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Top Chef Canada (Spoilers for all Episodes)

Is Top Chef Canada really so uninteresting that nobody wants to discuss it?

I'll start this one. I don't have the energy to do a full recap a la LindaWhit but here's the gist.

Quickfire: Blindfold taste test. Francois does the worst - he gets just one. Winner is Chris. Looks like Dale and Dustin do well also but McEwan only calls out the best and the worst so we don't really know how close it was.

Elimination: Cook a Russian meal (can't remember what it's called) to complement Dan Aykroyd's vodka. It's not explained very clearly what the characteristics are for this particular type of Russian meal and the theme seems a bit arbitrary. Doesn't appear that the Russian theme has anything to do with anything Canadian except for the Canadian caviar.

Two teams: Blue and Green. Chris has immunity so he gets to choose which team he wants to be on. He picks Blue. They ask him to do dessert since he has immunity. He refuses because he wants to make smoked sausage. Todd steps up and offers to do the dessert.

Team Green wins and Connie wins the challenge. She wins a trip to LA to do a Blues Brothers thing with Dan Aykroyd and to spend some time cooking with Dan and his wife.

Team Blue loses. Dale, Steve, Chris and Patrick are up for elimination. The judges mention several times that Chris would definitely be in the running to go home if he didn't have immunity. Dale and Chris have words in the stew room. Steve is sent packing.

Next episode: Susur Lee! Yay!

My thoughts? Never liked Chris from the start. Seems to be a bit of a hack who's a star only in his own mind. So far, a lot of talk but no good food coming out of his pan. He didn't even make the sausage which was his reason for not doing dessert. And his dish sucked and again with the excuses. If you're a real chef, you can step up and make anything.

So happy to hear the judges praise Todd's dessert. He took on the challenge and smoked it. Also happy that Darryl and Jamie did better this time. Don't think they have a hope in hell of winning but I'm glad they aren't always the worst. Really glad Connie won. She's amazing. Surprised that Steve was eliminated and not surprised. He's the chef at one of the hottest restaurants in Toronto, but hasn't cooked anything that lived up to his pedigree.

Still don't like that judge Shereen. Her comments seem to be spiteful and so Mean Girls. I originally picked Connie, Francois and Dale to be in the running for the title but I'm impressed by Rob and Andrea now too.

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  1. ZZZzzz. The show blows, OK? McEwen's scripted crankiness is tiresome. ADHD editing/pacing is annoying. Do we really need another riff on this tired old tune? No.

    1. Thanks for doing the recap - I think this is the last episode I'll make a point of watching. The theme, as you said, was poorly described and irrelevant. I still think the food quality pales in comparison to other Top Chefs I've seen.

      Susur could be interesting next week - here's hoping!

      1. I was quite excited about watching this episode, but I must say I was disappointed. The dishes were not even remotely Russian. Maybe the use of Beets and Cabbage Rolls could qualify as Russian, but it's a pretty big stretch. I've been asked many times what constitutes Russian cuisine (I am Russian) and I struggled to answer this question every time because Russian and Soviet Union food is very different. Nevertheless, whatever they cooked last night was not Russian. I am sure it tasted good, but to me the episode was laughable.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Julia_K

          McEwen must REALLY need the payday to endure all this.

        2. No thread about episode four. Are we collectively over this show already?

          13 Replies
          1. re: piccola

            Well, in their defense, it was "election night" last monday.

            What is weird, is that's it's a "bring your own ingredients" for the Newfie candidate.

            Also, me think an invited judge/chef should not have prior connection with a candidate (did that ever happened in Top Chef USA ?)

            Anyway, making a salad with mayonaise in 2011, especially in Top Chef should remove you from the chef profession immediatly.

            As for the ethnic food challenge, I think the best dish was the bibimbap (because the chef knew how to do it, lucky him); but the best chef, IMO was Connie; maybe it was the video montage, but the way was interacted with the ethiopeans at the store to try to learn as much as possible show she wanted to learn and learn quick.

            Anyway, I still don't like the hosts.

            1. re: Maximilien

              Connie is consistently humble, skilled and attentive. She never boasts, but she always cooks well.

              If anyone else wins this contest, it'll be a shame.

              1. re: Maximilien

                Connie is definitely my favourite so far.

                I thought the team who got Japanese food really mailed it in -- and I agree with the judge who said they really have no excuse to be so clueless about that cuisine. I mean, I don't expect them to be expert sushi chefs, but at least understand the basics.

                I think there have been guest judges with connections to cheftestants in the U.S. version, at least for quickfires, if not elimination challenges. At a certain level, it must be tough to avoid, since I assume chefs tend to mingle among each other. If you work in a bunch of different kitchens, at some point, you're bound to get to know many chefs.

                1. re: piccola

                  Love Connie.

