Tag Archives: shows

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!

Peanut Butter and Ice Wine Jelly Bars

If there were two ingredients that belong together, that everyone can unanimously agree complement each other in best possible way, its peanut butter and jelly. The perfect combination of sweet and salty, these peanut butter and ice wine jelly bars are an irresistible snack, with a unique Canadian twist. Ice wine jelly gives these sweet treats a downright grown-up taste that will surely satisfy your PB &J cravings.

Peanut Butter and Ice Wine Jelly Bars

Peanut Butter and Ice Wine Jelly Bars

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes: 12 squares

Ingredients:

Shortbread Cookie Base Layer:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups flour

Peanut Butter and Jam Layer:

1 cup ice wine jelly
1 x 7g package gelatin
1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 – 2 Tbsp crushed peanuts

Peanut Butter and ice Wine Jelly Bar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 9 inch square baking tin with parchment paper with overhanging sides.
2. In a large bowl combine butter and sugar. Using a wooden spoon, beat until creamy and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together salt and flour. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat until well combined.
3. Press shortbread evenly into prepared tin. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.
4. While shortbread base is cooling, make peanut butter and jam layer. Heat ice wine jelly in a saucepan on low heat to melt slowly, about 2 to 3 minutes. In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over hot water and stir to combine. Leave for 5 minutes. Add gelatin mixture to melted jam and stir to combine. Leave to cool.
5. When shortbread base has cooled (about 1 hour), spread jam mixture evenly over top. Dollop tablespoons of peanut butter on top of jam. Use a toothpick to swirl peanut butter into jam. Top with crushed peanuts. Refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour or up to 12.

Peanut Butter and Ice Wine Jelly Bars

padma

Sink Your Teeth Into Padma Lakshmi’s New Memoir

For the past 12 seasons of Top Chef, host Padma Lakshmi has continued to be stylish and sophisticated, without any pretension. Each week we’ve seen her introduce challenges, judge dishes and politely demand contestants to “please pack your knives and go.” But there’s much more to this woman when the cameras stop rolling. From comfort foods to stormy relationships and chronic illnesses, Padma reveals it all with gusto in her new memoir, Love, Loss and What We Ate.

Released on International Women’s Day, Padma’s book offers readers an honest memoir of her life, using food to frame her story.

Padma’s Favourite Foods

Padma’s memories of growing up in India are interspersed with some of her favourite recipes; yogurt rice, kumquat and ginger chutney, and kichidi, a rice and lentil porridge. All these and more are sprinkled throughout her memoir.

Padma explains she was on a lacto-vegetarian Hindu Brahmin diet in her teens, so she found it hard to eat American foods at first, sticking only to rice. At one point, Padma even dubbed herself the “most practiced rice aficionado.”

As an adult, cooking became the best way to mask her insecurities. At dinner parties with former husband Salman Rushdie and his intellectual friends, Padma writes she was nervous to speak freely and instead spent time in the kitchen keeping her hands busy. She would often get lost in cooking, making three times the amount of food, without having any room to store leftovers.

Padma’s Personal Struggles

Growing up in America, you’re exposed to a lot of different cultures, and unfortunately, Padma struggled with her identity at a young age. She even went so far as to change her name to Angelique to Americanize herself. She writes candidly about getting egged and being called names by other girls in school because of her ethnicity. As Padma got older, she felt like less of an outsider and eventually became comfortable in her own skin.

Padma also reveals her experience with endometriosis, a painful uterine disorder in which tissue grows outside the organ. For years she hid this condition from her family, still in denial even after being rushed to the hospital due to chronic pain. Padma writes that she did not want to be defined by her condition, one that 10 percent of women have. Endometriosis is one of three major causes of infertility, so in 2009, Padma launched The Endometriosis Foundation of America, an organization focused on increasing awareness and education of the disorder.

Padma’s On-Set Concoctions

With Top Chef being the sister show to Project Runway, it made sense for a model to host the show — but Padma always strives to be more than just a pretty face. In her memoir, she cites instances where she felt inferior to the accomplished chefs who appear as judges. But lucky for her, it didn’t take long to make her mark in the culinary world.

