Toronto Life - The Dish

The latest buzz on restaurants, chefs, bars, food shops and food events. Sign up for the Dish newsletter for weekly updates. Send tips to

Food TV


Top Chef Canada: season two casting call

Although we’re only halfway through season one of Top Chef Canada, it looks like Food Network Canada has already decided to sign the show for a second season. This week on the blog, a casting call appeared for “passionate, knowledgable, skilled chefs who have the ability to compete with the best of the best.” The 20-page application asks prospective Top Chefs to create a five-minute audition tape and answer a seven-page personality quiz, but there isn’t much time, since applications are due by June 22, 2011 at 6 p.m.

Here’s hoping season two will be more exciting than season one has been, with bigger chef names not associated with Food Network Canada, and if it’s not too much to ask, more conceptual creativity and/or use of liquid nitrogen—although those things don’t necessarily have to go hand in hand. In terms of Toronto representation, we’d love to see someone from the Oliver and Bonacini restaurant empire, someone from Mark McEwan’s pack (maybe Ivana Raca, because she’s cute, but bad-ass at the same time), a Black Hoof-er and the return of Origins Steve Gonzalez, for entertainment value. Finally, an American-cum-Canadian program that hasn’t fallen the way of the Top Model and Project Runway franchises. Yet.

  • mattagascar

    Season 2?!?!? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

  • Justine

    I really hope that they choose a more accurate representation of the Canadian population for the next season! More women (I mean THREE?! C’mon!) and more people of different backgrounds! I mean REALLY Top Chef Canada? Season one was a bunch of white guys cooking! I’m a huge fan of the show but please, at least do Canadian chefs justice by showing us a wider range of them!

  • TC Fan

    @Justine, what if those were the best chefs that applied and it mattered more to the casting directors that they had great talent so that it would be a real competition instead of having ethnicities and genders covered? It’s a competition for chefs, no matter what colour, class or gender.

  • Penny

    Hello top chef, would like to see the business mind of a top chef at work, Food cost,labour costs and how to make money in a kitchen! A skill that’s makes a chef into a top chef!

  • David

    Dear Toronto Life…actually dear Gizelle Lau,
    I have found each one of your recaps of top chef canada to be so negative and really sad.
    Can TORONTO LIFE FOR 1 FRIGIN MINUTE say anything positive about Top Chef Canada?
    Holly women, put yourself in these chef’s shoes. All you do is bash them and have no real sense of what happens… Its a TV show. What I find even funnier is that you have bashed pretty much every chef that is on the show. What credentials do you have to judge the Chef or there food? Have you eaten at any of the Toronto chefs restaurants. They are all wicked chefs. Steve for origin is not just a personality he rocks in the kitchen. Andrea at Great Cooks has a amazing pedigree and her own successful condiment line. Dusty @ grace is super talented and Rob runs 4 restos……come on Chick its time to wake up and do research. Actually do some research on your own site, where these chefs have been “reviewed” by your food writer/experts!!!
    Just try for 1 minute to take the stick out of your ass and just enjoy life.
    What did any of these Chefs do to deserve your BS? Have you ever taken a moment to think about it? Food for thought.

  • Jennifer

    Hey David!!!!!it is so so true.
    Take it easy toronto life blogger. Top Chef 2, will most likely be better. The first time around at anything never is the smoothest.
    Do you really need be that rough on our Toronto Chefs?!

  • rod

    @ TC Fan If those were the best of the applicants then there shouldn’t be a second season. This show has put back our food culture years behind and it wasn’t that far ahead to begin with! Just allow Canadians to compete on the American one.

  • EMS

    Thea (or whatever the heck her name is) has to go. Half the time I feel like I’m watching Entertainment Tonight. She is absolutely the wrong host for this show.