                  Totally agree about the Japanese food. If you live in Toronto, there's a sushi place on every other corner. Granted, they aren't all great but being a Torontonian, I can tell you it would be pretty tough not to know a little about Japanese food. And being chefs, they should be able to do a decent approximation of what they've eaten.

                  As for the judge/contestant thing, Richard Blais worked for Daniel Boulud, Mike Voltaggio (maybe Bryan too?) worked for Charlie Trotter, Andrea knew Michelle Bernstein, just off the top of my head.

                  1. re: chefhound

                    "As for the judge/contestant thing"

                    Thanks for the clarifications.


                2. re: Maximilien

                  Does anyone recall the name of the Ethiopian store Connie went to?
                  I'm also in Toronto, and I have an urge to buy some berbere and try my hand at Ethiopian dishes myself.

                  1. re: soytoy

                    No, but there are a bunch at Bloor and Ossington. There's one in particular -- a convenience store on Bloor just east of Oss -- that has tonnes of spices and other traditional ingredients.

                    1. re: soytoy

                      I think it's the one in Kensington Market. We buy coffee beans there all the time. I should remember the street - it runs east / west and the store is on the north side.

                      1. re: soytoy

                        There are a few Ethiopian stores on Danforth east of Donlands, and about a dozen restaurants as well. The Ethiopian community is trying to get the area named Little Ethiopia.

                        1. re: hal2010

                          Ah, I know this area. Been to a few of the Ethiopian restaurants there, but never ventured into any of the grocery stores. Time for me to explore!

                      2. re: Maximilien

                        Actually it did happen in the us Eric Rippert was the judge and Jen worked for him

                      3. re: piccola

                        I flipped back and forth to the election results - again a pretty lame competition I thought, although like others think Connie is pulling ahead of the pack.

                      4. Again, I'm keeping up with it because as I've stated before, I loves me some Magical Elves crack and it's nice seeing one of my favorite shows get the Canadian treatment. Admittedly, it's not as compelling as the American version, but it's also only the first season. It needs to find its stride and perhaps next go-round, a wider variety of chefs.

                        FYI: in regards to the last episode, I really hate it when chefs say things like "[foreign cuisine that's not that obscure]??? I don't cook/have never eaten/live in a bubble where I am only fed specific things [foreign cuisine that's not that obscure]!!"

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                          Me too! I don't understand chefs who only know one cuisine. I'm not a chef, despite my name, I'm just a groupie but I can make dishes from many different cuisines.

                          Every time I try a new cuisine, if there's something, a new ingredient, an unfamiliar flavour combination to intrigue me, I'm eager to try and make something myself. I run to the computer or bookstore and do some research. My friends will attest to my phases - Moroccan, Korean, Spanish. Right now, I'm in a Malaysian/Indonesian phase. I don't understand this "I only cook French" thing. Aren't chefs curious about all cuisines? Which reminds me: I don't know much about Russian food - must look into that...

                        2. The guy who looks like Bluto cracks me up!

                          8 Replies
                                  1. re: Kagemusha

                                    I was sure he'd be cut by now. Seems kind of lost in the kitchen.

                                    1. re: Kagemusha

                                      You are so right! And just how far does the stick in Mark Mcewans a** go? And Chef Smith Smirkypants. I hope there is payback for these guys. Connie has my vote, but there are so many mysoginists on the judging table, and the female judges are so weak, I doubt she will win.

                                    2. I must say I was so looking forward to it when I saw it advertised but the result has been less than perfect. Mark has no personality what so ever, the other lady judge is kind of a bitch. Loblaws doesn't have enough varity to make the show interesting. It is only the first season but if it continues to a second they need better quality and variation. and a better head judge.

                                      As far as the chefs go there are some good ones there, Connie springs to mind, but some are just not that great.

                                      Marc Thuet might have made a good judge, honest outspoken, funny, big personality but I guess with that other thing he is doing "conviction" he doesen't have the time.....too bad

                                      1. I like Mark McEwan, and I think he's doing okay as a judge, although I think he needs to grow up and stop trying to look like a rock star. (I know...it's not him. It's his stylists. But still...come on.)

                                        The other judges are meaningless to me; I don't know who they are, by which I mean, "who the hell are these chicks, and why should I give a shit what they think?" Why not Karen Barnaby? *hint*

                                        Dan Akroyd.....well, nice product placement there, Dan-o. Susur Lee did a good job on his segment, imo. I was tickled to see the result of that episode, particularly after the teaser edit that made it look as though "Team Ethiopia" was in the weeds. Kinda lovin' the Newfie guy, and any chick who butchers is alrighty by moi.

                                        Let's face it, the show is a bit bush league after the US version, but it's still entertaining, and I'll keep watching.

                                        17 Replies
                                        1. re: SherBel

                                          My husband likes McEwan because he's a lot harsher than Tom, and true, he is, but it isn't anything rankles me. McEwan may have a harshness to him that Tom lacks, but he's still quite flat.