Shooting a television show is a lot of ‘hurry up and wait,’ and during that waiting, Padma would eat. She eventually taught many colleagues how to make her childhood classic: chili cheese toast. And because she constantly tastes food on the show, Padma created a special drink to cleanse her digestive pipes. She calls it the Cranberry Drano. It includes cranberry juice, clear fiber powder and one pack of Emergen-C with hot green tea and honey. We’ll cheers to that!

Love, Loss and What We Ate is available in bookstores now.

Maple Pie Parfait

How to Make Canadian Maple Pie Parfaits

Picture all the yummy goodness that goes into a traditional Canadian maple pie — maple syrup, buttery crust, pecans — all layered into an elegant parfait. In classic fashion, this scrumptious dessert is best topped with decadent crème fraiche or whipped cream.

Maple Pie Parfaits

Canadian Maple Pie Parfaits
Total Time: 180 minutes
Makes: 4 parfaits

Ingredients:

Maple Custard:
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups whole milk, 3.8%
1/2 tsp maple extract

Buttery Pecan Pie Crust:
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp whole roasted or toasted pecans
2 generous pinches salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1/2 tsp lemon juice, optional

Topping:
1 cup crème fraiche or whipped cream
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
8 tsp maple syrup

Maple Pie Parfait Custard

Directions:

1. Prepare Maple Custard by placing yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth and evenly mixed. Set bottom of bowl on a kitchen towel to help secure to counter. Pour milk into a medium saucepan. Set over medium. Heat, stirring occasionally until steaming, about 5 minutes. Scrape bottom to avoid scalding. When milk is steaming, remove from heat. Slowly whisk half of milk into egg mixture, being careful not to scramble.
2. Slowly whisk egg-milk mixture back into remaining milk in saucepan. Set over medium. Heat, whisking frequently, being careful not to scramble until thickened and the first bubble pops, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat immediately.
3. Immediately pour through a fine-mesh sieve back into bowl. Using bottom of a ladle, swirl and push through sieve. Scrape any custard from bottom of sieve. Whisk maple extract into custard until evenly mixed. Press a piece of plastic wrap over surface of custard. Cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. If making ahead, custard will keep well, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Maple Pie Parfait Crust
4. Meanwhile, prepare Buttery Pecan Pie Crust. Mix flour, sugar and pecans in a food processor until pecans are ground. Add butter and pulse until pea-sized crumbs form. Mix until dough comes together. Add lemon juice, if needed. Scrape over a large piece of plastic wrap. Wrap and shape dough into a disc. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
5. Roll chilled dough out on a generously floured surface until 1/4–inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or a knife, cut out 4 leaf-shaped pieces, each about 2 inches wide. Carefully transfer to one side of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Next, transfer remaining dough to other side of baking sheet. Don’t worry about it’s rough shape or if it tears a little. The remaining baked piece will be mostly crumbled later anyway. Roughly cut this dough into 2-inch pieces. Chill in the fridge until firm.
6. Preheat oven to 325°F (160C).
7. Bake prepared dough in centre of preheated oven until lightly golden, 15 minutes. Remove to a rack. Let cool completely.
8. When ready to serve parfaits, layer ingredients in 4 parfait cups, each with a 1 cup capacity. Begin with 1/4 cup chilled Maple Custard topped with 2 Tbsp crème fraiche in each glass. Crumble 1 rough square cookie overtop. Sprinkle each with chopped pecans. Drizzle each with 1 tsp maple syrup. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients. Garnish each with leaf-shaped piece of crust.

Looking for more delicious Canadian treats ? Try our 10 Great Canadian Desserts.

CIYE - Jake Donaldson Chef Jordan Andino

Jake Takes the Cake as Chef in Your Ear Juniors Champ

When 14-year-old Jake Donaldson appeared on Chef in Your Ear Juniors, his goal was simple: be a better cook than his dad, who only makes cereal. Now the first Juniors champion can brag about his winning crab cakes — and about busting out his dance moves on national television.

