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Food TV


Recipe to Riches: and the winner is…

The finalists await their fate (Image: Food Network Canada)

RECIPE TO RICHESSeason 1 | Finale

The six remaining home cooks from across the country were all dressed in their Sunday best for the season finale of Recipe to Riches. The drama was suitably amped up, given the $250,000 at stake: gold envelopes containing the identities of the winners were kept on a pedestal under a glass lid, always in plain view (we attended the taping in person this week and got to see a few off-camera hijinks, like judges Laura Calder and Tony Chapman having a mock slap fight). Host Jesse Palmer called up two contestants at a time, Noah’s ark style, for a one-on-one elimination (notably, this structure was only possible with Smart Cookie creator Sonya Walos’s absence; she never came up). Before each matchup, a standard reality TV video recap of each contestant’s “Recipe to Riches journey” was played. Then, the usually cheerful Palmer turned suddenly grave before revealing which contestant would be going home.

Round One

The opening faceoff was between Jacqui Keseluk (Rock ’n’ Peach Bliss Cheesecake) and John Grass (Chicken Grenades). Keseluk was the first kicked out of the running, but revealed that her old community college was helping her plan a pastry shop anyway. On his way back to his seat, Grass gave fellow barbecuer-in-arms Robert Luft a hearty fist bump.

Round Two

Next up were Melaney Gleeson-Lyall (Bannock Hazelnut Pie) and Luft (Slow and Low Pulled Pork). Lyall credited the competition with bringing her mother’s side, father’s side and adopted family together for the first time. However, it was Luft who got the nod for the next round, returning Grass’s fist bump as he took his seat.

Round Three

A near-mute Rosy Soobrattee (Kulfi Karma) took the stage alongside a dumbstruck Glo McNeill (Luscious Lemon Pudding Cake)—“You’re just giving hand signals today,” Palmer quipped. Once she found her words, G-Lo explained that her son Drew, captain of Canada’s largest icebreaker, actually moved a few satellites around to be able to watch her episode in the arctic—once the ship hit dry dock, Loblaws shipped 24 cases of the pudding cakes for the crew. In the end, a visibly disappointed Soobrattee was edged out of the final three. “Life is short, life is sweet,” she mused. “I’m truly blessed.”

Final Elimination

Jesse Palmer announces the winner of Recipe to Riches (Image: Food Network Canada)

With only Luft, Grass and Glo remaining (and positioned in perfect height order), it was time for Galen Weston Jr. to make his grand entrance and drop a few pithy comments. The Chicken Grenades, for instance, “virtually blew the freezer doors off.” First out: Luft, who left with a smile on his face and a bounce in his step. Down to two, McNeill confessed that she had “very, very old butterflies in [her] tummy doing handstands.” For the final announcement, Palmer, for the last time, turned on his latter-day Cronkite face and announced that Grandma Glo was Canada’s choice as winner of Recipe to Riches. Cue a giant novelty cheque and a face full of confetti. Family, friends and judges all rushed onstage for the requisite hugs, but before Palmer closed the show, he revealed that auditions for a second season aren’t far away. We can’t say we’re shocked: the show is equal parts reality TV and marketing stunt, and has a built-in cross-country fan base of aspiring home cooks. Who knows? Maybe next year, we’ll be graced with a President’s Choice–brand gulab jamun.

  • TeriB

    Congrats to the Lemon Cake ! But what I really want to know is the KULFI KARMA going to be in the stores as well???
    I really hope so- it is the most unique and incredibly delicious> Please say it is!

  • J Bola

    I hope the Kulfi stays in the stores, it is something different and delicious. I am surprised that it did not win the final.

  • HM

    I am soo disappointed that the Kulfi Karma did not win…it has ben sold out in so many Loblaw stores across the country for so long. Would love to know what the actual vote scores were? I did try a couple of bites of the Lemon Pudding but really did not care for it at all…as Glo said, it is a personal palate!

  • Joyce

    Tried all and loved the pull pork best. Quick easy dinner. Glo’s lemon cake was ok but I have made just as good myself.Though something with more substance would have taken it.

  • Brook Mars

    My favorite, and #1 in my heart <3, was the Savory Bannock Pie by Melaney Lyall!

  • Evelyn Monminie

    I cant believe this dessert won. We had it and it left an unpleasant taste long after we had finished it.

  • Linda Fredrickson

    I have to agree that Flo’s recipe wasn’t the best. I also preferred the pulled pork. It was Flo’s personality that won the contest. I suggest that the next contest does not rely entirely on a public critique of the product and that the judging panel and Mr. Weston have input as well because they are the experts (30% public/70% panel). Looking forward to next challenge but suggest you cut out the “oopsie” events during recipe preparation as it has become boring and redundant; virtually every cooking contest show is using the ploy. I assume it is supposed to add drama but it has become very aggravating and annoying.

  • Laurie-Anne Salvino

    I have read several postings by disappointed foodies, most shocked that Kulfi did not win. I do think the judges could had taken more time explaining to Canada how to base their vote. I also think posting the recipes confused the voters. Recipe to Riches is not a recipe contest. Maybe if each week the public could rate the winning recipe using an online survey. The final winner would be based on the survey results.
    I am looking forward to season 2. Thank you President’s Choice for giving Canada a great show that is purely Canadian

  • Yuya

    I agree – your grndaees are gastronomically correct! Nice work. And, thanks for tuning in to watch me. I hope Jesse won't be too sad to hear he's not the #1 draw!