I tuned into Food Network Canada last night at 10 PM Eastern, expecting to see Chopped Canada. Instead, I got Restaurant Takeover, which, according to Twitter, aired earlier in the week. Boy, were people on Twitter upset! #choppedcanada was filled with Tweets joking that Shaw (the company that runs Food Network Canada) had chopped Chopped and angry messages wondering where the show went. Luckily the issue was fixed quickly and the show aired at 11.
Roger Mooking, seen here at a cooking demo at the CNE, was one of the judges for the second episode of Chopped Canada
This week’s show was judged by chefs such as Roger Mooking and Chuck Hughes, while contestants included one person who learned to cook at the Don Jail and is currently “rebuilding” his life (always some sort of “sob story,” I guess) and a guy who runs a “mobile food services company” (looked like a food truck to me). All of the mystery ingredients were more challenging than last week, and all four had problems with portion size (too big) in a first course that included lamb chops, dandelion and crunchy chow mein noodles. I was a bit surprised that on one bothered to go with skewers of some sort – something that could be more app or tapas-like. What would I have done? The noodles could be used as a panko substitute for the lamb, which would be skewers cooked in the broilers, with the dandelions not as a salad (that would probably be too much of a luncheon main), but part of the skewer. Maybe even throw the dandelions into the chow mein for the breading.
For the main course, ingredients included grape leaves, green peppers and pork tenderloin. One of the contestants used the sous-vide machine to cook the pork, but unfortunately it was much too rare. Blue, in fact. He tried searing it so it would cook a bit more, but did not have much time left. In addition, the plate he served to the judges looked more like an appetizer than a main (it really only had two small pieces of pork, wrapped in grape leaves as he was missing an ingredient, the green peppers). Another contestant made a grilled pork steak with sauce made from the grape leaves. Guess which one was chopped?
With two contestants remaining, it was on to dessert, where the ingredients included cous cous, molasses and grapefruit. The first thing I thought of was some sort of rice pudding, and lo and behold, one of the chefs did just that. The other contestant, Shelley, was a little bit more creative, making cous cous fritters with a grapefruit salad. Personally, I thought the cous cous pudding looked a bit…mushy, but it’s hard to get any sort of “rice” pudding look right, aesthetically speaking. The fritters didn’t look that great either, but at least it didn’t have
All in all, it was an interesting episode, so the one hour delay was forgivable (thank goodness for social media!). However, Dean McDermott continues to be an emotionless host.