Dancing helped Jake deal with his nerves.

First of all, who or what inspired you to go on the show?
When I found out what it was, I just really wanted to do it.  Even the name of the show, Chef In Your Ear, it seemed like a cool concept and I was hooked right away. Why not try new things?

Since winning, have you made any more crab cakes?
I haven’t made any more crab cakes because my life is really busy with music and dancing and singing. Now I at least know how to make crab cakes — maybe better than my mom or dad — so maybe one day I’ll do it again for the family!

What has the response been like from your classmates and teachers?
It’s actually really cool because a group of my friends invited me over when the show aired. We went to my friend’s house, had a party to watch the show. They all made fun of me, because I was holding the knife upside down, and I didn’t cut the lemon in half to squeeze it to get the juice out.

Any behind the scenes secrets you can share?
If anyone has seen my episode and saw how stressful it was, it was exactly that stressful. I didn’t know beforehand what I was cooking so it was stressful trying to figure it out, but tons of fun at the same time.

Jake's winning dish, King Crab Cakes with Lemon Aoili and Herb Salad.

Jake’s winning dish, King Crab Cakes with Lemon Aoili and Herb Salad.

What do you think of the host Greg Komorowski – is he as funny in person as he is on the show?
Greg is as funny in person, yeah. He’s cracking jokes left and right and it was so fun working with him. He’s as cool as when you see him on TV.

Your competitor Liv, you’d never met before right?
It was our first time meeting each other. I haven’t kept in touch with Liv. I have to find his social media so I can keep up with him. It was such a fun time working with Liv as well.

Hopefully he’ll read this interview and reach out! You were on Chef Jordan  Andino’s team – what’s so cool about him?
He reminds me a lot of myself. Very energetic, very fun but serious at the same time, knowing we had to get the job done. It was so fun working with him. He’s basically an older version of me. That energy came through, even just through the earpiece.

Jordan Andino, Greg Komorowski, Jake Donaldson, Chef In Your Ear

So if Jordan’s an older version of you, does that mean you’ll soon have a restaurant in the Hamptons?
I have no idea if I’ll have a restaurant one day. As I said before, I’m focusing my passion on my music and my dancing right now. But you never know, one day ‘Chef’ might be a good title.

Watch Jake’s episode “Let Them Eat Cakes”, and catch up on Chef In Your Ear Juniors with a March Break marathon starting Tuesday, March 15. See schedule here

Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

If brunch has taught us one thing, it’s that Sunday mornings were made for indulgence. So why not indulge in the most Canadian way possible; with a Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich?
Peameal bacon plays the starring role, but like every Canadian knows, no breakfast is complete without maple syrup. This is why we’ve sandwiched smoky Canadian cheddar, peameal bacon, eggs, apple and a maple-mustard sauce between a warm, homemade maple biscuit.  Breakfast doesn’t get any more Canadian than this.

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

The Great Canadian Breakfast Sandwich

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 4 sandwiches

Ingredients:

Biscuits:
1 cup 35% cream
3 Tbsp maple syrup, plus more for brushing
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Sandwich:
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
4 tsp canola oil
8 slices peameal bacon
4 large eggs
75 g smoked cheddar, thinly sliced
1 gala apple, thinly sliced

Maple Biscuit

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine cream and 3 Tbsp maple syrup. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, stir flour with baking powder and salt. Using your hands, work in butter until mixture becomes crumbly. Gradually add cream mixture, stirring until dough comes together. Turn out dough onto a floured work surface and gently pat or roll into a 1/2-inch thick disc. Using a 3 1/2-inch round cutter, stamp out rounds and place on baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush tops with maple syrup. Bake until golden, about 10 to 12 minutes.
4. In a small bowl, stir mustard with 2 Tbsp maple syrup. Set aside.
5. Pat bacon dry using a paper towel. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp oil then bacon, cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe pan clean and add remaining oil. Crack eggs into pan, breaking yolks if desired. When whites are almost set, cover and cook 30 seconds more.
6. To assemble, cut 4 biscuits in half. Smother both halves with maple-mustard mixture. Top bottom half with cheese, bacon, egg and apple slices. Sandwich with remaining biscuit half.