                                          Again, this will do until the next season of TC stateside; I think it has a lot of potential, but it's just starting out. I love that the chefs get to shop at Loblaws, but if you want them to put out more professional dishes, they need more challenges like this past episode, where they actually get to go to ethnic markets.

                                          1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                            Just too many baked-in problems: dull hosts/judges, hyper-active direction, copy-cat format.
                                            Shopping at Loblaws is a huge issue for me and best sums up the bankruptcy of the present TCC format. The GTA is bursting with food options and we opt for cart races at Loblaws???

                                            1. re: Kagemusha

                                              No Frills was busy on pitch day.

                                              1. re: Kagemusha

                                                Sponsorship, baby. Loblaws pays for it. And while you're right about Toronto bursting with food options, no one there is going to pony up the money, and for a show to get airtime, it's all about the money. Why do you think they keep reminding viewers about the GE appliances?

                                                In short, you don't like it? Then don't watch it.

                                                1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                                  Since you've got such a firm grasp of the obvious, doesn't it follow that show will tank once people tune out? No eyeballs=no ad revenue. Not sure the production team behind this sick pup gets it--or ever will.

                                                  1. re: Kagemusha

                                                    Well, the numbers at the end of the season will tell. Either it will be embraced or it will just be a one-off.

                                                    1. re: Kagemusha

                                                      Additionally, there may not be as much money invested in it as the American one. Hence, Loblaws and hence the smaller prize money and no spread in Food & Wine for whomever wins. Aside from the same music, it has a tendency to feel unlike a Top Chef show.

                                                      1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                                        Maybe but Loblaws isn't exactly smokin' these days as head office shuffles suggest. Besides, you can only spend the money once, so spend it effectively--like TCC viewers haven't heard of Loblaws?

                                                        1. re: Kagemusha

                                                          My husband brought up the point that another good reason that the cheftestants have to shop at Loblaws is that it's a chain every Canadian has heard of (very similar to how on TC, they go to Whole Foods--except for the Desserts guys; they get Albertson's, the poor bastards). To use Toronto food markets makes the show marketed only to Torontonians, not the entire country. The name brand recognition makes it comfy for viewers outside the GTA. You don't want to feed into the mindset some people have that the GTA thinks it's the only part of the country that matters; you want it to appeal to everyone. You want people to associate your brand with where these guys are shopping for their challenges.

                                                          But yes, hal2010, there are no strong interesting personalities on this show. I maintain that most potential Canadian applicants were simply not interested or they didn't do enough casting calls.

                                                          1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                                            "or they didn't do enough casting calls."

                                                            They probably expected to have a rush of applicants because of the US shows.

                                                            1. re: Maximilien

                                                              Exactly. I think there was a lot of overestimation re: potential applicants.

                                                              ElizabethS, fair enough. In any case, the recognition factor/advert money is key. Familiarity in regards to where the cheftestants shop is good for viewership, but it's what they do with them that should appeal to more knowledgeable foodies. What I've always liked about the TC series is how it indirectly educates people about foods and techniques they've never heard of. I'm not saying not all people, mind you, but the kind of viewer who is probably interested in home cooking and curious to see how professionals do it.

                                                            2. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                                              While it does account for a good percentage of the country, every Canadian hasn't heard of it as it only operates the Loblaws banner in Ontario and Quebec (they have other regional banners)....however it is probably the most recognized due to the absence of one large national grocery banner in Canada.

                                                              1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                                                That's a problem in and of itself. Each Top Chef season has taken place in a new location across the US and has celebrated that location. Top Chef Canada is way too generic. I think regardless of "alienating" some viewers, it would have been much better if they had embraced Toronto as their setting and really explored the city. It'd open it up to multiple seasons -- Top Chef Vancouver, Top Chef Montreal, Top Chef Calgary.

                                                                1. re: noposts

                                                                  Well, if this season does okay, then maybe we'll see that. I'd love to see that. To me, that would be very very cool.

                                                            3. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                                              I think it's very similar to the US version with a bit of that hokey Canadian twist that most Canadian TV productions seem to have. McEwan is flat and always seems distracted like he's got better things to be doing. I don't think they selected a diverse enough group of contestants - there's no villains or real weirdos in the group. They need a Marcel and maybe an Angelo.

                                                              1. re: hal2010

                                                                McEwan seems like he's trying way too hard to be the badass judge. Either that, or he's had extensive Botox on his face.

                                                    2. re: SherBel

                                                      You know, a better thread about this show would be "Where did McEwan get the horrendous hair transplant!" It's distracting, they are so bad.
                                                      Nothing to do with food, but he is really irritating. He doesn't seem to have any emotional investment in what is going on. It's like he hates to be there and the contestants are going to pay.

