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Top Chef: Canada


Pam R
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If you missed the commercials, Top Chef Canada is coming to Food Network Canada. Mark McEwan is set to be the head judge, not sure who will host.

What do you think? Anybody going to send in an application?

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Saw the commercial, entertained the idea of applying for about 30 seconds, laughed and said out loud "what the heck are you thinking". That was the end of that. I'll watch it though.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 8 months later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I don't know of many of the contestants, but I'm surprised to see someone of the stature of Dave Mackay on the show. For those not in the know he's been running Boulouds Vancouver restaurant for the last couple years. He's recently out of a job though, so a TC win might set him up as an owner.

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The list of competitors is up. Two women, 14 men. Hmm.

Not to mention that it's the whitest slate of contestant's I've ever seen, though I imagine that's at least partly self-selection...

Lord, I was so focused on the male to female ratio I didn't even notice. That's ridiculous.

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Good thing I didn't apply. Not only am I not a top chef, I'm white. Then again, somebody has to be bottom fodder for the early episodes...

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 1 month later...

The list of competitors is up. Two women, 14 men. Hmm.

The chef profession is historically male dominated. On the original show, they've had a 50/50 mix (or pretty close to it) in most seasons, but only one woman has ever been named Top Chef. And invariably, as the season goes on, the women are eliminated at a faster rate.

For instance, on Top Chef All Stars, women were 8 out of 17 contestants; but the first two, and 5 of the first 8 eliminated, were women. The season before, 8 out of 17 contestants were women; but 3 of the first 4, and 5 of the first 8 eliminated, were women. In the previous season, the first 4 eliminated were women.

If women are (say) 30% of the candidate pool, it stands to reason that you cannot have a sex-balanced cast without choosing women who are, on average, not as good as the men. The only way to avoid this is if the better women chefs are more likely to apply than the better male chefs, but this is probably not what happens.

In case it's not clear, I'm not making a comment on whether women are intrinsically better chefs. I am only pointing out the numbers game in the profession itself.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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Good points, Marc. I wonder what the actual number of female chefs (vs. male, I guess) is in Canada.

I watched most of it - missed the first 15 minutes because I was at work, in the kitchen. :wink: From what I saw they really stuck to the Top Chef formula -- the host, head judge, Gail-esque judge and a nice star guest judge. It'll be interesting to see if they diverge at all from the US version.

The thing that makes this Canadian is the competitors, of course. I mean, you think we'll ever see seal served on Top Chef US?

It will be interesting to see who shows up as a guest judge.

Anybody else?

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I'm still undecided on this. It was Top Chef, but strangely not. I do not like the host woman - I have no idea who she is or where she came from or what her creds are. I don't recall even seeing or hearing her name during the show. She is a little plastic for my taste.

I like Mark McEwan just fine. I was kind of surprised that they weren't shopping in his store, to be honest.

The two things that I had real issues with were the woman who owns the restaurants in LA - what? We couldn't find one single Canadian chef/restaurant owner to sit at that table? I guess they couldn't invite Feenie as one of the competitors works for the man who took over his restaurant, but still.

Also, the fact that they are shopping at Loblaws, which in BC is known as The Real Canadian Superstore and is not somewhere that I would purchase meat of any kind under any circumstances. I go there to buy toilet paper and toothpaste and the occasional kitchn appliance. Not a place I would think of as a gourmet emporium. Perhaps it's a better store out there in T'ranna.

Oh...and also I didn't care for the tasting being held in the curtain panelled room. What, you can't walk around to the tables like Padma and Tom? I just thought it was wierd. And one plate to share between all the judges? Skeevy. If you are going to have them present dishes on the alter of judgment, surely you can have them make four individual small plates.

I'm going to watch it a few more times, but honestly, I found it hard to be interested in anyone but the dude from Lumiere (which has more to do with Feenie schadenfreude than anything else) and the woman who had the pastry shop that has closed down since she filmed the show.

Does anyone know what the current FN demographic is?