Looking for more delicious breakfast ideas? Try one of these 10 Great Canadian Breakfasts.

The Women Who Inspire Our Stars

To celebrate International Women’s Day today, the stars of Food Network Canada are eager to tip their chef’s hat off to the women who have inspired them the most. From long time family friends to up-and-comers, these women have made a lasting impression in and outside the kitchen.

141x141-Anne-Yarymowich

Anne Yarymowich’s Local Influence

“The most influential woman in the trajectory of my career as a chef has to be hands down Donna Dooher; local talent, entrepreneur, chef, restaurant proprietor and current president of Restaurants Canada,” says the Chopped Canada judge.

Donna Dooher

“Donna, chef and owner of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen (the reincarnation of Mildred Pierce Restaurant), took me on and gave me a chance at my first position as Chef de Cuisine.  The restaurant, named after the film noir Mildred Pierce, featuring Joan Crawford as a gutsy female restaurant entrepreneur, opened its doors for its first brunch on International Women’s Day, March 8, 1990.

I cut my teeth and built my reputation as a chef as the restaurant gained success and acclaim with the support, guidance and mentorship of Donna Dooher. Throughout my career, I have done my best to pay it forward to as many women chefs as I could.  A shout out has to go to my Mom who taught me not only how to cook, but how to be a decent human being.”

Devin Connell

Devin Connell’s Family Friend

This Chef in Your Ear star says Mary Risley from Tante Marie Cooking School in San Francisco made the biggest impact on her career. “Mary started one of North America’s most respected cooking schools, is an award winning cookbook author, the founder of Food Runners (The American Second Harvest) and was at the forefront of the slow food movement in California, along with Alice Waters. She has been a long time family friend who allowed me to stay with her in San Francisco before I started Delica,” she says.

“Being with Mary was always an adventure, whether it was having lunch with Chuck Williams (founder of Williams-Sonoma), taking daily visits to the best local farmers markets, or preparing grand feasts in her cooking studio with her foodie friends. She taught me that the best food starts with the best quality ingredients. She also taught me to go with my gut, and not to get too precious about process. She has a famous YouTube video called Just Put the $%&!ing Turkey in the Oven. That pretty much sums her up. She’s brutally honest, for better or worse, which is what you need from a mentor.”

141x141-Eden-Grinshpan

Eden Grinshpan’s Fellow Food Mates

This Chopped Canada judge fell in love with cooking when she discovered Food Network Canada in grade 10.

Food Network Canada

“Some of my favorite shows were hosted by women. Nigella Lawson, Rachel Ray and Ina Garten were my top faves, and they always made food seem so effortless, fun and exciting! It was definitely a huge inspiration for me to get into the kitchen and eventually apply to culinary school,” she says.

Elizabeth Falkner

Elizabeth Faulkner’s Protégé

“I had a protégé years ago, a pastry chef named Maya Erikson and she just did one of those Munchies videos,” explains the judge of Donut Showdown.  “[Maya is] super cute, super talented and dedicated. She’s really young too — she started with me when she was like 16 and stuck around, becoming one of the pastry chefs at my restaurant. Later, [at the age of 23] she went on to work at a restaurant called Lazy Bear in San Francisco.”

Anna-Olson-Chef-Head-01

Anna Olson’s Grandmother

“I think about mentorship more and more as I progress through my career and life,” says the Bake With Anna Olson star.  “I think this is because I have transitioned from the apprentice to the teacher, and with that comes an appreciation for those who have guided me personally and professionally throughout my life, many of them women. I’d like to share my very first and most impactful mentor in my life: my grandmother.

