Monday, March 19, 2012

Top Chef Canada 2 episode 1: Nice to meet you Chefs

After watching the first episode of Top Chef Canada a few times we now have a few ideas about how the competition might pan out. It is really too early to pick any possible winners or even finalists because there are so many people in the kitchen. The people in the top or bottom are called out on the show put the Chef’s in the middle are really under the radar. Last season in episode 1 thequick fire challenge was a skills competition that really did demonstrate who had some of the best chops in the kitchen so we were a bit disappointed that they chose not do this again. We guess the show’s Producers wanted to throw a curve ball at the Chefs by not repeating the same challenge.
We noticed that the 3 female competitors look very fierce despite their obvious mistakes. Chef Elizabeth Rivasplata, who mistook a parmesan tuile for potato in the quick fire, also had one of the best dishes in the second half of the show. Remember Connie DeSousa the butcher ballerina, and finalist, from season 1? Rivasplata, originally from Lima Peru, is a martial arts expert. As we pointed out earlier if there is any truth to what Anthony Bourdain says about Peruvians in the kitchen then Rivasplata will no doubt be a strong competitor. Sarah Tsai, who took the quickfire challenge, but overcooked her beef in the next challenge. Despite her diminutive size Chef Tsai looks like a force to be reckoned with. Trista Sheen took top honors in the 2nd challenge and looks like she will go far in the competition. In fact, if we had to pick one Chef after the first episode we would go with Sheen.
Despite the lack of female competitors in the competition (and Montreal) we are excited about the the fact this crop of Chefs really reflects Canada’s cultural mosaic and therefore our cuisines. The different backgrounds of the Chefs will no doubt mean that we will see some interesting plates. Kunal Ghose’s east Indian Fish & Chips, one of the top dishes, is a perfect example. Using a cucumber raita as a tartar sauce for the Chef sounds like a delicious idea. If Ghose can keep this type of innovative cuisine he will go far in the competition.  We were also very impressed with Curtis Lok’s Peking Duck because who does not love this dish? Lok, despite having no formal culinary training, showed real kitchen smarts by serving the judges his duck.
And the worst? We know it is not a real season of Top Chef without foam and Jimmy Stewart delivered the goods with his bread foam. Bread foam just sounds like foam for the sake of foam’s sake and was just a bad idea. William Thompson’s dish looked like a mistake on the plate and was sent home. 
The next episode of Top Chef features guest judge Mike Holmes. Is his show produced by Shaw media like Top Chef? Seems weird to have him on the show. From the look of things, colored construction hats, the show will be a team challenge. 

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