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Last night on “Top Chef Canada” season 2, episode 7:

Confusion abounds when mystery ingredients are the star of the Quickfire Challenge and the chefs must showcase their creativity.

Chef Richard Blais, winner of Top Chef All Stars, joins Lisa in the GE Monogram Kitchen where the chefs are asked to create a gourmet dish using at least three canned goods. But this wouldn’t be a Top Chef-worthy challenge without a twist – the ingredients in each can remain a mystery until after they have been opened.

David, Jonathan and Carl can’t make the most of their mystery ingredients and end up at the bottom. Ryan, Curtis and Trevor have the three best dishes, and it’s Ryan who wins immunity for the Elimination Challenge with his grilled mackerel with romesco sauce.

In the Elimination Challenge, Chef Blais sticks around to issue a challenge where it’s okay to play with your food.

The chefs head to TOCA Restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Toronto where they must take a series of traditional mains and deconstruct them into a brand new dish.

David, Trevor and Xavier have the most success in capturing the essence of their original dishes, and it’s Xavier who wins the challenge with his Quiche Lorraine, made using shortbread and bacon cylinders with scrambled egg mousse and caramelized onions.

Curtis, Jimmy and Jonathan produce dishes that are destructions rather than deconstructions, and it’s Curtis who is sent home for his deconstructed tuna casserole, made with tuna cannelloni and hot tuna salad with milk crouton.

Get ready for a mouth-watering ride as “Eat St.” season three serves up delicious delights from 60 new street food vendors in 20 different cities including, for the first time on the series, vendors from Toronto and Calgary.

This season features crazy new items like the Boss Hog, a habanero jelly and pork shoulder doughnut in Austin, Texas, deep fried cupcakes and cake-filled milkshakes in Miami, Florida, and a whopping three patty Whole Truck burger with optional cheese curds in Calgary.

This season “Eat St.” also gets the dish on street cuisine in London with a one-hour UK special. Plus, the improved Eat St. App – available on iTunes – continues to please food lovers with more than 300,000 downloads to date.

Produced by Vancouver-based Paperny Entertainment and directed by Peter Waal, “Eat St.” season three premieres Wed., May 9 with a double helping of episodes at 10pm ET/PT and 10:30pm ET/PT on Food Network Canada. 

Each episode of “Eat St.” takes viewers behind the counter and into the heart of street food by showcasing four different street food vendors. This season explores every type of street cuisine imaginable – from Portland’s meat-tastic Pork Hammer sandwich stuffed with ham, bacon and sausage, to the Pnut Butter Bar in Los Angeles, which dishes up an Elvis-inspired concoction of bacon, bananas and peanut butter, to deep fried Cajun spice battered chicken and honey-butter doughnuts in Austin, Texas. Cities featured this year include Vancouver, Miami, Cleveland, Nashville, Seattle, and Washington DC, to name a few. Canadian comedian James Cunningham returns to host “Eat St.” season three.

Hungry viewers can take the street food experience in their pocket with the updated Eat St. App, which uses GPS to locate nearby food trucks. The redesigned App allows users to build a personal profile, link with their Facebook and Twitter accounts, gain points by taking photos, add tips and rate dishes, as well as search for and review vendors. The new version of the App is more community-driven, as users input new cart details and correct existing information, increasing the App’s accuracy. Vendors can also create a profile for their food cart, post recipes and menus, offer special deals and discounts, and update their location regularly. The iPhone App has been downloaded over 300,000 times and is available on iTunes. It can also be accessed at www.EatStApp.com. The Eat St. App is a collaboration between Paperny Entertainment and Invoke Media.  · 

 

Episode 1: Deli-icious Delights – Wed., May 9 at 10pm ET/PT

Season three’s first stop is Caplansky’s, a Jewish deli truck out of Toronto, Ontario, serving up classics with a twist such as the WZE Sandwich, featuring grilled kosher-style salami, schmaltz-laced chopped liver, red onions and Russian honey mustard all in a mini challah bun. Next, things cool down at the Lake Street Creamery in Los Angeles, California, where they dish out deliciously unique ice cream flavours including Homemade Donut and Earl Grey Tea. Next “Eat St.” rocks up in Nashville, Tennessee, for some original Mexican gourmet at the Yayo’s OMG truck. Topping off this episode is Gourdough’s truck in Austin, Texas, where they take doughnuts to a whole new level with offerings such as the Porkey’s, a doughnut injected with Jalapeño jelly and topped with cream cheese and Canadian bacon.        