                                                    3. Episode 5.

                                                      What a mess.

                                                      Quickfire challenge where the "winner" gets a free pass by doing nothing; and other contestants butcher (in a not good way) a fine piece of meat (except for 1 or 2 chefs).

                                                      Elimination : Nice twist to have a student helping; most food looked boring; most of them were not able to create 2 dishes successfully;

                                                      The looser whining about his help didn't help his cause, how can you be a chef when you cannot teach/mentor/handle/manage a team of sous-chef.

                                                      Was the pork/meat guy at the tasting in the elimination challenge to have his say about the product he offered ?

                                                      In general, what I see is that most chef try to use too many ingredients. (that applied also to the original Top Chef series).


                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Maximilien

                                                        Will many people be watching the next episode that includes horse meat?


                                                        1. re: SmartCookie

                                                          I will, but not because of the horse meat. I remember when first moving up here and being startled that horse meat was semi-common at a few butchers' stores. I've no desire to try it but my spouse assures me it's delicious. I'll take his word for it!

                                                          1. re: SmartCookie

                                                            honestly I don't see the big deal about the horse meat. It is still common in many places in europe, and hell even at my local IGA (i live in quebec). I have never tried it but not because i don't want to, just never got around to it

                                                        2. Episode 6 (I think)

                                                          At last, real cooking.

                                                          Quickfire with Chuck hughes to judge Poutine; Francois won, obviously it would have been a shock if he did not; there were a few fun re-interpretation of the poutine, but only he was able to do something good.

                                                          Elimination, cook a "franco-french produce and technique" 10 courses for Daniel Boulud (*).

                                                          Contrary to what I expected, it was not an all out horse meat show, only one meat was horse, the other were "normal" meats and fish/seafood.

                                                          Rob is getting funny, and a bit cocky, The Bear is still making a bit too rustic cuisine (IMO), The newfy might be a good cook but lacks technique (probably will be eliminated next).

                                                          I thought andrea's use of buckwheat (?) crisps was a good idea; maybe not completely traditional, but me think it was in good spirit with the horse meat.

                                                          Connie, Francois and Rob were clearly on top of things and they might make it to the top.

                                                          (*) There is no Canadian well known french chef that they could have used instead of importing one from NY ?


                                                          10 Replies
                                                          1. re: Maximilien

                                                            I thought the whole episode was one big bore. Not much personality from either the judges or the contestants or their food. McEwan is pretty much phoning it in. I don't even remember him visiting the kitchen this round, just sat at the judge's table looking gloomy.

                                                            I thought Todd would be gone. Not only did he buy his pastry, he bought ice cream too, but nobody seemed to notice. Basically he put apples and some chopped hazelnuts on some store-bought ingredients.

                                                            The highlight for me was Dale's confused pout when he was bottom in the Quickfire.

                                                            The rules and compensation seem a bit skewed when compared to the American version. If you win the Quickfire, you should get an advantage or immunity, but not both. And don't they have any weekly prizes? Not even a bottle of wine for the winner.

                                                            1. re: hal2010

                                                              I am rooting for Connie, and am upset that for the last two shows, they have not shown what she made for quickfire. I get it that she isn't in the top 4 or the bottom 4 but I would still like to see what she made! Didn't the U.S. version show everyones dish?

                                                              1. re: beekeroc

                                                                I thought I had just missed her - I didn't realize they don't show everyone.

                                                                1. re: beekeroc

                                                                  On the U.S. version, they show everyone's dish...who finishes. If you didn't see Connie's dish, odds are high she was unable to finish, unfortunately.

                                                                  Other than that, she's a strong contender this season.

                                                                2. re: hal2010

                                                                  Was it really fair of the judges to knock Todd for not making his own puff pastry? To make proper French puff pastry would have taken hours more than they had. You can't take shortcuts with that. It seems weird that out of all the things they could have taken issue with, buying puff pastry is a really strange one.

                                                                  Maybe the judge should have knocked him for using puff pastry at all, but it was an odd way of wording criticism.

                                                                  1. re: noposts

                                                                    I think the point would be then you shouldn't build a dish around puff pastry if you can't make it in the time allotted. I recall one US TC where they sent the person home for using store bought.

                                                                    Also....wasn't there Haggen Dazs in his basket as well? I kept waiting for that to be mentioned - did he just add the hazelnuts to it?

                                                                    1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                      Next show he's going to get a PC Memories of Provence frozen entree and heat it up ;)

                                                                        1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                          Haha, anything to make it Canadian!

                                                              2. How long before Galen starts peddling a new "Top Chef" line of Loblaws products.....

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: soytoy

                                                                    Is he the guy who shows up on the "commercials" when you watch it online?