Grandma took care of her family but took the most pleasure in cooking and baking for them.  As a child, I quickly came to appreciate that if I wanted to spend time with Grandma, then I had to spend time in the kitchen.  At an early age she would set me to task on easy things — learning how to break eggs easily or whisk up a pancake batter and as I grew, she would challenge me with greater responsibility. We connected over cookies, cakes and doughnuts, and in her later years, when her memory would betray her, I could see the sparkle come back in her eye when we started talking about cabbage rolls and perogies.  Her name was Julia, and even though I would fondly watch Julia Child flambée and sautée her way around the kitchen on TV, it was my own Grandma Julia that was my personal mentor.”

The Ultimate Canadian Kitchen Sink Cookie

If there’s one cookie that will both satisfy your cravings and fill you with Canadian pride, it’s this one. A twist on the classic chocolate chip cookie, this wacky recipe combines uniquely Canadian junk food, like Hickory Sticks and Coffee Crisp, with good old-fashioned maple fudge, so you get a bit of Canada in every single bite.

The result: a cookie that’s so Canadian, it can only be made here.

Canadian Compost Cookie

Canadian Kitchen Sink Cookie

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Makes: 14 cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup Hickory Sticks
1/2 cup Coffee Crisp Bites, halved or 1 Coffee Crisp bar, roughly chopped
1/2 cup maple fudge, roughly chopped

Directions:
1. Arrange oven racks in top and bottom thirds. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, stir flour with salt, baking soda and baking powder.
3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugars until creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in egg. Using a wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour mixture until just combined. Mix in remaining ingredients.
4. Roll dough into balls about 2 Tbsp in size and place on prepared sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake cookies, rotating and switching sheets halfway through, until edges are just golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Looking for more Canadian treats? Discover 10 Iconic Canadian Foods You Can Make at Home.

Secret Timbit Cupcakes

Can’t choose between cupcakes or doughnuts for your next party? Now you can have your cupcake and eat your doughnut too. We’re bringing you the best of both dessert worlds with these deceptively plain vanilla cupcakes.
Take a bite and you’ll find that each one carries an iconic Canadian treat – a Timbit! We think you’ll agree that these bite-sized doughnuts have never been such a sweet secret.

Timbit Cupcake
Secret Timbit Cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Makes: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
1 pkg vanilla cake mix
24 Timbits

Vanilla Icing:
1 cup unsalted butter
4 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla extract

Timbit Cupcake

Directions:

1. Preheat oven according to vanilla cake package directions. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
2. Prepare cake mix batter. Drop 1 tbsp of batter into each liner. Top each with one Timbit. Drizzle 2 tbsp of batter over each Timbit to coat. It’s okay that batter will not fully cover doughnut.
3. Bake according to package directions, until a skewer inserted into cupcakes come out clean. Cupcakes may have a ‘dip’ in the centre. Transfer to a rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
4.To make icing, beat unsalted butter with an electric mixer in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in icing sugar, alternating with cream when it gets too thick. Beat in vanilla until very smooth.
5. Spread icing on cooled cupcakes using a spoon, or fill a piping bag fitted with a star tip and swirl frosting on cupcakes.
6. Serve and enjoy!

Timbit Cupcakes

Substitution Tip: We used chocolate Timbits in our cupcakes, but you can use any Timbit flavour of our choice. We recommend using chocolate cake mix and icing (instead of vanilla), if you want to use plain Timbits.

Chopped Canada: Signs Things Are Going Awry in the Kitchen

It’s one thing to cook from the comfort of your own restaurant kitchen, but finding yourself on the set of Chopped Canada means two things: you’re good enough to compete on national television and the heat is on.

Claudia Bianchi can tell when a contestant is in over their head. The Chopped Canada culinary producer shares the warning signs that a contestant is headed for trouble.

888_chopped-canada-kitchen

They’re frantic in the pantry.
“Sometimes they have a missing ingredient, where they’re looking and searching,” says Bianchi. “One time a chef yelled out, ‘Any red onion?’ and another competitor replied, ‘I’m a Canadian and I’m happy to share.’” That chef was lucky, says Bianchi, as a missing ingredient means switching plans in the middle of a round, which can throw off a chef’s concentration — and their final dish.

