Dining & Wine

Top Chef Canada Is Cooking Up A New Season

September 8, 2022

Top Chef Canada returns to Food Network Canada for its milestone 10th season on Monday, September 26, and this season there are some awesome female chefs competing! We chatted with these star cooks ahead of the first episode airing. Click on each photo to follow them on Instagram! —Vita Daily

Monika Wahba

Tell us a bit about yourself to start.

Born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, I immigrated to Canada in the year 2000. My incredible parents took the bravest step of their lives and moved my younger brother Mark and myself, age 7 and 10, to the wonderland that is Toronto, Canada. I graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a passion for photography. Upon graduating I quickly came to realize that the most important thing in my life is the wellbeing of my family. Through this realization and a series of circumstances, passion, serious tenacity and the coming together of our family, emerged my whole heart and soul, Maha’s, our family restaurant named after my beautiful mother, Maha. We’re celebrating our 8-year anniversary this September 28.

Your reaction when finding out you were going to be on Top Chef Canada?

My favorite producer, Dan, actually tricked me, so finding out the news was a whole rollercoaster—but I was into it. It was a great experience. The whole experience so far has been truly incredible. But yes, I cried. My loving partner, James was close by and we were both in a pure state of disbelief, happiness and excitement.

What are you looking forward to most about this season?

I’m most excited to meet my fellow chefs and to meet the judges. Season X is a big number so I can only imagine the surprises in store. I’m excited for the challenges, all the different kitchens and locations. Pretty much all of it. I’m ready to soak it all in. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

Is there a specific/special/close-to-your-heart dish you were hoping to make the judges going into the competition?

I’m excited to share with the judges my flavours of Egypt. Anything I cook for them, will have my Egyptian touch. I’m eager to have the judges try my flavors because they’re my pride and joy and if I get an opportunity to make my falafel for them, I would be elated.

Your top cooking tip for home cooks:

Try using ghee instead of butter while cooking. The simplest of things such as eggs or rice can be elevated when cooked in ghee, we call it ‘samna’ in Arabic.

Martine Bauer

Tell us a bit about yourself to start.

Chef and owner of Restaurant Pompette, Bar Pompette and soon opening a bakery, Bakery Pompette. Originally from Mauritius Island, small little Island in the Indian ocean, very multicultural.

Your reaction when finding out you were going to be on Top Chef Canada?

First of all, very happy, and also anxious and very stressed since it’s my first time doing any kind of TV competition.

What are you looking forward to most about this season?

I am really looking forward to meeting the other competitors, and getting into the challenges. I know since it’s season 10 it’s going to be huge.

Is there a specific/special/close-to-your-heart dish you were hoping to make the judges going into the competition?

I wanted to be able to put my origins in at least one dish, to share where I come from, because cuisine for me is all about sharing first and foremost.

Your top cooking tip for home cooks:

Always cook with seasonal products. This is when they’re the most flavourful, so cook with seasonal product for the people you love.

Lindsay Porter

Tell us a bit about yourself to start.

My name is Lindsay Porter and I am from Edmonton, Alberta. I am the executive chef at The Common in Edmonton. I have competed on a few television shows, such as Beat Bobby Flay, Guys Grocery Games, Iron Chef Canada and Firemasters.

Your reaction when finding out you were going to be on Top Chef Canada?

My reaction was total shock and surprise. I was informed less than two weeks before I had to fly out, so I had a lot of work to catch up on to get work set up and try to prepare for my time away.

What are you looking forward to most about this season?

I look forward to seeing all the former contestants who have competed in the past.

Is there a specific/special/close-to-your-heart dish you were hoping to make the judges going into the competition?

I was hoping to make my Yorkshire pudding dish that I had at my previous restaurant. It is a very comforting dish that my mom and dad both love.

Your top cooking tip for home cooks:

  1. Use a good knife and solid cutting board
  2. Use good quality ingredients instead of over complicating a dish. Keep things simple and delicious.
  3. Have fun experimenting with different cuisines, flavours and spices. Venture out and try restaurants and choose different dishes you love and have fun recreating in your own way.

Deseree Lo

Tell us a bit about yourself to start.