                                                                    1. re: Peaches to Poutine

                                                                      I haven't watched it online PtoP but if it's a chef in those commercials (which are the commercials they show on tv) then that's Chef Tom Filippou. Tom is the Exec Chef of the Loblaws Cooking Schools and was formerly the Chef de Cuisine at the Royal York Hotel.

                                                                      Galen Weston is the President of the co. and is in all the tv commercials featuring the latest and greatest PC products.

                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        Oh, okay. Whew. Then I have been spared the grim specter of Galen Weston.

                                                                        As for Top Chef-mania, I do love the show but find the idea of the magazine horrifying. Saturation point, Bravo/Magical Elves, saturation point.

                                                                1. Is it just me or is Michael Smith a jerk? His judging was so lame, it was embarrassing. Especially compared to Daniel Boulud. Daniel had constructive comments, Michael just made snarky remarks.

                                                                  When he pointed out the spots on the plate during the Quickfire (can't remember whose plate), I thought it was deliberately petty and mean-spirited. It's a Quickfire - there's barely enough time to cook and if the plate wasn't pristinely wiped, it should be overlooked. Judge the food.

                                                                  I also didn't like his comments to Dale. Yes the dessert wasn't appropriate for Milestones but Mark McEwan said it had the right texture, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Yes it was too fancy and deconstructed for Milestones but Michael Smith just kept saying he didn't know what it was and it was weird. What was so confusing about it? It looked like some sort of meringue and if it managed to be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, it should be obvious to him that it was a pavlova.

                                                                  I think his humiliating loss on Iron Chef has made him mean. Though you would think that going through the experience of a stressful, time-constricted challenge himself would have made him more sympathetic.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: chefhound

                                                                    I didn't find him jerky at all. I was actually worried he'd be too much of a softie (based on his show) but I was pleasantly surprised at how critical he was. And personality-wise, he's a lot better than that gargoyle McEwan.

                                                                    Side note: All Bran. All Bran, All Bran, All Bran! Can't get enough of that All Bran!

                                                                    1. re: chefhound

                                                                      Too bad Chef Pasquale kicked the bucket in 2005.

                                                                    2. I've tried my best to keep an open mind yet somehow this show repeatedly comes up short.

                                                                      Generally speaking, I find this Canadian version to be uninspiring.

                                                                      Cooking w All Bran and then dishes for Milestones? I thought it was bad enough when we were shopping at Loblaws.

                                                                      Then we add Michael Smith to the consistently underwhelming, dull judging panel.

                                                                      What's next I wonder? Invent a new donut for Tim's and we'll have Christine Cushing judge wearing a hockey shirt? Arrrgghhhh!!

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        I didn't mind this episode, and they've done Quickfires with a sponsored ingredient and 'cook for a chain restaurant' on the US version. Can't remember which restaurant it was but I believe it was something even blander than Milestones - TGIFridays, or something.

                                                                        What did bother me was the editing. By the time I'd seen the third interview with the hairy guy, it was obvious that he was getting the boot. I had my suspicions when they had one very long interview with him at the start of the Elimination Challenge, and I noticed something similar last week when Chris got eliminated.

                                                                        Nice to see Todd redeem himself. He's a likeable character and seems to have some solid skills even if he isn't the most imaginative.

                                                                        From the previews it looks like next week is a bit of a sh*tfight with Restaurant Wars. Maybe they'll develop some much-needed tension and warring personalities.

                                                                        1. re: hal2010

                                                                          Tough break, Bluto, erh, Patrick...Sayonara

                                                                          1. re: Kagemusha

                                                                            A friend just sent me a link to a National Post blog that posts an interview with the losing chef the day after TCC - here's a link to Bluto's, I mean Patrick's


                                                                            (you can navigate on the bottom to the others)

                                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                          I liked the challenges, and as hal2010 mentioned, they've done similar stuff on TC U.S. Plus, unlike TCMasters, the judges here actually considered whether the constestants met the challenge (in this case, creating a dish for Milestones) on top of cooking something tasty.

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            TC in the states has there own uninspiring episodes. Remember Elmo and Cookie (MUPPETS), judging the food.! I would rather see Michael Smith, and hey we are Canadians, we are always a bit quirky and ordinary. I love the show !

                                                                          2. Dale is such a man child. This is the guy that they chose to replace Feenie? Every episode he tries to lead but but no one is interested. He's like a little girl trying to dictate a tea party and yelling at everyone else for not doing it right.

                                                                            1. Sorry to see Todd go this evening, but that dessert was just dire. He should have added some moose to it.

                                                                              Restaurant Wars seemed a bit abbreviated. No shopping or setting up the restaurant. Just cooking for 50 people. They tried to set Andrea up as the villain but it didn't seem to carry through the show. Canadians are just too nice.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: hal2010

                                                                                I think that's just bad editing on the show's part. I mean, Dale continues to be a complete ass.

