Season three of Top Chef Canada kicks off on March 18, and earlier today Food Network Canada unveiled the slate of 16 contestants, including five from the GTA (that’s one less than in seasons one and two). Returning this year are host Lisa Ray, head judge Mark McEwan and resident judge Shereem Arazm, and just like last season, the winner takes home $100,000 and a new GE Monogram Kitchen (plus a custom Caesarstone countertop installation, which was the prize in episode 12 last year). The celebrity guests will include Montreal chef-hunk Chuck Hughes, U.S. Top Chef season six champ Michael Voltaggio and Food Network regulars David Rocco and Robert Irvine, as well as the usual sprinkling of CanCon’s finest like Trish Stratus, Russell Peters and, gloriously, Jann Arden. Below, we suss out the Toronto contestants’ chances.
Ruth Eddolls, 30
Eddolls is the executive sous chef of Pusateri’s, which, according to her audition video, was less than thrilled with her decision to try out for Top Chef Canada. In the video, the Acton native makes the obligatory trip to Kensington Market, name checks her first head chef (Lynn Crawford) and talks about the difficulty of being out and gay in a small town. Given her rhetoric about commanding respect from her staff, she’s a shoe-in for this season’s Tough Girl.
Jonathan Goodyear, 34
A former private chef, Goodyear is now at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. In his video, he demonstrates what he calls the “lost art” of roasting fish on the bone and pontificates in a plummy accent on the distinction between “luxury” and “supreme luxury.” We can almost see Mark McEwan handing Goodyear his comeuppance already.
Rebecca Ross, 24
Ross, a transplant from Medicine Hat, was the sous chef at the now-shuttered Maléna when she applied for the show. In her video, she offers some tantalizing gossip about her time at Enoteca Sociale: “I just had a series of inept bosses and became the one running the show…. And then I was essentially replaced, shuffled under the rug…. I was never given the recognition that I felt I deserved.” She’ll no doubt arrive at the Top Chef Canada kitchen with something to prove.
Dennis Tay, 34
In his video, the Keriwa sous chef shows off his scars, tattoos and best breakdancing moves while preparing adobo chicken with chicharrón and toasted rice. Tay also complains about uninventive chefs who hog the limelight, says he wants to “smash everybody” and even drops a cheffy f-bomb.
Rory White, 23
Mississauga’s White is the senior chef de partie and saucier at George. He’s also a skilled suck-up: “My culinary dream would have to look something a little bit like… Mark McEwan’s. He’s got a couple great restaurants.” His baby face means he’ll almost certainly be underestimated by his rivals this season.
And finally, the competition from the rest of Canada:
- Frederick Boucher, 28, of Montreal
- Chris Chafe, 24, of St. John’s
- Clement Chan, 33, of Vancouver
- Kayla Dhaliwall, 28, of Vancouver
- Nicole Gomes, 34, of Calgary
- Caitlin Hall, 24, of Vancouver
- Daniel Hudson, 29, of Duncan, BC
- Geoff Rogers, 31, of Calgary
- Chris Shaften, 28, of Calgary
- Danny Smiles, 27, of Montreal
- Matthew Stowe, 30, of Vancouver