They’re scrambling.
It’s normal for chefs to break a sweat during Chopped Canada’s timed challenges, but there’s a difference between hustling and struggling, and you can see it on the plates, says Bianchi. “Not having enough time to plate the dish and scrambling with not enough time for presentation at the end,” are clear indications of trouble.

They’re bleeding.
“Most competitors come to the Chopped Canada kitchen with confidence in their cooking and knife skills — these are almost a given because it’s what they do everyday,” says Bianchi. “But nerves can get the best of some of the competitors, and we see nicks and cuts on their fingers.” Some chefs recover quickly from these uncharacteristic cuts, while others start to unravel.

They’ve got pots on every burner.
If you can’t multitask, you can’t run a restaurant kitchen, and you certainly can’t compete on Chopped Canada. But it is possible to have too many things on the go at once, says Bianchi. “Sometimes the whole stove is full, then they’re running to the deep fryer. And things are burning and bubbling over. We see burns.”

Watch Chopped Canada on Saturdays at 9 E/P.

Brad Smith’s Dinner Date Dos and Don’ts

As a former Bachelor star, current Chopped Canada host Brad Smith knows a thing or two about dating. We caught up with Smith to learn some of his best tips for a deliciously simple and romantic date night, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Brad Smith

Don’t Wait for V-Day
Valentine’s Day is just another day of the week,” says Brad. If your romance needs rekindling, celebrate it, but otherwise being thoughtful and caring with every date is the best approach.

Forget the Dark Corners — Love Needs Light
“Do go somewhere where you can hear [your date],” says Smith, preferably a spot that’s not too dark. And if you can, sit next to each other. “I always order a four person table and then tell them it’s only two people. That way we can both sit in the booth or both sit on the chairs.” This proximity helps establish a closer connection, Smith suggests.

Turn it Off to Turn Them On
Brad Smith reveals another advantage of sitting close is that’s it’s harder to reach for the date-killer lurking in your pocket — your phone.

Mac and Cheese

“Whether you make mac and cheese or fine dining, the important part is trying,” says Smith.

Trying is Sexy
If you want to impress your boo — on Valentine’s Day or any other — it’s all about effort. “You can make me macaroni and cheese and hot dogs and I’d like it as much as if you made me some fine dining,” explains Smith. “There’s nothing like coming home to the thought of someone doing something for you, regardless of what it is.”

Be Clear About Your Intentions
“In the industry I’m in, you either meet people you’ve known beforehand or you meet people at events and they’re kind of like your first date,” he says. “You don’t have to be like, ‘Oh, can we get a drink?’ because you just had a drink and talked for three hours at an event.” But in other professions, Smith admits a little candour goes a long way. Always establish that a date is a date, and not, say, a networking lunch or business coffee.

Tune-in on Saturdays at 9 E/P to catch Brad Smith on Chopped Canada.

You Gotta Eat Here: Dining for One on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be tough for single people but going out to dinner that night can be a nightmare! With restaurants full of annoying couples smooching through overpriced prix fixe menus, it’s enough to make you hide at home with a pizza.

But this year is going to be different. This Valentine’s Day, don’t hide your single self inside your house, go out and eat your feelings! And these restaurants from the upcoming 5th season of You Gotta Eat Here! have meals so good, you’ll want to enjoy all to yourself.

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1. Prohibition (Montreal, QC) – Fried Chicken and Deep-Fried Challah French Toast

If no one’s making you hollah at home, get yourself some of this deep fried challah French toast with crispy fried chicken instead. Prohibition takes chicken and waffles to the next level with deep fried French toast, which is exactly as delicious as it sounds.

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2. The Cure (Toronto, ON) – Southern Pork Chop

Is there anything better than a pork chop to make you feel better? How about a pork chop that’s been marinated in butter milk then pan fried in crispy, golden cornmeal? With a plate of cheesy grits and cucumber relish, you’ll be glad to have this meal at The Cure all to yourself.

