Top Chef Canada – Are you watching?

As a major Top Chef fan I was distraught when the latest season, Top Chef All-Stars, concluded a few weeks ago. It was the only thing that had ever made me look forward to Mondays. How would I be able to start the week now knowing I wouldn’t have culinary drama to top my day off? Enter Top Chef Canada.

At first I was skeptical about the northern version of the show.  Our attempts at Project Runway and Top Model weren’t half as exciting as the originals. It’s not that Canada lacks talent, it’s just that the US does drama a whole lot better. Being friendly and even-tempered is normally a good trait for Canadians – except when it comes to reality TV. Other areas where the US has had an upper hand are definitely in budgets and production. And here’s where Top Chef Canada may have just gotten it right…

Top Chef US vs. Canada

  • Musical score: It’s the same!  You can imagine my delight when I heard the familiar intro “Na na na na”. Yeah! Music to my ears. US vs Canada, 1: 1
  • Prizes: Surprisingly, top prize for Canadian version is also $100,000. Big points for securing the sponsorship. 1:1
  • Catchphrase:  “Please pack your knives and go”, is the phrase used for both shows. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 1:1 (I love you Iman, but the flatness with which you delivered “you just don’t measure up” in Project Runway Canada automatically put me to sleep so that I kept missing who got kicked off).
  • Contestants: It’s hard to tell so early in the game but I’ve already seen some great Canadian talent. Dale seems to be the “favourite” but butcher chick Connie is one if my top picks. We’ve yet to see if there are any confrontational personalities in the pack but in the last episode someone did get thrown under the bus and responded with a very Canadian threat (“if we were on the ice right now…”). Score! 1:1
  • Drama: The second episode of Top Chef Canada started off with a high stakes quickfire challenge, and elimination. Well done Canada. 1:1
  • Host: Thea Andrews is beautiful and well spoken, a great choice to host the show. But can anyone compare to the intimidatingly gorgeous Ms. Padma Lakshmi? She’s so stunning she makes me nervous. Canada: 1, US: 100000
  • Judges: Although I do miss Gail and Tom, the Canadians are doing well so far. Perhaps the fact that Shereen Arazm spent a significant amount of time in LA helps add an element of sharp-tongueness needed for extra spice.  1:1. (However, I did find it strange that during the first episode the judges only got one plate of food from each contestant and had to “try it and pass it on”. Food would be an odd area to skimp out on and there’s no way this would have been allowed during the H1N1 scare.)

So far, I’m pleasantly surprised with what Top Chef Canada has served us. Which side of the border will prevail? You be the judge. Top Chef Canada airs Monday’s at 10pm PT on Food Network Canada and is available online at:

[Photo: Top Chef Canada]


One Comment on “Top Chef Canada – Are you watching?”

  1. rhianna says:

    Yup, watching. Was also pleasantly surprised. Found out that an old schoolmate is a field director so am trying to be loyal despite my heart belonging to Tom Colicchio.
    Thea is a weak point for me so far and Mark is a bit stiff. But, I’m hooked. And so glad the girl from Charcut is doing well. Alberta girls reprazent!!

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