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Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week 13

Slicing Ingredients for Pizza

There’s a bit of a void in my online life. I mean, now that Top Chef Canada is over, what am I supposed to tweet about?

Jokes aside, now that the show is wrapped up, instead of having a poll with dishes from the finale – those were all a little too fancy for me, anyway – I got to look back through past episodes and pick out a dish myself! Looking back, there were a ton of memorable dishes this season. From Geoff’s blue sprinkle-covered wasabi doughnut to Nicole’s Beaver Balls, there was always something interesting to be found in each episode.

I decided to go with pizza as my last home challenge - Becky’s winning pizza to be exact. The mixture of creme fraiche, radicchio and bacon seemed like an unusual, but interesting combination of flavours to play with on a pizza.

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Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week 12

Ingredients for homemade burgers

How can three months go by so quickly? It feels like only yesterday I was eagerly awaiting the season three premiere of Top Chef Canada, as excited as a schoolgirl at a Justin Bieber concert. This week is the application deadline for season four (shameless plug: last chance to apply. Do it here!) and tonight, we’ll watch the final three cook off for the big cash prize and a well-deserved title of Canada’s Top Chef. Watching the contestants widdle down from sixteen to three, week by week, I can honestly say that all three of these remaining fellows deserve their spot in the finale.

As I’m sure you can assume, I was beyond excited when I found out that the finale would be filmed in Calgary. I mean, seriously, give me local food trucks coupled with some Top Chef action, paired with the hilarity that is Jann Arden, and I’m a pretty happy camper.

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Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week 11 (and a contest!)

Ravioli ingredients

And then there were four. Who wasn’t sad to see Nicole leave Top Chef Canada this past week? I sure was. Not only was she the last-standing female competitor on the show, but she was also the last Calgarian! Am I heartbroken? You bet. Am I – and the rest of Calgary – proud of her? You’re damn straight! At this point, it’s hard to decide who to root for; the remaining gentlemen are all great chefs, so it will be interesting to see how the final two episodes play out.

This past episode’s guest judge, Jody Claman was polarizing, to say the least. Since I was still spending some time eating my way through Vancouver last week, I was able to attend one of Matt Stowe’s viewing parties at The Cactus Club. Seeing as I am Calgarian, I was still in ‘Team Nicole’ mode at the time (I gave Matt some advanced warning that my friend and I would be wearing ‘Team Nicole’ t-shirts during his event). He was very good-natured about it, although we did get a few odd looks from some of the Vancouver attendees, which was fair, seeing as we were on his turf!

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Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week 10

Goat meat

Once Top Chef Canada released the news that they would be taking the show on the road to Calgary for the finale, I was inspired to take ‘Taking the Challenge Home’ on the road as well, so I decided to head to Vancouver. Cooking in your own kitchen week after week becomes relatively predictable, so it’s nice to feel your way through someone else’s kitchen and stress out about not knowing where everything is. Keeps things fresh, you know?

This challenge was my first time cooking with goat meat. I was trying to think if it would also be my first time eating goat meat and I think that was the case, although my memory has been known to fail me. After years of being indifferent with goat’s cheese – don’t hate me – I was not too sure what kind of deliciousness, if any, this current culinary venture would bring.

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Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week 9

Tartare Ingredients

You know what sucks? Watching your friend go home on a national competition cooking series, that’s what! After a solid ten week run, we saw Geoff Rogers ‘pack his knives and go’ on Top Chef Canada last night, leaving only one Calgary chef in the running, Nicole Gomes. Her #TeamNicole movement coast-to-coast is still going strong, so I can’t wait to watch her kitchen antics in the Top 5!

We all know this, but I can be a little bit ridiculous sometimes. Knowing full-well that I was going to be in Saskatoon for the long weekend, I decided to gather my ingredients from the Calgary Farmers’ Market at the last minute Friday morning before heading out of town. I popped them into a cooler chock full with ice packs and brought them with me on the weekend getaway, with full intention of finding time to whip up the dish at my parents’ house.

Prairie Harvest Cafe

Instead, like most of you this past long weekend I’m sure, I was distracted by sunshine, patios, food and beer. But I was also in Saskatoon for the weekend to spend some time with Top Chef Canada season one winner, Dale Mackay. Dale just recently moved back to the prairie city (his hometown, actually) to open a new restaurant, Ayden Kitchen and Bar, named after his son. Aw! Being nationally recognized and clearly a talented chef, I thought it was time for Dale to meet some of the city’s food community, so we set up a casual meet-and-greet afternoon at one of my favourite restaurants in town, Prairie Harvest Cafe.

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Top Chef Canada: Taking The Challenge Home, Week 8

Grating lemons

Finally, a dessert! I am not much of a baker and I lack a prominent sweet tooth, so it’s pretty rare that anything other than a creme anglaise or granita gets whipped up in my kitchen when it comes to desserts. Surprisingly, I was looking forward to recreating a dish by Caity. After last week’s episode of Restaurant Wars, she finally proved to the Top Chef Canada viewers that she was able to do something sweet…on the plate. Maybe this week she’ll smile!

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