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3. Flavio al Velovevodetto (Rome, Italy) – Ravioli fatte in casa alla velavevodetto

While those other suckers are spending their money on roses and chocolates, why not treat yourself to a trip to Rome! Flavio’s handmade ravioli stuffed with creamy fresh ricotta, smothered in fresh tomatoes and more ricotta will make you forget your own name.

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4. Cartems Donuterie (Vancouver, BC) – Earl Grey Cake Doughnut

So no one sent you flowers for Valentine’s Day? Who cares? Cartems Donuterie makes an Earl Grey tea glazed doughnut with rose petals sprinkled on top. Flowers wilt, love fades, but a doughnut sprinkled with roses is forever!

Catch the season 5 premiere of You Gotta Eat Here! Friday, February 26 at 9 E/P and catch up on episodes online.

 

$100 donut

Original $100 Doughnut Created by West Kelowna Bakery

Only in New York would a bakery be so bold as to create a gold doughnut with a $100 price tag. But Jeanne Kaminski will have you know that the original $100 doughnut was invented right here on Canadian soil. The owner of West Kelowna’s Dolicious Donuts & Coffee created The Donutopia, covered in 24-karat gold, last summer. Kaminski set her sights on creating the immaculate confection to help raise money to start a soup kitchen in their community.

“We wanted a doughnut that gave back to the community,” says Kaminski, who recently showed off her skills on Sugar Showdown.

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Photo courtesy of Dolicious Donuts & Coffee.

Kaminski started dreaming up her creation when a customer asked her to create a special doughnut to hide an engagement ring in. From there, Kaminski let her imagination run wild, challenging herself to create the most decadent doughnut around.

The Donutopia starts with dough made with Bling H2O, a luxury water that hails from the hills of Tennessee and retails for $39. The cream filling is infused with local winery, Rollingdale’s 2008 ice wine, which pairs well with the handmade chocolate curls. Aged balsamic vinegar is the secret ingredient in the chocolate icing, then it is decorated with 24-karat gold leaf and edible sugar diamonds. The first one she and her team made took seven hours, now they have it down to a cool four.

“The flavours are incredible. It is perfect pairing,” she says. “With the flavours and the texture in it, it takes like a million bucks.”

Since the first extravagant creation, Dolicious Donuts & Coffee has sold about a dozen more of their immaculate $100 desserts. In fact, whenever they receive an order for one, they make two, so the staff can taste the luxurious treat.

Kaminski would love the opportunity to pit her creation against the shiny Brooklyn counterpart for a $100 doughnut taste test. “Anything that bring attention to doughnuts is an amazing thing,” she says.

Kaminski is already planning her next ambitious creation — the spiciest doughnut. The fiery treat will feature homemade hot sauce made with B.C. grown peppers and topped with a chocolate-covered scorpion. She says buyers will be warned and will have to sign a waiver before they take their first bite. We can’t wait to taste it.

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

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

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

Evelyn Wu and Wayne Morris

Photo courtesy of Boralia.

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

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

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

Leclade smoked mussels

Photo courtesy of Boralia.

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

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

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

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

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Photo courtesy of Boralia.

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

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

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

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

Chefs Share Their First Job in the Industry

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

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Craig Harding

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

Jordan Andino

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

Devin Connell

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

Cory Vitiello

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

Rob Rossi

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

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

halifax donair

How to Make a Nova Scotia-Inspired Donair Kebab

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

halifax donair

Nova Scotia Donair Kebab

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

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

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

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

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

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Greg Komorowski

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

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

1. He’s got a sweet tooth

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

2. He loves Italian food

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

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

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

4. His last meal would be . . . huge

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

5. Perogies made him the man he is today

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

6. Europe changed him

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

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

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

8. He can’t resist chicken and waffles

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

9. He’s a great listener

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

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

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

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

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Mark McEwan

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

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1. He Can’t Get Enough of Susur Lee

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

2. He Suffers for His Art

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

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

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

4. He Worked His Way Up

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

5. He’s Organized, Really Organized

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

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

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

7. He Loves Junk Food

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

8. His Wife is His Favourite Cook

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

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

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

10. He’s Got a Solid Hangover Plan

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

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