 

Episode 2: Global Gastronomy – Wed., May 9 at 10:30pm ET/PT

First up is Cleveland, Ohio to meet the Dim and Den Sum truck for some tasty Asian-American comfort food. Next is Alley Burger in Calgary, Alberta, where “Top Chef Canada” competitor Connie DeSousa’s truck serves up some not-so-secret alley delights that include the three patty wonder known as the Whole Truck Burger. After that, “Eat St.” treks across the Atlantic to visit London, England, for a spicy Indian mouthful at a cart called Everybody LoveLove Jhal Muri Express. And finally, it is over to Tampa Bay, Florida, to the Wicked ‘Wiches truck for the greatest – and most heart-stopping – things on sliced bread.

Last night on “Top Chef Canada” season 2, episode 6:

It’s do or die in this High Stakes Quickfire Challenge that promises to send the chef with the worst dish home. The chefs are asked to prepare a soup and sandwich combination that really showcases their talents.

The chefs with the best bread and broth are Jonathan, Ryan and Carl and it’s Jonathan’s Chinese-style BBQ chicken consommé and Vietnamese sub that comes out on top. While Carl doesn’t win the challenge, he does win a $3,000 cash prize courtesy of Milestones Grill and Bar.

For an even sweeter prize, his tomato gazpacho and bacon, cucumber and tomato sandwich will be featured at Milestones as part of a special Top Chef Canada menu. Gabriell, Curtis and Trista fail to offer the perfect comfort food combination, and Gabriell is sent home for his butter-toasted bread with rosemary soup and prosciutto with truffle sandwich.

In the Elimination Challenge, Chef Susur Lee joins as guest judge for a classic Top Chef tradition – Restaurant Wars! The chefs are split into two teams that go head-to-head in a battle of the best restaurant.

As winner of the Quickfire Challenge, Jonathan is chosen as captain of one team and picks Elizabeth to lead the opposing team. Jonathan is joined by Carl, Curtis, Trevor and David at Team Fable, while Team True North is made up of captain Elizabeth, Ryan, Jimmy, Xavier and Trista. Tensions are high throughout the challenge, but it’s Team Fable that wins the battle with their rustic and refined menu.

Carl has the best meal of the night with his roasted beef striploin with brown butter hollandaise, baby vegetables and beef jus. Team True North fails to impress the judges with both their food and their service.

In the end, it’s team captain Elizabeth who is sent home, not for her braised octopus with lemon-herb yogurt and pickled baby carrots or her roasted pork loin and crispy pig ear salad with maple-roasted apples, but for her lack of leadership as team captain.

If you missed last night’s drama, check back at www.foodnetwork.ca/topchefcanada/video/index.html later today to watch the full episode.

The game is on when Colby Armstrong of the Toronto Maple Leafs appears in the Top Chef Canada kitchen.

In this Quickfire Challenge, the chefs are asked to create a game-worthy snack using Tostitos. The bottom chefs – Jimmy, Joel and Jonathan – are benched for their unsuccessful attempts.

Elizabeth, Gabriell and Xavier are the star players of the game, but it’s Xavier who earns MVP honours for his Tostitos-crusted chicken fingers and green tomato salsa with candied Tostitos, winning immunity in the Elimination Challenge.

The chefs travel through history in the Elimination Challenge when they are asked to create dishes for a decades-themed cocktail party.

The chefs each create one canapé to represent a decade in the past for 100 guests at the Distillery Historic District in Toronto.

Canadian icon and pop culture mainstay Alan Thicke joins as guest judge for this challenge of the ages.

The top four chefs, Xavier, Carl, Curtis and Trista, succeed at taking the judges’ tastebuds on a memorable journey through time.

But it’s Carl who takes home top honours for his 1950’s inspired beef and foie gras slider with pickle and aged cheddar.

