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Recipe to Riches reviewed: Episode 3, Chicken Grenades

RECIPE TO RICHESSeason 1 | Episode 3

Once again on this week‘s Recipe to Riches, the show’s formula stayed pretty much the same. But for some reason, the whole package seemed to fit better than ever before (perhaps familiarity breeds acceptance, not contempt). The best part of each week’s episode is without a doubt the batch-up challenge, where ordinary home chefs are confronted with making inhuman quantities of their recipes—even with the help of their professional mentors, it’s a test of their leadership and ingenuity, and it makes for some good TV. This week, the appetizer challenge, was no exception. Our episode recap and tasting panel, after the jump.


This week featured the show’s first GTA contestant, Diana Petrini of Woodbridge, who brought a family recipe for some delicious-looking olives that were stuffed with minced beef and veal before being breaded and fried. She got dealt the toughest hand in the batch-up challenge, which required a whopping 500 portions of each appetizer, with each olive counting as only half a portion. After what looked like hours of inefficient olive pitting, the producers took mercy on her and handed over some pitted olives (the moral, apparently: be careful what you ask for in your ingredient list). Petrini was up against New Brunswick’s John Grass, who made a bacon and cheese–wrapped chicken appetizer he called chicken grenades, and Sara Bradeen of Montreal, who valiantly decided to introduce tourtière to the rest of Canada. Sadly, in a running theme for the show, Bradeen had difficulties multiplying her quantities up 500 times, and so her minced meat went bland, taking her out of the running (with both tourtière and pouding chômeur eliminated, things aren’t looking good for a new poutine-like breakthrough from La Belle Province). For the marketing challenge, Grass—a former football player with a heart of gold who now works at a family-run nursing home—employed a troupe of firefighters to shill his man food outside a somewhat deserted looking Simcoe Place. For her olive lapedonesi, Petrini decided to go with a “high-end cocktail party” in Dundas Square, of all places, where, inevitably, she encountered a construction crew. In the end, it came down to a risk (funny-sounding battered olives) versus a sure bet (bacon, cheese and chicken). And it probably didn’t help Petrini that Galen Weston Jr. doesn’t like olives. In the end, Grass took the win.

Tasting Panel

The bright orange box with a cartoon Grass holding a red chili like a football didn’t exactly inspire confidence in this week’s product. Nor did the 10 little skewers, all shrink-wrapped and frozen together (it took some force to pry them apart). But the first thing out of the mouths of our tasting-panel members after the first bite: “Wow. These are good.” The chicken inside actually had the flavour and texture of chicken, and the bacon wrapping kept everything moist. Some people found the spiciness a little much after a few seconds, and others didn’t love the gooey “shredded pizza mozzarella and Monterey Jack” cheese mix (much of which leached off during cooking). One panel member likened the grenades, favourably, to Doritos. When we returned to our desks, the soporific nutritional effects began to kick in: each little two-skewer serving contains 12 per cent of your recommended daily sodium intake and 21 per cent of your saturated fats. In other words, this is indeed total man food. Said one taster: “When I saw that football player guy on the box, I thought ‘This makes sense.’” Check out the grenades in our box-to-plate gallery »

Next week on Recipe to Riches: savoury pies, with Burnaby’s Melaney Gleeson-Lyall, Brampton’s Wayne Reid and the show’s only Toronto contestant, Tikka Smiley.

(Images: John Grass and homemade chicken grenade, Food Network Canada; tasting photos, Andrew D’Cruz)

  • Laura

    I tried these today and they were delicious! I wasn’t expecting a frozen food to be so good. HIGHLY recommended!

  • parkdaleeater

    i wanted the olives!!!!

    i remember when local kitchen opened and one of their first things were rabbit stuffed olives…mmmmm

  • Evelyn Monminie

    Have not tried these yet but I sure hope they are a lot better than the last two offerings.
    The Luscious Lemon Pudding cakes left us with a very unpleasant after taste. The Rock n’ Peach Cheesecake did not have enough cheesecake and could not find the sponge cake.
    Both were very disappointing.
    Don’t know if I want to spend any more money on this contest.

  • Nancy Johnston

    Liked both one and two offerings in the contest. Didn’t feel the first one was worth spending $6.99. Cheesecake was great but didn’t taste the sponge cake???? Didn’t see the third episode on TV this week. What happened? Enjoy the show very much. Will keep watching and trying out the recipes.

  • Myrla Grant

    I tried these just yesterday. I was not impressed. The pepper sauce was on the bottom of the tray & had to scoop it up to add to the skewers. Wish I had not as then the sauce overpowered everything else. I could see this with no name brands but I am used to better quailty & taste with Presidents Choice produces. I have made similar wrapped chicken before & my husband says he prefers mine over these. Sorry but at $8.99 for 10 skewers it is not worth it.