                                                                                1. re: fuckyeahetc

                                                                                  I take back what I said about the editing. I guess the payoff of the Bad Andrea subplot was that some people didn't like her, nobody wanted her on their team, but in the end, she turned out the best dish (albeit, on the losing team).

                                                                                2. re: hal2010

                                                                                  Not to revive the whole sexism thread, but I find it strange that everyone seemed to take Andrea to task for being bossy and irritable, when Dale appears to be much worse so far.

                                                                                3. I have been watching the show since the start. Overall I am enjoying it . Did anyone go to Milestones to try the Top Chef menu? I am thinking about trying it...

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: ylsf

                                                                                    I have had Connie's croquettes at Charcut and they are very good.

                                                                                  2. I just saw an old episode of Iron Chef and a younger Dustin was Susur Lee's sous chef for Battle Bacon.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: hal2010

                                                                                      Saw that last night as well - missed his big smile!

                                                                                    2. I haven't seen that many of the US TC series so can't compare - but last night did seem to be over the top for product placement.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                                        trust me, the american show is just as bad.

                                                                                          1. re: soytoy

                                                                                            Just watched this week's episode. I thought the guest judge wasn't really much of a chef. Wasn't he the guy who won the Food Network Challenge? All he wanted was "big, bold flavours that pop in your mouth!"

                                                                                            Darryl lost graciously; Connie had a melt down but maybe now she'll do something other than charcuterie for the next challenge. Hard to say who will go next, but my bet would be on the French guy, or Andrea - who can be inconsistent.

                                                                                        1. Terrible I'll never watch that show again! It was the episode yet! And none of it was even remotly russian!!!!!!!

                                                                                          1. I've missed a couple of episodes ... and last night's quickfire.

                                                                                            Elimination ... gasp, the quality seems very low and quite horrific, nothing in there I wanted to try... (come on, steak and eggs on top chef when there are only a few chefs left ?, blueberry crumble ? oeuf with hollandaise ? ... )

                                                                                            It seems Connie lacks a bit of imagination, but she's got great taste and technique.

                                                                                            About the store bought crust ... I think she did what needed to be done to do a good job; if the crust was not good, then it could be argued that Loblaw does not sell good enough pastry dough and failed at being a top produce store; now, they can say that you can make a winning dish with a store bought product.

                                                                                            Nex week ... food truck ... bleh ...

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Maximilien

                                                                                              Stopped watching this miserable, "me too" knock-off. Nothing against the chefs but the concept, execution, and numbing product placement--not to mention the judges and hosts--wrecked it.

                                                                                              1. re: Maximilien

                                                                                                I'll probably watch it through to the end. But the show is pretty flat. There is nobody I'm really rooting for right now. Having won a challenge with frozen pie crust and absolutely no knowledge of Quebecois food, next week Connie continues her quest for Top Sausage. Should be interesting.

                                                                                              2. I'm starting to enjoy the B-movie feel of this show. I find it a little endearing how low-budget and amateurish some of the challenges are -- kind of like the first season of the U.S. show, if anyone remembers.

                                                                                                That said, I was amazed at how little the chefs knew about regional cuisines. I'm no chef, and I haven't even been to the Prairies, but I have a general idea of what ingredients and flavours come from where.

                                                                                                I was a little worried about Connie because she chose to make two pastry-based dishes, but I guess as long as it's delicious, the judges don't care. On some level, I agree -- especially when it comes to so-called simple foods like crumble and eggs. It may seem basic but a good chef can really elevate those dishes.

                                                                                                1. I guess the ratings are good - they're casting for Season 2


                                                                                                  1. Connie must have a shinny star over her head!!! (or producers want to have a woman in the final); or even her mistakes turns out to be succesful!!

                                                                                                    anyway ... weird episode as always ...

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: Maximilien

                                                                                                      I think the latter is the case....I loved the comment about her going "Texan" when she deep fried the chicken. Weird is the best description of the series - what was that movie theme thing? It all seems so lame when they could just give them interesting challenges.

                                                                                                      1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                                                        Sorry to see smiling Dustin go. Rob is the favourite to win if statistics are any indicator. I suspect that they will have a blatantly obvious fine dining theme so Dale may be a contender. I saw from the preview scenes from next week that Connie is doing sausages again!

                                                                                                    2. I noticed that FNC messed up again and in the promo for the finale that aired just before the reveal of who got kicked off, there was a shot of Dustin leaving at the end and saying "remember, only one will win!"


                                                                                                      1. I saw a few episodes while I was on vacation in Vancouver. Im a fan of the US version and Im curious to see how this version turns out. Is there any way to watch the episodes from the US? Ive been to the website but the video doesn't load (tried on multiple browsers). is there such thing as restricted to canada only?

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: romayo

                                                                                                          I think the Food Network Canada website is restricted to Canada only, yes.
                                                                                                          You could download the episodes online, if you're into pirating, heh heh.