  • Skipper

    @ TC Fan…i agree with your post; it’s not about making sure all cultures are equally represented; it’s about the chefs themselves and not their race, gender, or their hometown.
    @ EMS :)…I agree!! Gail Simmons would be a good host…Thea is terrible; I mean “Cou-liss”?!?! Here’s an except from her bio on the food network site:

    “Thea has studied and taken cooking classes both in New York and Los Angeles. Thea and her husband have organized vacations around visits to vineyards and restaurants they have heard about. Thea also recently took her love of food and interest in the restaurant business to the next level by becoming an investor in Millesime, a 220-seat New York restaurant in the historic Carlton Hotel. The restaurant features a two million dollar show kitchen and a two-Michelin-star chef, Laurent Manrique. Thea and her family live in Los Angeles where she has recently taken on a new food challenge – learning how to make toddler-friendly meals that include lots of hidden vegetables for her three year old son, Jack.”

    So here are her “qualifications”:
    -She took some cooking classes. (Anyone can do that.)
    -She is rich so she can travel and invest in a restaurant. (If I won the lottery, I could do that too)
    -She can make baby food. (She can put food in a blender)

    @Gizelle Lau-I love your recaps! You tell it like it is! Hopefully season 2 will be better and that you’ll be doing the recaps then :

  • nevin

    @David if you don’t like it, don’t read it. kthxbye.

  • matt mark

    re Thea, I don’t mind so much, but I know in TC: Masters, being host doesn’t necessarily mean being judge. a host is a host. When it comes to judging food, qualifications don’t really matter.. there’s no school of eatery or certifications :) not being able to cook, doesn’t matter. Either you trust the judges or you don’t (whether they mess up foreign words or not, like USA/TC Toby Young and his “pie-yella”, shudder)

    and in general, i think you have to just take the performances on the show as is. even good chefs mess up. Rob is awesome, but he really messed up last episode. when it comes to creativity, being an executive chef like Dale or Steve doesn’t mean anything when you have to come up with your own creations . Top Chef is about taking your own cooking to another level. having Claudio Aprile or Daniel Boulud making the menus (or at least making themes) is different than being allowed to go as crazy as you want.. you can be as great or as horrible as you are that day. regardless of whether you like them or not.. darryl may be the least liked contestant right now, but he’s doing much better than others..

    haters, keep hating.


  • sickofcupcakes


  • Skipper

    @ matt- Good points…Thea to Top Chef Canada is like Katie Joel to Top Chef season 1–>a poor host. That was remedied by replacing Katie with Padma. I hope they can find someone to replace Thea (Padma would be nice, but I know that’s not going to happen).

  • fishy

    I like Thea. She’s doing a good job considering it’s the first season. (I mean, compare her to that unwatchable wretch on SYTYCD Canada.) The person I don’t like is that judge from LA. All she seems to do is parrot what other judges say. They need a critic in that role, not another restaurateur.

    I hope they have some non-white contestants in season two.

  • Cartman

    Thus far, TCC has proven to be a poor imitation of the original. Boring, unimaginative and one dimensionally whitebread. The Susur Lee episode was very revealing – not one of the candidates could cook anything beyond boring Continental cuisine. I mean, like, not one of the candidates knew how to cook ethnic food besides Dustin, and you work in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver? Compare that to Top Chef Season 7, every one of the finalists had impressive culinary backgrounds and were able to blend some ethnic elements into their repertoire. TCC’s lameness is either indicative of a show produced by a bunch of superficial charlatans or it suggests that Canada’s culinary scene has some ways to go before it can become world class. Producers, why bother with a 2nd season? You are just going to humiliate Canada even more….

  • Sammy

    David, I completely agree with you. Watching the show has been fun, despite the intrusive product placement. It seems the only way to get a conversation going in Toronto is to be negative and critical. At least the show gets attention that way, I guess.

  • anon

    i adore Mark, he is so lovely in his delivery of both compliments and flaws of the chefs, he is honest and genuine and it shows. he interacts very well with his co-hosts and the chefs.
    food network couldn’t have picked a better personality

  • Vera Bauder

    I don’t think Dale should have won last season when he did not follow the challenge. Three courses means three not four. Maybe you should have said at least three courses. You would have given all them the impression that they don’t have to limit themselves to what is asked.

  • Chris

    @David I couldn’t have said it better myself. thank-you.