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Top Chef Canada Ep 1 [also has discussion of episode 2]

So what do we think? Me I'm not a huge fan of Mcewen, but he was OK. The host was not Padma. The other judge, well I didn't like her. Vic was pretty good though.

As far as the cheftestants go.....to early to say who I like Connie has mad skills though.

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  1. Was on the fence about the series but the first episode was impressive. Agree with Connie showing everyone how it's done. Couldn't name the top 4 yet but I hope she's one of them.

    I would love to try that seal flipper. Might have to track down a jar of it and have it shipped to Calgary.

    1. Am enjoying the show so far, but am inclined to agree about the third judge.

      I also agree that Connie looks to be a contender (though doesn't seem to have much of a personality). I'm guessing that Francois will also go far, given that he made it to the top 4 even without his sauce.

      Does anyone else find it to be a really homogenous group of cheftestants? Practically all white guys...I can't tell most of them apart from one another.

      1 Reply
      1. re: torontofoodiegirl

        Agreed on both points I have to think about it for a while to come up with more names beyond Francois and Connie......actually Rob was pretty good (I think he is rob)

        I hope it finds it own groove and tries to be a little bit different then the stellar US edition. At least the all stars season was steller.

      2. It's a stone dead concept. Haven't you had enough of these dim-witted culinary "Survivor" series?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kagemusha

          Honestly no, Top Chef is one of my must see shows every week, I like food and I like competition. As far as dim-witted is concerned at least it is not Iron Chef America.

        2. I'm hoarding this on PVR until the weekend, but as a former chef I have a lot of respect for Mark McEwan, and I'm very much looking forward to this series.

          I don't think these shows are "dim-witted" at all. For someone like me who misses a professional kitchen, they're like a bit of weekly crack....highly addictive.

          1. As always, the Canadian version is always a bit sad. It's never as good as the US version.

            McEwan was stiff - hopefully he will loosen up as the show goes on. That other judge seems kinda bitchy.

            Loblaws is not good enough for chefs - are they really just going to cook the generic proteins available at Loblaws? So there won't be any game or foie gras? No caviar and truffles? Not that you can't make great food without luxury ingredients but they won't even have access to anything that the average person can't buy at Loblaws? Hopefully they will get to to the the St. Lawrence Market once in a while. I usually have to get some of my ingredients at Loblaws and some at the St. Lawrence. Seal flipper? Never heard of that. Wonder where you can try some.

            The contestants seem ok so far. Hard to tell after just one episode. Kinda like Connie. Ditto Francois. Surprised Rob did so well - Mercatto is fine but nothing spectacular.

            2 Replies
            1. re: chefhound

              I have to agree chefhound. The use of Loblaws really underscores that the priority is on advertising revenue vs authenticity. The St. Lawrence Mkt. or even Wholefoods in keeping w the US version - either would be a better choice. ..but Loblaws! Yikes!

              Also, agree that McEwan needs to lighten up, even Collichio can manage a smile or makes a crack from time to time. It's a pity they didn't attract a Canadian Chef w more of an International presence like Susur Lee, Lynn Crawford, John Higgins or Rob Feenie.

              Then there's the Canadian Padma who appears to have the personality of a wet sock.

              I love Top Chef and sure hope the chefs they've picked can save this version.

              1. re: chefhound

                This looks unlikely as Loblaws is one of the underwriters of the show. There is a possibility that they may shop in McEwan's grocery store, is that still around? One thing that was glaring was that some of the contestants were seen buying meat that was wrapped in the styrofoam trays. I'm not trying to be snobbish, but I've never seen this on the US Top Chef, as they always go to the butcher counter.

                Kind of ridiculous to see the four chefs share one plate of food, when everyone had adequate time to plate more. I still don't like McEwan as a TV personality. I hear he's a great chef and a great person, but it doesn't translate onto TV, seems very pompous to be honest.