My name is Deseree (Dez) Lo, and I currently live in Vancouver. I was born in Hong Kong, grew up in Taiwan and went to college in New York City. I worked at an investment bank in Manhattan for six years, experienced 9/11 up close and personal, and decided life is too short and unpredictable to not follow your dream and passions. Soon after I enrolled in culinary school, quit my job and never looked back. Now I work as the consulting/catering chef at the Blank Canvas Catering, a division of Joseph Richard Group.

Your reaction when finding out you were going to be on Top Chef Canada?

I may or may not have screamed like a little girl when I received the Top Chef Canada news. I called my mom right away and told her the news. She was so happy and proud of me.

What are you looking forward to most about this season?

I am looking forward to showing Canada how diverse and unique all the competitors are this season. All of us come with very dierent backgrounds, cooking styles and personalities. I really want to show the viewers that age is just a number. You can do anything if you set your mind to it.

Is there a specific/special/close-to-your-heart dish you were hoping to make the judges going into the competition?

I did not have a game plan going into the competition except to just cook from my heart and my experiences. However, I did want to show the judges my love for Asian cuisine as well as incorporating my famous chili oil in some of the dishes.

Your top cooking tip for home cooks:

Really just cook from your heart and taste and season as you cook. Close your eyes when you taste and feel it with your soul. Cook what you love to eat because that way you will be motivated and inspired. Most importantly, cherish your family recipes. They are passed down for a reason!

Kim Conway

Tell us a bit about yourself to start

I was born and raised in the province of Prince Edward Island. I grew up in a single parent household—so I obtained my first job fairly young, which ignited my love for the culinary arts world. Dishwashing was my first stepping-stone into what would turn into an incredible journey that I love being on. I have a younger brother Ashley who is my best friend, an amazing fiancé who always supports me and keeps me motivated and three cats!

Your reaction when finding out you were going to be on Top Chef Canada?

If you ever get to know me or have had a conversation with me, you’d quickly realize that I am a pretty chatty person! It would be very unusual for me to not have something to say, however, when I received the call about Top Chef Canada, I was literally at a loss for words. I thought it wasn’t real, I think I just walked around in a daze.

What are you looking forward to most about this season?

What I was looking forward to most this season was meeting the other incredibly talented and gifted chefs. It does not happen very often where you get to be put in the same room as so much skill and told to have fun!

Is there a specific/special/close-to-your-heart dish you were hoping to make the judges going into the competition?

Coming from PEI, which is very seafood driven, I am most looking forward to showcasing just that. Sometimes we don’t get as much recognition as other provinces, so I can’t wait to give the judges a little taste of the island life.

Your top cooking tip for home cooks:

My top cooking tip for home cooks is the recipe is just a guide. Recipes are not a say-all, when cooking, have fun—add things that it doesn’t say and just to try it out! There is almost never an incorrect ingredient to add to a dish! Also, don’t forget—salt is your friend!! Don’t be afraid to season your food!

Tawnya Brant

Tell us a bit about yourself to start.

Shékon, my name is Tawnya Brant. I am Mohawk turtle clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ohswéken, ON. I have been working in the industry for 28 years and currently own my own takeout lunch counter Yawékon by Chef Tawnya Brant and catering company, Yawékon Foods. I am a mom of two gorgeous sons and fiancé to my partner Cody. I have been involved with the Indigenous food movement for a number of years and can’t wait to share some amazing ancestral food knowledge with Canada! 

Your reaction when finding out you were going to be on Top Chef Canada?

It was pretty surreal not knowing what I was getting myself into but I was so excited to be selected! 

What are you looking forward to most about this season?

Being able to share some Indigenous foods and new thoughts about the way we look at food in this country. Also meeting other amazing chefs—we don’t get out of the kitchen much, so this is going to be spectacular! 

Is there a specific/special/close-to-your-heart dish you were hoping to make the judges going into the competition?

I wanted to share my blueberry sweetgrass purée, something I made at my first food summit and it continues to evolve into juice, BBQ sauce, vinaigrette, etc. It has such a unique flavour; I can’t wait to share it with the best palettes in the country! 

Your top cooking tip for home cooks?

Take a few minutes to think about your dish, it will save you major time in the end when you’re not forgetting steps, ingredients or anything! 

foodnetwork.ca

share:

  1. Katherine Moore

    September 14th, 2022 at 5:10 am

    I LOVE cooking shows, can’t get enough. Good luck to this year’s competitors.

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