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The Top Chef Canada exit interview: episode 5, hamming it up

This season, we’ll be chatting with each week’s eliminated chef after they get the boot (or, rather, after their boot-getting episode airs—this stuff was recorded months ago). This week’s eliminated chef: Tofino, B.C.’s Joel Aubie.

(Image: Top Chef Canada)

What did you think when you saw the Tostitos display for the quickfire challenge?

Well, I have eaten them. I was kind of excited to see them. I knew just what we were going to have to do when I saw them.

You crusted some onion rings with them. How’d that work out? It didn’t look like the Leafs’ Colby Armstrong liked them too much.

I guess I saw his point: I wasn’t super stoked with them. Something just didn’t work out with them for me—they just didn’t want to stay together. I thought it would be a really good idea, and I’m sure I could do them right now if I had the chance.

Does having a camera on you put you off your game?

I wouldn’t say it put me off my game. But, definitely, the quickfire challenge is an incredibly short amount of time to be cooking any food.

Are you a hockey fan at all?

Well, I’m not a Leafs fan! But I definitely am a hockey fan. I grew up playing a pretty high level of hockey back in New Brunswick like a good Maritime boy.

Triple A?

Yeah, I played triple A, I played high school hockey. I was a left-winger.

Ok, walk us through your dish for the elimination challenge. Why did you make a glazed ham?

The challenge was a time capsule challenge. So I just wanted to do something that would have been appropriate for the ’50s. I guess I went a little too simple for what they were asking for—it is Top Chef Canada, right?

It looked a little dry by the end, no?

Yeah, it did dry up on me. I wasn’t very happy with it in the end.

Also: there was a maraschino cherry on it?

Yeah, maraschino cherries were part of our capsule. So I wanted to incorporate them into it.

Are you a fan of ’50s food?

I wouldn’t exactly say that I know about the ’50s well. I mean, I wasn’t even closed to being alive, right? I don’t know if it was the most glorious time in culinary history.

You were billed as the bicoastal chef this season—

I’m walking my dog on the beach right now.

Did you think the judges didn’t get where you were coming from?

Well, I cook a lot of seafood. I just wasn’t able to get the same quality and freshness of seafood that I’m used to getting. When I get fresh spring salmon that’s still in rigor mortis out of the ocean, or super-fresh spot prawns in May, it’s just really easy to work with. When you’re not able to get that freshness of product, you’re at a bit of a disadvantage.

Finally, I have to ask: a lot of people were a little taken aback at your scallop sausage. Had you ever made it before?

Well, I’d made it in smaller batches before in the restaurant, and it worked for me. But not 100 for a canapé party!