                                                                                                          1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                                                            My guess would be Rob, seems like he's McEwan's favourite to me.

                                                                                                            1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                                                              I'd be glad if Connie or Rob won. I really don't want to see Dale win, and it's completely irrational.

                                                                                                              1. re: noposts

                                                                                                                Same, I hope either Connie or Rob wins.

                                                                                                                1. re: soytoy

                                                                                                                  Annnnd Dale just cheated and the judges gave him a pass on it. If he wins, that's pretty much the final nail in the Top Chef Canada coffin.

                                                                                                                    1. re: noposts

                                                                                                                      I know, it really disappointed me, too.

                                                                                                                    2. re: noposts

                                                                                                                      Completely agree... That did it for me, blatant foul and a shrug from the judges. What a waste. They all agreed Rob had the strongest dishes, so why give it to Dale in the first place? Add on the cheating and it all leaves me disgusted.

                                                                                                                      1. re: piano boy

                                                                                                                        This is from today's Vancouver Sun -

                                                                                                                        As to allegations of cheating because he made four dishes instead of three for the challenge, MacKay said he'd actually asked for, and received, permission from the producers to do so, but that part was cut from the show.

                                                                                                                        Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertain...

                                                                                                                        1. re: ElizabethS

                                                                                                                          Then why would the other contestants be so upset? Unless he asked the producers and nobody told the other contestants which, in my opinion, is still cheating. Even if he had "permission," he had an unfair advantage.

                                                                                                                      2. re: noposts

                                                                                                                        I thought the fix was in several eps back when Dale sweated at the brink--a cheap stunt.

                                                                                                                        Overall, it's a silly show with far too much stealth ad/product placement content.

                                                                                                                        BTW, did they ever do a budget-constrained ep?

                                                                                                                        Adios, TCC!

                                                                                                                        1. re: Kagemusha

                                                                                                                          It looks to me like they knew the winner from the beginning and had it played out as such.

                                                                                                                          Since we can't taste the dishes, they really need to do a better job of editing. Out of the three finalists, it seems like Dale had the most "bottom dishes" when the judges were discussing them, yet came out on top. Since only they can taste them, even if it takes out some of the suspense, I'd like to at least understand why they chose the person they did.

                                                                                                                          Maybe this is my home province bias, but even when the slight faults mentioned, Connie's meal was the meal I most wanted to eat. Perhaps I am not "fancypants" enough, to use Rob's word, but I just feel as though Rob and Connie cook food that they want to see people sit down, eat, and enjoy, no matter what kind of challenge it is, and I didn't get that sense from Dale.

                                                                                                                          One last thing: I thought it was interesting that, on the previous episode, the judges faulted Dale for not make a choice about sauces of the doneness of meat. No matter how he tries to frame his decision to have two mains about progression of what have you, it again comes down to not making a decision and yet still blames the inclusion of cheese in his amuse bouche on having fish in a later course (maybe that would have been a good reason to only have one main...), and the judges simply said, "Oh okay."

                                                                                                                          1. re: aasg

                                                                                                                            I agree. I know the judges/producers try to create suspense with cryptic (or just bland) observations, but this is pushing it -- McEwan straight out said he didn't like Dale's dish because it was too precious.

                                                                                                                            I know the producers tried to humanize Dale by showing his son, but he still came across as cocky and a bit of a jerk. He's the one I least wanted to win.

                                                                                                                2. Truly a disappointment from start to finish in my view. Nothing said by the judging panel last night would lead viewers to believe Dale had the winning dish therefore, while the result was a surprise, it only served to further erode the credibility of the show.

                                                                                                                  FN made a wise choice airing this in the late spring/early summer when there is little else on tv. Can't believe they got a green light for a season 2. I guess Loblaws has some extra advertising dollars to spend.

                                                                                                                  1. I think that of the three finalist Dale deserves the win. Consider that each chef was responsible for producing a single meal of 3 plates (yes I know Dale produced 4 but forget that for a minute). If you look at each chef's meal then, only his had a well conceived progression. What I mean is that if you forget that at each step of the dinner the judge's had one plate from each chef, then as a whole Dale's meal went from a light start to strong, robust flavours followed by a light dessert. His competitors, especially Rob, never thought of that progression even by his own admission. His goal was to produce 3 strong plates (I mean foie grois and boudin blanc followed by roasted bone marrow) and ignored the progression. As a meal then this was weak. I don't really have too much negative to say about Connie but I also felt that she did not consider progression. Perhaps the judges wanted something more refined and precious even though they attacked Dale for that reason for his salmon dish.

                                                                                                                    So I think Dale deserved the win. His dishes were more refined (perhaps not as memorable) but his progression was way ahead of the others. Rob probably had themost memorable dishes but no progression. The judges said it and I agreed with it. Connie had the most accessible dishes and probably the ones I would choose to eat more regularly, but this show is not proper venue for that type of cooking to win.

