s European Vacation and Buddy’s Family Vacation

Pack your bags because Diners, Drive-ins and Dives star Guy Fieri and Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss fame are taking us on two amazing  family adventures this summer.

Father and son, Guy and Hunter Fieri, are embarking on the ultimate food-filled adventure, travelling through Europe searching for unique culinary experiences on Guy & Hunter’s European Vacation.

Guy is giving his eldest son, Hunter, a high school grad trip of a lifetime — a culinary vacation to 13 different cities in seven European countries, to fully discover a new continent of cuisine. For one month, they’ll visit cities like Paris and Venice to experience the age-old traditions behind international foods we’ve come to love.

The journey kicks off in Athens where they learn the secrets to making the perfect gyro, and check out an old-school rotisserie restaurant.

Catch a special sneak peak of Guy & Hunter’s European Vacation on Friday, May 20 at 10 E/P.  The series premieres Thursday, June 2 at 10:30 E/P. Get the schedule here


Buddy Valastro is taking a break from his bakeries to take the ultimate roadtrip with his wife Lisa and four kids in Buddy’s  Family Vacation. The Valastros will be driving across America in an RV in search of fantastic food and family adventures.

Whether it’s feeding alligators and eating spicy Étouffée in New Orleans, preparing seafood in Savannah or stopping off in Graceland, the Valastros know how to have fun on the road!

The adventure begins at home in New Jersey, where Buddy and Lisa come up with the rules of the road to keep them on track. Then the gang packs up to go South for their first destination: Charleston, South Carolina.

Catch a special sneak peak of Buddy’s Family Vacation on Friday, May 27 at 10 E/P.  The series premieres Thursday, June 2 at 10 E/P. Get the schedule here. 

Cooks vs. Cons: All the Right and Wrong Cooking Techniques

Cooks vs. Cons, the new competition show hosted by Geoff Zakarian, premiered in April, and it’s been quite the learning experience.

Viewers don’t know who’s who in this exciting show that mixes true professionals and amateur chefs as they try to out-cook one another. Each episode is a thrilling adventure as contestants are tasked with cooking a traditional dish with surprise ingredients.

The right (and wrong) moves in the kitchen can be a dead giveaway as cooks try their hardest to impress the judges (including Josh Elkin of Sugar Showdown).

Here, we go over some of the right and wrong cooking techniques that separate the pros from the amateurs. Read on to learn how to con others into thinking you’re an expert chef.

Cooking Mac and Cheese with Peppers

Right: As seen in the episode, “Mac ‘n’ Cheese Meltdown,” a true professional would char or roast their peppers before adding them to the comfort food classic. Charred peppers would give this dish that added heat.

Wrong: An amateur would just dice the peppers and add it to the mac and cheese without cooking it first.

Cooking Burgers Using Cereal

Right: When a true professional is tasked with incorporating cereal into a burger, they use the ingredient for texture. Cereal is just the thing to give a burger some crunch. Coating onion rings, the perfect substitute for french fries, in shredded cereal is another pro-move, as seen in the episode “Burger Battle.”

Wrong: Only an amateur would think mixing cereal  with the patty is enough. Chefs must always think outside the box.

Cooking Protein with Jams

Right: Jams or jellies may not be on anyone’s radar when cooking meat, but a professional knows marmalade can become a nice glaze. Spreading it over the crispy skin of a duck, chicken or pig is a total pro move. Marmalade is tart and slightly bitter, which pairs wonderfully with protein.

Wrong: You must be an amateur if you dare to combine strawberry jam with fish. When glazing a fish like cod or salmon, go for something less sweet and more vinegary like a balsamic.

soda

Cooking Tacos Using Soda

Right: In the episode “Taco Takedown,” one contestant added orange soda and cola in their steak marinade for a Miami-style taco. The sugar from the soda balances nicely with the acidity from the sour oranges and key limes. 

Wrong: Using cola or root beer on your taco as a substitute for syrup is basic. As judge Graham Elliot explains, you want to be able to taste the soda and not second guess it.

cookies

Cooking Meat & Potatoes with Cookies

Right: A pro move is combining lamb with mint cookies for a winning combination. One contestant on the episode “Cookie Crumble” made delicious lamb chops with a mint chocolate crust. A real chef knows the earthiness of the chocolate balances the flavour of the meat perfectly.

Wrong: An amateur would only use cookie crumbs as a garnish, instead of using chunks to elevate the flavour of the meat. Go big or go home, as they say.

Watch new episodes of Cooks vs. Cons Mondays at 10 E/P. Catch up on episodes online here

Pear beer fritters

Beer-Battered Pear Fritters with Honey Drizzle

Pears give apples a run for their money in this absolutely addictive fritter recipe. The beer batter creates a light, crisp jacket around warm, tender pears. Perfect with afternoon tea or a decadent brunch, serve them warm with a drizzle of honey and a scoop of thick Greek yogurt. Choose your favourite lager for the batter, as it gives it a hint of colour, flavour and lightness to this fantastic fried treat.

Pear Beer Fritters

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 6 people

Ingredients:
3 Bartlett pears sliced lengthwise into ½ inch slices, core removed
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
¼ cup canola oil, plus more for frying
1 ¼ cup of lager
3 egg whites, whipped to stiff peaks
3 Tbsp honey

Pear Fritters

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, oil and beer. Gently fold in egg whites until combined. The consistency should be like thick pancake batter.
2. Pour enough oil into a saucepan to measure 3 inches deep. Heat oil over medium-high until its temperature reaches 375°F.
3. Dip one slice of pear into the batter to fully coat and let excess drip off.
4. Gently place pear in hot oil and fry until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Flip fritter over and continue to fry the other side for another two minutes until fritters are crisp and lightly golden in colour.
5. Remove from oil and transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with remaining pears in batches of two or three.
6. Adjust heat to maintain a temperature between 370°F and 375°F. Do not overcrowd the pot.
7. Once fritters have cooled slightly, drizzle honey over them and serve immediately with Greek yogurt or ice cream.