                Overall, I neither loved nor hated the show. The chefs seem pretty bland and so do their dishes (still can't wrap my head over someone putting out steak and potatoes as a signature dish). But it's just the first episode. And while I'm not bothered that everyone on the show is "White" (it's a loaded term, and a pretty diverse group, ie there's someone from Nfld, two or three Quebecois, someone who's Hispanic, etc.) but I find it really weird that they could only get three female chefs.

              2. I thought it was OK - I found the Quickfire odd with the 3 parts to it, and honestly what else is going to come of Hollandaise and Fish? And I laughed out loud at the judges passing the plates around in the Elimination challenge - why didn't the contestants make 4 plates?

                1. 1st episode was ok.

                  McEwan will need to get into the persona.
                  Hostess did not make an impression on me yet (she's no Padma or Katie Lee Joel)

                  Using Loblaw's is a shame; unless they have a better quality store in TO.

                  Constestants, mix bag of good and bad, young and experienced; weirdos and professionals; will see about that, and that is what the show is all about


                  1. I actually liked it more than I expected to, though some parts did seem a little amateurish. Make each judge their own plate, for chrissakes. And I hope they branch out from Loblaws, too.

                    I'd love to see them do a neighbourhoods challenge like they did in one of the Top Chef seasons, the one in NYC. Each contestant had to make a dish that represents a neighbourhood using ingredients bought in that neighbourhood. I think it would be a lot of fun.

                    1. absolutely terrible episode. so plain and boring as most canadian shows are. i can't believe how under represented montreal is

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: celfie

                        My point. They had a chance to break free of the past and innovate; instead, it's the same old scowling maestro, snippy accomplice, and sweaty contestants. No CanCon in terms of food, locale, tradition--as piccola suggested. FN.ca is circling the drain and, if this is evidence, the spin is quickening.

                        1. re: Kagemusha

                          Curious as to whether you actually watched the show.

                          It seems a little premature to complain about the lack of 'CanCon' based on a single introductory episode.

                          That said, I did find the show somewhat flat and clunky, and am definitely not a fan of McEwen's screen persona.

                          1. re: T.O.fiddlehead

                            Let's see. The format and McEwen's faux gravitas just don't cut it.

                            1. re: T.O.fiddlehead

                              Ep.2 stunk. The pacing, shallowness and ADHD editing will kill this show. McEwen's riff on Solomonic wisdom is borderline silly. I stick by my verdict. Then there's that guy who's a ringer for Bluto, Popeye's nemesis.

                              1. re: Kagemusha

                                " Then there's that guy who's a ringer for Bluto" Ha! Laughed my ass off. Just one huge infomercial for Loblaws and G.E appliances.Do we really need a Canadian version of a lackluster U.S show?? What's next "Iron Chef Canada"??

                                1. re: petek

                                  Honest, I'd like to see some innovation on FN.ca rather than just another thick slice of the same old "Survivor" baloney. I'm done. Still, I'd like to know where the Newf got his jarred flippers--sure as hell wasn't Loblaws!

                                  1. re: Kagemusha

                                    He said he brought it from home. Everything on FN and food TV is cupcake battle this or food truck battle that.enough with the battles already! They're really scraping the bottom of the barrel for new ideas. I miss the U.K version of" Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares".Now that was a great show.

                                    1. re: petek

                                      Something akin to Bourdain's original lo-buck "Cook's Tour" show(IMHO his best food book, too) should be possible for Van, TO, and Montreal. I'd just like to see something less-contrived and more connected to reality.

                          2. Loved the first episode. Except for two things about the contestants:
                            1. Do we not have enough great chefs born and cooking in Canada? Why did they need to bring in the Chicago guy "living" in Canada and the Canadian who works in the states. To me, does not really mesh with the whole idea of Canada's top chef.
                            2. Only three women? Really? There must be at least a few more women who auditioned who can match talents with those boys.

                            One thing that opposes some of the other comments in this discussion: I have absolutely no problem with the Loblaws thing. The product placement on the original Top Chef was out of control. Loblaws is nothing compared to that.


                            4 Replies
                            1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie

                              I don't think people are complaining about Loblaws because of the product placement, but more for the quality of their stores. Their selection of foods is pretty genericized and pedestrian for a competition like this.