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I did not enjoy that woman from Cali..Arazm. She was crass. I like Mark but found him quite boring. Love that Vij was the guest judge..the guest judges might be one of the highlights. I'm glad that the prizes aren't lame. Loblaws surprised me too. They have Whole foods in Ontario don't they? I'll keep watching.

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I enjoyed it, the passing of plates looked really awkward, but I betcha they were feeling it to and that's something that can be easily fixed.

Some of the comments about plating seemed odd to me (criticisms of what looked fine). I wonder if the food shown in the closeups was the same food served to the judges? My comment is regarding the Lamb, which did not look undercooked at all, just a nice rare, but was described as inedible.

If you missed the first 15 minutes, one of the female chefs was shown holding up a pig face and kicked butt in the quickfire, I'm rooting for her and seal-flipper guy so far :D

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I enjoyed it, the passing of plates looked really awkward, but I betcha they were feeling it to and that's something that can be easily fixed.

Yeah . . . I agree. The tasting was awkward and weird. Please give each judge a plate so they don't have to share and do away with the curtained room.

Loblaws/Superstore does seem like an odd choice. Wonder if they have plans to move the show to other cities in future seasons (assuming they're going into this thinking it won't be for only one season) -- how many Canadian cities have Whole Foods? (Three, according to their website.) There's probably a Loblaw's/Superstore/No Frills/Wholesale Club/etc. in most, if not all provinces. Just a guess.

The host, btw, used to be on ET or some other entertainment show.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've really been enjoying the season so far. I've been pleased to see that they didn't cheap out on the production values; it feels like every other Top Chef series I've ever watched. The talent in the room looks great, and the personalities are just starting to clash, producing great TV entertainment. I especially enjoyed watching Chris and Dale clash last night. (I generally assume that none of these people are as bad or as good in real life as they appear on television!)

I liked the fact that they had Crystal Head vodka as a featured product last night, given that the LCBO explicitly refuses to carry it at retail. That said, I didn't find Aykroyd's judging to be especially insightful. So far, after the first three episodes, I haven't felt that anyone went home who didn't deserve to, but I'm sure that will change.

Edit: Oh, I forgot to mention. I totally agree on the weird "passing the plates" thing in the first episode, so it's nice to see that they've moved on from that. I assume it was largely a portion size issue - who would be able to judge appropriately after eating 16 main course-sized dishes? - but it was discomfiting to watch.

Edited by mkayahara (log)

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I liked the fact that they had Crystal Head vodka as a featured product last night, given that the LCBO explicitly refuses to carry it at retail.

Yeah, the LCBO is a strange critter. Not that I particularly want a bottle of Crystal Head, it's just strange they don't carry it with it being made in Canada. There's a product or three from Victoria Spirits and Okanagan Spirits I'd like to see available through the LCBO as well.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I'm watching and enjoying Top Chef over my elongated Easter weekend. Overall, though, the food shows have become very much worse.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Thank heavens they didn't share plates during the tasting. I think I like the show, though I'd make a couple of changes. Let's see how the rest of the season goes. (I'd still like to know if future seasons will take place in other cities.)

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Thank heavens they didn't share plates during the tasting. I think I like the show, though I'd make a couple of changes.

Like what?

(I'd still like to know if future seasons will take place in other cities.)

I'd be surprised if they didn't. Isn't that part of the usual Top Chef schtick? In fact, I was pretty surprised to see Toronto featured as the first city, since my gut instinct is that Toronto is the worst food city of Canada's three biggest cities. On the other hand, it's probably Canada's best city for television production, so...

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Oh . . a judge change. :rolleyes:

And I think most large cities have tv production going on (even places, like, say, Winnipeg :wink:) -- I guess time will tell.

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  • 2 weeks later...

What are your opinions on the next episode using horse? It is causing a MASSIVE cry fest over on the TCC Facebook page.

Personally, I have no problem with it.

Aman Adatia

eat my LIFE

@amanadatia

Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

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