The bottom four chefs, Gabriell, Ryan, Joel and Jimmy, fail to make history with their less than appetizing dishes.

It’s Joel who must leave the past behind and is sent home for his 1950s inspired cider-glazed ham with grilled pineapple, maraschino cherries and veal jus.

If you missed last night’s drama, check back at www.foodnetwork.ca/topchefcanada/video/index.html later today to watch the full episode.

Last night on “Top Chef Canada” season 2, episode 3:

Guest judge and last season’s “Top Chef Canada” host Thea Andrews – who is expecting – issues the 14 remaining chefs a special Quickfire Challenge based on bizarre pregnancy cravings.

Chefs create a refined dish using two unusual food pairings. The bottom chefs – Xavier, Sarah and Elizabeth – fail to please Thea’s pregnant palate. The top four chefs – Sergio, Ryan, Jimmy and Trevor – turn their bizarre pairings into amazing flavours.

Jimmy, who was issued an oatmeal and wasabi paste combination, receives immunity for the Elimination Challenge for his wasabi-powdered chicken wings and oatmeal with apple, cinnamon and wasabi peas.

For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs pair up to create a baby shower hors d’oeuvre inspired by “boy” or “girl” for mommies-to-be Thea Andrews, who is having a boy, resident judge Shereen Arazm, who is having a girl, and 50 of their guests at George restaurant in Toronto.

The top four chefs in this challenge, Curtis, Trevor, Jonathan and Carl create bundles of bite-sized joy.  But it is Curtis Luk who is crowned winner for his gutsy attempt to make a perfect pink peppercorn macaroon – a move that really pays off with the judges.

The bottom four chefs, Joel, David, Xavier and Sarah miss the maternal mark with their unpalatable creations. In the end, Sarah Tsai is sent home for her sweet arancini with spicy prosciutto chocolate sauce.

If you missed last night’s episode, check back at www.foodnetwork.ca/topchefcanada/video/index.html later today to watch the full episode.

Canada’s nationally renowned Chef and Food Network host Michael Smith (Chef at Home) is undertaking the challenge of a lifetime in support of building a school cookhouse in rural Kenya.

This documentary-style special takes viewers behind-the-scenes of the fourth annual Village Feast, a dinner party for 1,000 paying guests that takes two days to mount.

From preparation to execution, Village Feast chronicles the story of how, with enough determination and passion, one community can accomplish anything.  Village Feast premieres Saturday March 31st at 7pm ET/4pm PT on Food Network Canada.

Join Chef Michael Smith and a team of 300 volunteers for an epic Maritime meal like no other as they host a charity steak dinner in the traditional farming and fishing community of Souris, PEI, where Michael calls home.  

All proceeds from the event go towards Farmers Helping Farmers, a long-standing and well respected charity in PEI that raises money to build cookhouses for rural Kenyan schools.  

Chef Michael is backed by a passionate community including a brigade of 10 acclaimed chefs from across the country, oyster shuckers, local farmers, a Kenyan cook and an army convoy carrying a mobile kitchen.

Despite a few hurdles thrown their way, the team forges on to raise enough money to build a fourth school cookhouse north of Nairobi that will feed 400 children a day. 

“As someone who participates in great culinary events across the globe every year, it means the world to me that I can come home and host such a meaningful event right here in my own backyard,” says Michael Smith.  “Village Feast is an incredible story of what happens when a community rallies together around a common cause with food as the glue that holds it all together.”

Featuring 500 pounds each of mussels and potatoes, 200 pounds of rhubarb, and 100 pounds of bacon the Village Feast menu is 100 per cent locally sourced and fit for the entire community.  Diners will be treated to an old-fashioned seafood chowder, flame-grilled strip loin steak with brown butter mashed potatoes and horseradish gravy, wood oven baked bread, a Kenyan vegetarian specialty called Githeri, and a strawberry rhubarb shortcake.

The 15 remaining chefs get handy with a whole new set of kitchen tools when special guest judge and HGTV star Mike Holmes issues a Quickfire Challenge where the chefs create a refined dish using construction tools.