Looking for more great Canadian treats? Try our 9 Cool Canadian Cakes.

All New This Spring: Cooks vs. Cons, Spring Baking Championship and More

The spring forecast calls for nothing but sun as we premiere some bright new shows and bring back some of your favourites. It may be getting warmer outside, but it’s the kitchen where things are really heating up!

In Cook vs. Cons, industry experts face off against amateur cooks in a blind completion where no one — not even the judges — will know the culinary skill level of the contestants. The new series, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian, offers unexpected twists throughout the season. Kardea Brown, Josh Elkin, Daphne Oz and Graham Elliot round out the judges panel. If a professional’s dish is best, they’ll take home a prize of $10,000, but if an amateur beats the odds, they’re rewarded with an even bigger prize of $15,000!

Cooks vs. Cons premieres Monday, April 4 at 10 E/P.  Click here for schedule information.

The adventurous Noah Cappe is back on the road travelling coast to coast in search of the best and boldest carnival eats. The journey begins at Toronto’s Royal Winter Fair for a veritable feast before venturing to America, with stops in Florida and Denver. The third season of Carnival Eats promises to be the most decadent season yet.

Catch an all new season of Carnival Eats Saturday, April 9 at 8 E/P.  Click here for schedule information.

Spring Baking Championship returns with a new season that is bound to satisfy your sweet tooth! Eight of the best bakers will compete to create impressive springtime treats for the approval of judges Duff Goldman, Nancy Fuller and Lorraine Pascale. And it’s good news for Bobby Deen fans, as he returns to host the confectionery competition. Only one baker will rise and take home the $50,000 prize plus the title of Spring Baking Champion.

Spring Baking Championship returns Sunday, April 10 at 9 E/P.  Click here for schedule information.

Guy Fieri welcomes back former Triple G competitors for a chance to redeem themselves and prove their culinary skills. The five-part Grocery Games special begins with chefs trying their luck at bowling in hopes of making a hometown favourite to win them a spot in the Redemption Tournament finale. Strap yourself in for a wild ride through Flavourtown!

Guy’s Grocery Games: Redemption Tournament premieres Saturday, April 9 at 10 E/P.  Click here for schedule information.

In this wildly popular series, 12 passionate Food Network Star hopefuls compete for the chance to have their very own Food Network show. Culinary stars Giada De Laurentiis and Bobby Flay return to judge the fierce challenges in order to discover the best and brightest new face in food television. And of course, your favourite Food Network stars will make appearances.

Food Network Star premieres Sunday, May 22 at 9 E/P. 

Caesar Cocktail Dip Feature Image

Spicy Canadian Caesar Cocktail Dip for Any Party

All of the fantastic flavours that go into the classic Canadian cocktail are whirled together with sour cream and mayo to create a creamy, spicy Caesar-inspired dip. Garnish with a swirl of puréed roasted red peppers and be sure to serve with lots of crunchy celery!

Caesar Cocktail Dip

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Makes: 4-1/2 cups

Ingredients:
2 roasted whole red peppers
1 Roma tomato
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup canned baby clams, drained
1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro, plus sprig for garnishing
3 green onions, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
8 dashes Tabasco or hot sauce, preferably jalapeño, to taste
4 generous dashes Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp celery salt or Caesar rimmer
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

ingredients-caesar-dip

Directions:
1. In a food processor, pulse roasted red peppers until smooth. Scrape into a small bowl.
2. Slice tomato in half crosswise, then seed. Coarsely chop and place in rinsed food processor. Add remaining ingredients. Pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning, if you like.
3. Scrape dip into serving bowl and swirl puréed red pepper over dip. Garnish with a sprig of cilantro, if you like.

Caesar Dip Ingredients

Tip: If making ahead, dip will keep well covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Serve with tortilla chips and celery sticks for dipping.

Crazy for Caesars? Try our great Canadian Caesar garnishes.

Raspberry Cordial

Raspberry Cordial Inspired by Anne of Green Gables

A trip to Prince Edward Island wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a raspberry cordial and a tour of Green Gables, the inspirational house behind L.M. Montgomery’s famous tales of a red haired orphan named Anne.

As the much-loved children’s story goes, Anne of Green Gables accidentally serves her friend what she believed to be this fruity cordial, only to discover that she accidentally got her friend drunk on red currant wine.

This literary-inspired blushing beverage is sweet, tart and best served chilled with sliced lemon and fresh mint.

Raspberry Cordial

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 12-24 hours
Makes: 7 cups

Ingredients:
2 bags (each 400 g) frozen raspberries, about 5 1/2 cups
6 cups water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions:
1. Place raspberries in large heatproof bowl.
2. Bring water and sugar to boil in a small saucepan until sugar dissolves. Pour sugar water over raspberries. Cool to room temperature.
3. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
4. Strain into bowl. Reserve raspberries for another use.
5. Stir in lemon juice.
6. Serve chilled. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.

Tip: You can press the raspberries to extract more juice, however, it will cause the cordial to be cloudy.

Top up your glass with sparkling water for a raspberry spritzer!