                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: nextguy

                                                                                                                      I think Dale offered a more "fine" dining experience than the two others, but that does not mean Rob and Connie made a lesser high quality meal.

                                                                                                                      In the dead of winter in Canada, I would prefer Rob or Connie's dishes , but in the summer I might have Dale's.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Maximilien

                                                                                                                        I mean this is purely a matter of taste, but even in the dead of winter here I wouldn't want a foie/boudin dish followed by a bone marrow. And as I mentioned I would probably choose Connie's dishes on a regular basis for myself, but for those special occasions, even in the dead of winter, Dale's meal as a whole just felt and looked more refined.

                                                                                                                        Knowning the pedigrees of the judges, which is perhaps the most important thing the contestants could have considered, I think then that the fine dining experience and his plates when viewed in the context of his whole menu meant more than what I consider disjointed plates from the other two contestants. But then again they may have been simply impressed from the very start of the competition by Dale's work experience and used that as one of the criteria when deciding the winner.

                                                                                                                      2. re: nextguy

                                                                                                                        I think you're trying to justify dale's win to yourself and undercutting Connie unfairly by saying she didn't think about progression. Her dishes had a very clear, conventional progression with an appetizer/charcuterie plate, main protein and dessert.

                                                                                                                        Personally, I'm disappointed by Dale's win since he came across as such a cocky, entitled type of guy and I thought Rob was coming strong toward the end. Plus, the dude's never had a roti, so that's a minus in my book.

                                                                                                                        I kept on hoping for the series in general to surprise me but as a whole, it was as one-note as Mark McEwen's delivery.

                                                                                                                        1. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                          LOL of course I am trying to justify Dale's win to MYSELF. That is why I started my little rant with the two words "I THINK". You are making it sound wrong to justify a difficult result. In any case, I also didn't say that Connie lost only because her progression was not as good. The judge's not once chose one of her dishes as the best of a round. It was either Dale or Rob.

                                                                                                                          Lastly, in my opinion Dale won this finale over other 2 finalists but he was not the best chef in the competition. That is why in my original post I said "of the three finalists". So personally, I too was disappointed that Dale won the show.

                                                                                                                          1. re: nextguy

                                                                                                                            fair enough :) Out of curiosity, who was your pick (out of all the chefs) ?

                                                                                                                            1. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                              You know I really can't say. Week to week my opinion changed and more often than not I didn't think Dale was the best. I don't really care that he was cocky or that he had a better than everyone else attitude. Those are actually good things as a chef and as a contestant. What bothered me about him and a few other chefs is when they COMPLAIN that they are out of their comfort zone or are not comfortable with a particular cuisine. There have been what? 8 seasons of Top Chef + a bunch of spinoffs? They couldn't have made a small effort to learn about world cuisines?

                                                                                                                              1. re: nextguy

                                                                                                                                Just because I read the Wikipedia entry on Swedish cuisine doesn't mean I am comfortable with making a smorgasbord

                                                                                                                                1. re: Blueicus

                                                                                                                                  nevermind world cuisines, most chefs seemed in the dark about Canadian regional cuisines...

                                                                                                                                  But as chef, yes, I expect you to at least know something or have an idea about other cuisines, and be able to make your own tasty spin on it. It doesn't even need to be authentic. it just has to taste good. I don't think that's a lot to expect, most chowhounders have the first part down pat.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                                    Excellent point that my wife and I discuss often. The judges don't expect authenticity (aside from a few jerk guest judges) as long as the dish tastes good and shows some inspiration from the authentic version.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: nextguy

                                                                                                                                      As evidenced by Todd and Connie's win with "Ethiopian" food, which was a very loose interpretation of that cuisine.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: marcopolo

                                                                                                                                      People complain about things all the time... What matters is how they deal with it. I've had Ethiopian a dozen times but outside of handful of vague memories of a few dishes and some spices and seasonings I really can't claim to know much of the cuisine. I would be lying if I claimed I was 'comfortable' with cooking ethiopian

                                                                                                                        2. I think a Top Chef should be well rounded. I realize that chefs specialize in a certain cuisine but every time Dale got something that wasn't "fine dining" he complained. Street food, rustic food, local food - whatever it was, he didn't seem to be able to handle it. And he had an attitude that fine dining was far superior to any other type of cooking. He said that "Rob could sh*t on a plate and the judges would love it". When Dale won, Rob said, "He deserved it, he made some great plates"

                                                                                                                          I think Dale was a good addition to the competition and the show would have been much better if there were some stronger personalities among the contestants. The US show is most interesting when people are at war and there's a resident bad guy like Marcel.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                            See, I actually dislike that part of the U.S. show. I would much rather see some straightforward cooking competition than crazy manifactured feuds.