Ryan, Elizabeth and Trevor – the bottom three chefs – fail to appease Mike’s meat-loving tastebuds. The top chefs in this challenge include Carl, Trista and Gabriell. But it is Gabriell Cruz who really nails it to win immunity in the Elimination Challenge with his grilled chorizo with spiced onion veloute and mussels.

In the Elimination Challenge, the chefs take what they learned from the Quickfire to a working construction site where they must cook for 100 hungry construction workers. These workers are volunteers building a home for Habitat for Humanity.

The chefs must work as a team and hammer out a BBQ lunch. The Green Team – Elizabeth, David, Jonathan, Carl and Gabriell – come out on top and Elizabeth Rivasplata is crowned winner for her chipotle BBQ grilled chicken with apple slaw and honey lavender lemonade.

Team Yellow – Joel, Kunal, Xavier, Ryan and Trevor – disappoints the judges with a lunch that lacks focus. In the end, Kunal Ghose is sent home for his bland pork tacos.

If you missed last night’s episode, check back at www.foodnetwork.ca/topchefcanada/video/index.html later today to watch the full episode.

Food Network Canada is whipping up a decadent display of baking basics with a brand new Canadian original series, Bake with Anna Olson.

As one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs and much-loved Food Network Canada hosts, Anna Olson (@olson_anna) is back with a baking series like no other as she shares her skills with beginners and helps baking veterans up their game.

Bake with Anna Olson premieres Thursday, April 12 with back-to-back episodes at 7pm and 7:30pm ET on Food Network Canada.

In Bake with Anna Olson, Anna leaves behind the country backdrop of her most recent series, Fresh with Anna Olson, to entice viewers and satisfy their sweet and savoury cravings. Each episode focuses on a foundation baking skill and builds on it, taking viewers on an exciting journey from novice to skilled baker. In the series premiere, Anna makes a classic chocolate cake then progresses to demonstrating how to make a decadent red velvet cake, a rich chocolate mousse cake and chocolate glazed petit fours.

“Whether doing it for yourself or for others, baking is a truly gratifying process and I’m delighted to be back to share some of my best tips and tools with viewers,” says Anna Olson, host of Bake with Anna Olson.  “Whether you’ve never used your oven before or you’re eager to hone a particular baking skill, this series is for everyone.  Sometimes the most complicated baked goods start with the simplest foundation.” 

The first two world broadcast premiere episodes include:

 

Bake with Anna Olson: Chocolate Cake

Thursday, April 12 at 7pm ET

Chocolate cake is a favourite dessert for all ages and a staple in any bakery. Anna starts by focusing on the fundamentals of chocolate cake when she prepares a classic devil’s food cake. The day gets even more decadent with a delicious red velvet cake. But the fun doesn’t stop there – Anna advances to a rich chocolate mousse cake, the ultimate dessert for chocolate enthusiasts. At last, Anna finishes with pretty chocolate glazed petit fours, a challenging end to a worthy session in chocolate cake.

 

Bake with Anna Olson: Pie Dough

Thursday, April 12 at 7:30pm ET

There are few things more rewarding than a freshly baked pie. In this episode Anna shares her secrets and techniques to making the perfect pie dough. She starts off with her standard recipe for the flakiest, most tender pie dough around, which she then forms into sweet, sticky pecan butter tarts. Next Anna adapts her pie dough to perfectly complement a delicious filling and bakes her classic pumpkin pie with a braided edge. Then, for a challenge and a restaurant-worthy dessert, she combines delectable layers of warm custard and smooth cream in a crisp shell to form individual coconut cream pies. To cap off the episode, Anna bakes up a rustic yet pretty tart, apple cinnamon galettes.

 

To join the Food Network Canada conversation, check out the Food Network Canada page on Facebook at facebook.com/foodnetworkcanada or follow @FoodNetworkCA on Twitter.

The knives are out, the skillets are sizzling, and the kitchen is heating up as intergenerational families from across Canada vie to join the ranks amongst Canada’s best home cooks.

Which family has the cooking savvy, creativity and teamwork to win Canada’s ultimate food fight? The fun, twelve-episode, half-hour series Family Cook Off premieres at 9pm ET/PT on Thursday, March 1 on Food Network Canada, with two episodes airing back-to-back each week.

