Top Chef Canada Season 2: Season Finale

by byn on June 7, 2012

in Top Chef Canada

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Photo from Food Network Website

Season Finale!! Whoop whoop. Can’t lie, I’ll be happy to get my Monday nights back to watch The Bachelorette work on my life goals.

We begin with a brief recap of your Top 3: Carl, Jonathan and Trevor. Let’s go Jonathan!

Mark and Lisa are in the Top Chef Kitchen. And they bring back David, Trista and Xavier to be the sous-chefs for the finals. But wait! They’re not! For Part I of the Finale Challenge, someone’s getting a second chance! One eliminated chef will cook their way back into the Finals by using ingredients from PEI to create two dishes. The judges for the challenge are Mark and Lisa, plus Carl, Jonathan and Trevor, so they’ll have a say over who they’ll be competing against in the Finals.

This is so weird. Have they ever done this on regular Top Chef?

Brief descriptions of the dishes prepared:

David – steak tartar + maritime shellfish stew

Judges say: seasoned well, inviting to look at, flavors well displayed

Xavier – oyster with radish + mussels with fennel cream + slow roasted steak

Judges say: good shuck on the oyster, mussels are robust, but the beef is too rare

Trista – oyster with creme fraiche and caviar + seafood soup + grilled beef tenderloin with bernaise

Judges say: oyster is great, soup is refined, bernaise is expert

Carl, Trevor and Jonathan all vote for Trista, but it’s only because they think they can beat her. Mark and Shereen see right through them.

Back in it: David

The Elimination Challenge is for each chef to create their ultimate four course meal, that reflects themselves and their food philosphy, and includes a natural meal progression. This will go down at Hockley Valley Resort. NOW here come the actual sous-chefs and they are: Trista, Jimmy, Xavier and Elizabeth. Finalists draw knives to pick their sous:

David / Xavier

Carl / Trista

Trevor / Jimmy

Jonathan / Elizabeth

Lots of airtime here where chefs pick things from the garden, talk about their inspiration/strategy, and get cooking. The guest judges for the challenge are Vikram Vij (owner of Vij’s in Vancouver), Michael Potters (chef at Hockley Valley) and John Paul Adamo (owner of HV).

1st Course

Jonathan – lobster three ways: crispy, curry, brothy

Judges say: beautiful example of south-east asian cooking

Carl – smoked trout salad with summer vegetables

Judges say: beautifully balanced, brilliant

David – steam pickerel with summer vegetables

Judges say: little bit flat

Trevor – amuse bouche of fresh fig, pickled raspberry, goat cheese, hazelnut

Judges say: not really creative, Mark is confused by the choice to do an amuse bouche, waste of a course

2nd Course

Carl – roasted elk loan, homemade barbecue sauce, fried pork belly and vegetables (he carved it at the table)

Judges say: delicious, nice execution, pork belly was great

Jonathan – braised pork belly salad with asian vegetables and chili-lime caramel sauce

Judges say: pork cooked well, they liked it

Trevor – olive oil poached arctic char with vegetables and truffle vinaigrette

Judges say: loved it, well done Trevor

David – tuna three ways

Judges say: pretty, but timid, plate

3rd Course

David – lamb briyani, coconut potato gratin and cinnamon jus

Judges say: potato was masterful, something missing from the briyani, Vikram tasted french, not indian, flavours

Carl – orange sorbet with orange tuille

Judges say: Mark thinks this is a weak course for a four course meal, and feels he wasted this course. Vikram loves the sorbet though.

Trevor – prosecco and olive oil granita + roasted veal loin with mushroom crust

Judges say: granita is very refreshing, lots of technique on the plate, he’s raised his game

Jonathan- beef short rib panang with coconut rice and seasonal vegetables (served family style)

Judges say: Mark is hung up on the family style serving, he thinks it’s too casual, while Vikram thinks it takes guts to serve it this way, and the beef is succulent and zingy

4th Course

David – corn pudding with sage and dark chocolate truffles

Judges say: perfect, Mark loves the truffles, his best of the day

Jonathan – mini doughnut filled with peach compote and blueberry ice cream

Judges say: crust on doughnut is delicious, flavours and execution are flawless, although his meal progression is questioned (non-Asian dessert)

Carl – peach cobbler with brandy caramel sauce and spiced ice cream

Judges say: flavours are good, but cobbler is so basic, kind of sloppy

Trevor – blueberry lavender tart with mascarpone cream and lemon curd

Judges say: visually pretty, pastry is great, but not enough sauce

Back at judges table, the finalists stand in front of the judges:

Jonathan – amazing lobster starter, delicious from beginning to end, really special and imaginative, impressed that a white dude could cook Asian food like this.

Carl – everyone loved the trout. Mark can’t deal with the sorbet course. They asked how would he describe himself as a chef. He said “farm to table” is his inspiration.

David – best course was the dessert. Mark loved it, very imaginative. His lamb course was weak; Vikram was very confused by his briyani, he needs a little more effort to understand the spices.

Trevor – they asked how did decided to serve an amuse bouch? Vikram said that’s appropriate for a 10 course mean, not a 4 course meal. Mark loved the arctic char though. What has Trevor learned from this experience? He’s totes going to quit his corporate job.

Cheftestants back to the closet, and the judges break it down course by course

1st Course

– Jonathan set the bar high

– Trev missed an opportunity, but he still stood by his amuse bouche

2nd Course

– Carl’s elk was gutsy (not literally, LOL), perfectly cooked

– David’s tuna fell flat

3rd Course

– Carl’s sorbet was shocking, questioned this choice

– Trevor’s veal was absolutely awesome

4th Course

– Jonathan’s warm doughnut was amazing bit it didn’t match his meal

– David’s corn pudding was his best course

Back in front of the judges and David and Jonathan are not Canada’s Top Chef. BOO! Those headbands really grew on me.

Trevor vs. Carl … uh-oh…

The winner: Carl *yawn*

Sooo…where do I submit my application to get these 13.5 hours of my life back? Blergh. I suppose I’ll have to go to Marben for lunch next week. *Oh snap* Carl’s left Marben to open his own restaurant on the southwest corner of Yonge & Richmond. Guess whose building is at Yonge & Queen? I’m coming for you Carl!

Honestly, the highlights of this season were seeing Richard BLAIS (and his comments here!) and Chris Cosentino on the show, plus I loved seeing Connie and Dustin last week. Other than that, I thought there were way too many lame sponsored challenges, and the chefs this year (other than Jonathan) didn’t really have much personality. Carl was so quiet and boring, I kind of forgot he was there half the time. So they’re casting for Season 3 right now, so we’ll see if I can muster the strength to do this again next year. Perhaps if Shereen is on maternity leave it will be easier!

Thanks for reading!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristine June 11, 2012 at 8:55 am

this past season they had a secret contest that was broadcast online only that allowed eliminated chefs to compete to come back in… sort of like redemption island for survivor… anyways, it was a secret and the top 3 chefs only found out about the secret competition before the final challenge.
this was such a boring season of tcc…


Danielle June 7, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I thought Jonathan had this one! And then I thought Trevor might pull in a surprise win! Overall, the season was a bit of a bore and I could have done without the Kraft Dinner challenge and the extended promotion for The Shops at Don Mills. I loved the twist at the beginning of the episode. I’ll probably still watch next season but I’m hoping for a few more chefs with character (or at least a half bouncy ponytail)!


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