  • marian gordon

    tried the grenades this week…thought they were good, but…i think you should change your packaging…the sauce should be in its own container to put-on top of the grenades after they are cooked…it doesn’t make any sense at all to have the sauce poured on the grenades in the packaging, it all just ends up on the bottom the container! cheers

  • Louis

    Waaaaayyyyyyyy too salty, just good, not more than that!
    $8.99 too much

  • Darlene Bleiler

    Loved the lemon dessert and i have also made it.Didn’t like the second one.Just bought the grenades but haven’t tried them yet,but is a bit pricey

  • shaun

    I agree 8.99 for these grenades are way too much! Especially when they are just “so so”. So you could say the grenades bombed.

  • MrsPotato

    I’ve tried all of the products, too .. none of which I’ll buy.

    They taste mass produced, and I’m personally not a fan of the tv series; BORRRING.

  • Colette

    Where do you get the Granades dyiny to try them

  • Colette

    Loved the show but now reading other comments I don’t know if I want to try the Grenades or attempt to make them myself Can’t be that difficult since I used to be a cook in a kitchen

  • Anonymous

    I will NEVER recommend these to anyone, no matter how good they taste for the sheer difficulty of getting them apart to cook them, even after leaving them to sit for the recommended time!! Especially for the $9 cost for 10 little tiny skewers… I haven’t even tasted them yet, and I am extremely disappointed… I will never buy them again unless they drop the price severely or don’t freeze them so they are stuck together…

  • Lorna-Mae van Kley

    I tried the grenades along with my son and daughter as I thought he out of all of them would enjoy them…I will not recommend these at all. After the first little bite my mouth was SO HOT (like a grenade) I could taste nothing else and wanted something to put out the FLAME. My 7 year old reacted the same way…My son 14 is finishing off the box. Guess his taste buds are better than mine. I wish the tortierre pies had actually won as I think these are not going to appeal to very many once they try them

  • tina levely

    I had them and they are very good .l would recommend them, you have to like hot foods to eat them .read it and you no on the box it say hot fi you like hot food git them they will love it,fi you do not like hot them don.t buy them , out of all them l like this one . good job and taste good.and you can eat them all year around thats whout l like to, tina levely

  • Delia Huitema

    We tried the chicken grenades and while both being fans of jalepenos, did not like them at ALL! Some thought they were too hot tasting but I thought they tasted moldy! Yuck. Tried another one and thought the same. Will not buy them ever again.

    Have tried some of the other winning recipes and they have lots of salt and fat. Not sure I would be interested were it not for the show.

  • Amy

    I was very disappointed with this product. Not only was it way too expensive for what it is, but they didn’t even taste that good. The chicken tasted dry and all the filling spilled out in the cooking process so I’m sure a lot of the flavor was lost. I will not buy this again and would not recommend it.

  • Shawn

    Bacon wrapped anything is awesome…jalapeño poppers surrounded by chicken and bacon should have been a home run…yet this was definetly a strike out…how two of my favorite snacks combined together bombed was probable due to the jelly…passed on the leftovers and had the same feedback…it destroyed my faith in bacon

  • riderfan

    These were terrible! Was excited to try them, NOBODY liked them. We like hot food, but I also think it was that gross jelly on them. The kulfi however was pretty good!

  • Shari

    The Chicken Grenades were amazing. Very spicy & totally enjoyable. Worth every cent I spent on them. Have purchased them several times & they get better with each tasting.
    Strongly recommend them to everyone.

  • Elizabeth

    I just made these and did not like them at all. I couldn’t taste the cheese whatsoever-it was just like eating a piece of processed chicken with bacon and lots of hot sauce. The sauce stayed stuck to the container-and like others have said it took forever for them to defrost enough to pull them apart. To top it all off they were 8.99, which in my opinion is far too much for such a small and lack luster product-sad because I was looking forward to these the most. The only good product from this show I have tasted so far was the Kulfi Karma Ice Cream.

  • Dagget

    Maybe it was a bad batch, but as far as Im concerned, these should be called “Thyme Chicken Balls”

  • Dagget

    Maybe it was a bad batch, but as far as Im concerned, these should be called “Thyme Chicken Explosions”….sans bacon and cheese.

  • Diana

    Wow it’s strange seeing all these negative comments about the Chicken Granades and the Lemon pudding cake. My husband and I tried all the winners and these 2 were our favorites. I’m really very picky. I do agree that $8.99 is a little pricey if you actually wanted to serve this to a large group, I just think about how much work I’d have to put into it to make ‘em myself and figure it all evens out.