                              While I am as equally puzzled that they brought in someone who works in the States, you are way off base with your suggestion of more natural born Canadians on the show. I believe that chef from Chicago has been living in Canada for many years (and from the looks of it he's probably the only non-Canadian born chef on the show, so it's not even that big of a deal really). A lot of the food cooked in restaurants in the big urban centres are cooked by immigrants who weren't born in this country (gasp). Despite them not being "from here" they're the ones that are shaping our culinary scene. For example, Wolfgang Puck is way more synonymous with the culinary scene of California and the US as a whole than he is with his native Austria.

                                1. re: gomes

                                  And the woman thing? And the guy working in NY thing?
                                  I'm not saying anything negative about immigrants...I am one. I'm just saying that if he's been in Canada as long as you claim, why did they only mention that he is from Chicago and he "loves" Canada, not where he works in Canada.

                                  1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie

                                    Ah, Magical Elves production company, you do provide me with my delicious Top Chef crack.

                                    Having just finished ep 1 (hey, I've been on vacation!), I have to say I am pleased by the episode but not surprised by all complaints I'm reading about it. Sure, they seem to be a homogenous bunch on TC: Canada, but I don't think this is any fault of the "cheftestants." It may very well be that when they put out the audition call, most chefs declined to bother. Being an American in Canada (I married my Ontario husband but he's resided in Quebec for the past 15 years), I was more disappointed that there weren't more chefs from Quebec. The majority of the bios read from Ontario, true, but again, it may be that chefs from your country have a less of a "everybody must be on TV in order to validate their life choices" mentality, something I can appreciate.

                                    That said, I am rooting for the two gentlemen from Quebec (Francois especially because he seems very solid) plus the burly bear American transplant.

                              1. Can't say I was impressed with episode 2 (or maybe because I was watching hockey at the same time).

                                Other than Connie, no contestant really impress me or make an impression.

                                And do they had an elimination on the QuickFire ?

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Maximilien

                                  Having not seen episode 2 yet, Top Chef does, upon occasion, have Quickfire Challenge elimination.

                                  1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                    After watching ep 2 I just have one thing to say. SOMEONE PLEASE BUY MARK MCEWAN A PERSONALITY. Seriously that buckwheat potato blini had more personality than he does. Alot of the food on this episode was pretty lackluster also. And Bluto aka Sparkle bear is great. At least he is interesting to watch.

                                2. I'm a casual watcher of the US show so maybe not the best judge, but having watched the first two episodes it seems to me the quality of the food preparation is much lower. I am often blown away by what the chefs create in such short time (particularly the Quickfire) and I haven't seen that much creativity in these two episodes. Agreed?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: ElizabethS

                                    Eh, I still think it's too early to say, but perhaps the "cheftestants" will get better challenges to work with over the course of the season. One can only hope some of the more fun (read:weird) challenges will make their way to this version.

                                    1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                      With McEwen and Loblaws in play, I doubt we'll see the "weird" groove at all in this series. That would be unfortunate given the range of food available around the GTA. Again, zero creativity marks for FN.ca!

                                    2. re: ElizabethS

                                      It's still early, but so far, I haven't been impressed either. It seemed like so many of them were mailing it in during the EC -- I mean, how hard is it to make a tasty grilled cheese?

                                    3. I am enjoying Top Chef Canada, EXCEPT for one thing. THE HOST IS HORRIBLE! I can't believe that there aren't more negative posts about her. Ugh...She sounds like a fake TV Commercial announcer, or someone that is reading a bedtime story to 2 year olds. Get rid of her please!
                                      Thea Andrews is robotic, stiff and just plain irritating. (I think that's her name)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: badme102

                                        I cannot agree with you more- it's laughable!! What about the other judge- Shereen?? She seems so angry and mean- she really does not film well at all!! My husband and watch just to see her scowling, angry face-last episode she nearly ripped the head off of one of the contestants because she was so angry with his food!!