Top Chef Canada Season 2 kicked off last night with the customary introduction to the judges – Chef Mark McEwan and Shereen Arazm – and a big welcome to Lisa Ray, the new host this season.
Contestants were flown into Toronto from all across Canada in hopes of becoming the next Top Chef. 16 contestant will compete this season but only 3 females will have a shot at the title. I’m sure many viewers will agree, it would have been nice to see a more even distribution of men and women, but we’ll reserve judgement until after a few episodes.
The Quickfire Challenge
The quickfire challenge was to create a new hors d’oeuvre from the repurposed appetizers presented at the welcome party. This spread was put out at Chef Mark McEwans’s own Toronto restaurant, the Bymark. The reward was immunity for the week – and the stakes were high. Five minutes into the challenge, Gabriell Cruz sliced his finger- a poor start considering this is supposed to be a challenge with the top chefs in the country.
The judges were blunt in their tastings, giving the contestants what Elizabeth Rivasplata called a “very cold shower.” She was later called out as one of the worst tastings for mistaking a parmesan crisp for potato. Sarah Tsai won for her dish – a repurposed raw oyster with grape ‘pearls’. It was her innovative use of the ingredients that impressed the judges and kept her safe until Week 2.
The Elimination Challenge
In the elimination challenge, Canada’s number one home chef, Michael Smith, took on the role of guest judge. The contestants had to create a dish that offered the judges insights into their hometown.
Chaos reigned as contestants scrambled to get their own space and Elizabeth ended up covered in soya sauce, after bumping into Sarah’s marinated beef bowl. David Chrystian showed himself as the calm and collected spirit in the group. David is one of the oldest contestants this season and showed his maturity by labeling his pots – a good idea with 15 others on the stove. However, David under-seasoned his chicken – an amateur mistake that did not sit well with the judges. Curtis Luk showed his lack of experience with his unsuccessful attempts at flipping his crepes. He did, however, nail his flavors, which likely kept him safe through Week 1. Sarah Tsai, winner of immunity, grossly overcooked her beef by forgetting it in the oven.
The top meals were made by Trista Sheen, Curtis Luk, Kunal Ghose, and Elizabeth Rivasplata. Trista won for her meal of classic meat and potatoes. Her prize was $2000 and, of course, bragging rights.
The worst meals were made by: Sarah Tsai, William Thompson, Jimmy Stewart and David Chrystian. Sarah was lucky she had immunity, as she most likely would have been sent home for her burnt dish.
At the end of the episode, William was eliminated after failing to impress the judges with his dish of smoked quail.
Next episode features Mike Holmes with a challenge to feed 100 hungry construction workers.
Do you think William deserved to be sent home first?