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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.

                    Max.

                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...