Each team is represented by four of the family’s most enthusiastic and skilled cooks, any combination of siblings, parents, cousins, grandparents, young kids or in-laws. All participants – from the oldest competitor at age 67 to exuberant nine-year-old twins – are eager to whip up their favourite dishes, and come together as a family in hopes of winning the coveted Golden Frying Pan and $1,000 worth of groceries.

Hosted by Entertainment Tonight Canada’s Kim D’Eon, each episode of Family Cook Off features two Canadian families going head-to-head in an over-the-top, outdoor home cooking extravaganza. Their challenge is to prepare their favourite family fare in two rounds: Main Entreés and Desserts. The teams are given a mandatory ingredient they must incorporate into their recipes to create tasty dishes and impress the judges. With only 20 minutes per round to prep, cook and plate a complete dish and accompaniments, they must be organized and work fast to avoid chaos.

Food Network Canada celebrity chefs and cookbook authors Anthony Sedlak (The Main) and Trish Magwood (Party Dish) bring years of culinary experience to their roles as Family Cook Off judges. They evaluate each family’s creations, awarding points for taste, presentation and style.  A total of 24 families demonstrate their talents in Family Cook Off, from the lively Boyes family who already has their own annual family cook-off, to the enormous Silver family whose family meals often comprise of up to 200 people.

Produced by Force Four Entertainment Inc. in association with Food Network Canada, Family Cook Off was shot in front of a live audience, outside in the picturesque False Creek neighbourhood of Vancouver. The series is Canada’s version of the popular Australian series Coles Great Aussie Cook Off. The Cook Off format is attracting audiences around the world, with the Singapore and UK versions proving to be instant viewer favourites.

The first season of Family Cook Off will premiere Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 9pm ET/PT exclusively on Food Network Canada, with two back-to-back episodes airing each week.

In Food Network’s fun, fast-paced food trivia show, Ice Cold Cash, Canadian funnyman Joe Motiki rides an old-school ice cream bike luring passersby with the promise of sweet treats.

But unsuspecting cold treat seekers quickly discover that Joe has no ice cream and they’ve just wandered into a game show! Instead of vanilla cones, Joe serves up food-based trivia questions that get increasingly harder.

The first question is worth $10 and with each subsequent correct answer the contestants’ money doubles – potentially up to more than $5,000. The catch?  

One wrong answer can make that cash melt away.  In this 14-episode premiere season, Joe challenges contestants to flex their mental muscles and discover fun food facts like the difference between a panzarotti and a calzone, which animal helps produce margarine and how long newlyweds are supposed to keep their frozen wedding cakes.

Along the way, Joe encounters an assembly of colourful characters including male models, occasional mind-readers, bagpipe performers, a cheerleader and a pair of French teachers.

About Joe: While completing his studies in TV Arts at Ryerson University, Joe Motiki began his career as host of Crawlspace, a popular show on TVOKids in the ‘90s where he reached celebrity-status among Toronto tykes.

The witty-minded and eternally-youthful TV performer has enjoyed a career that spans two decades, with hosting gigs that include shows on LeafsTV, Toronto1 and TVO, in addition to documentaries and even a travel show.

No stranger to the reel, Joe has sharpened his acting chops with appearances in several feature films and TV series, and has lent his voice to many animated programs. His most recent gig was a spot in the comedy series She’s the Mayor.

 

The first two Canadian broadcast premiere episodes include:

 

Ice Cold Cash: Brotherly Love

Friday, February 10 at 9:30pm ET/PT

Joe encounters a pair of brothers with a sibling rivalry like no other, as they taunt and insult each other in their journey to achieve food trivia supremacy. It’s a game of chance when one risk-taking contestant considers playing her luck on the mystery of Irish cuisine, and Joe deals a mac and cheese stumper to a gambling enthusiast.

 

Ice Cold Cash: Cheesy Friends

Friday, February 17 at 9:30pm ET/PT

Joe delivers a mind-scratching culinary quiz to a group of friends who discover their strength in numbers and that there’s far more to know about cheese than just its variety of flavours. A mother-son tag-team of knowledge prove to be just as comedic as they are clever, and two Julies put their dough on the line as they attempt to tell the difference between a panzarotti and a calzone.