Dale MacKay

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 3: the Boulud touch

Daniel Boulud and former Senses chef Vincent Leung joined the judging panel this week (Image: Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 3, Episode 3

Daniel Boulud has gone two for two on Top Chef Canada: both Dale Mackay and Carl Heinrich, the winners of season one and two respectively, spent time in one of the New York chef’s many outposts before going on to win the title. However, based on the performance of this season’s Daniel Hudson, who worked at Vancouver’s ill-fated db Bistro, we’re not confident Boulud will make the hat trick. The celebrity chef, of course, was the guest star-slash-judge for this week’s elimination challenge—though he was arguably eclipsed by an appearance from Canadian TV’s most eligible vegan. 

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Top Chef Canada champ Dale MacKay shutters his Vancouver restaurants

Dale MacKay with Rob Rossi after winning Top Chef Canada (Image: Top Chef Canada)

The notoriously competitive Vancouver restaurant scene has swallowed up Ensemble and Ensemble Tap, the two restaurants launched by Top Chef Canada champ Dale MacKay just before and just after he took the title for season one. According to an interview in the Vancouver Sun, MacKay made some rookie mistakes, like launching a second location without building up sufficient startup capital, and locating them right downtown, surrounded by chains like Earls, Joey and Cactus Club, which dominate the area with their clockwork service and comparatively lower costs (speaking of costs, MacKay was apparently paying $40,000 a month in rent between the two restaurants).

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Weekly Eater: Toronto food events for June 11 to 17

Cherries from the Nathan Phillips Square farmers’ market (Image: Robert & Pam)

Monday, June 11

  • 86’D: Join Ivy Knight for the Blue Ribbon Pie–eating contest. Wash the pies down with boozy lemonade from guest bartenders with The Order of Good Cheer. The Drake, 1150 Queen St. W., 416-531-5042. Find out more »
  • Sensational Summer Recipes: Marni Wasserman demonstrates recipes for a summer menu perfect for outdoor dining. Marni’s Kitchen, 26 Lauderdale Dr., 647-477-8131. Find out more »
  • Dolce Vita in Lazio: Chef Massimo Bruno teaches a menu inspired by Roman home cooking. Dish Cooking Studio, 390 Dupont St., 416-920-5559. Find out more »
  • Piola’s Monday Night Mixer: Piola’s weekly aperitivo italiano, with cocktail and beer specials and complimentary snacks. 1165 Queen St. W., 416-477-4652. Find out more »

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VIDEO: watch the crowd go wild at a Top Chef Canada viewing party hosted by the winner

(Video: Suresh Doss)

Last night, we found ourselves at an open viewing party hosted at The Sister with the winner of this year’s Top Chef Canada, along with some of his close friends, industry types and sundry supporters.

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Top Chef Canada exit interview, episode 10: that’s a wrap

This season, we’re 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).

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 10: I got soul, but…

Marcus Samuelsson and Dale MacKay joined the judges this week (Image: Top Chef Canada)

TOP CHEF CANADA Season 2 | Episode 10

Last week, we complained that the one-two punch of a vending machine quickfire followed by a camping challenge made it feel a bit like a novelty episode. So it was with great anticipation that we tuned in to see last night’s episode, which featured Top Chef Masters champ and all-around chef hero Marcus Samuelsson, who, as Ryan Gallagher suggested, did push the chefs to try harder. It also featured a shot of a young Trista Sheen, who grew up in Flemingdon Park, in full-out cornrows. In other words: an excellent episode all around.

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Top Chef Canada exit interview, episode 8: meat and potatoes

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).

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Top Chef Canada reveals the rather stacked list of guest judges for season two

Remember last year when Chris Cosentino, one of the pioneers of the offal revival, visited Toronto for undisclosed reasons and claimed he could smell Chinatown from three blocks away? Or when Richard Blais, the molecularly inclined winner of Top Chef All-Stars, tweeted about the interesting tasting menu he’d just lunched on in Toronto? Or when Italian food legend Lidia Bastianich dropped in at All the Best Fine Foods? Turns out they weren’t here just because they love us—they’re all guest judges on season two of Top Chef Canada. Other notable judges and tasters include—and let us be clear, this is a bit of a spoiler for those who really like to keep their Top Chef Canada viewing pure—east-coast chef Michael Smith, season one host Thea Andrews (no hard feelings, we guess!), chef-about-town Matty Matheson of Parts and Labour, Leafs assistant captain Colby Armstrong, Susur Lee and his soon-to-be restaurateur sons Kai and Jet Bent-Lee, Toca’s Tom Brodi, Roger Mooking, Top Chef Masters winner Marcus Samuelson, last season’s winner Dale MacKay and his adorable son Ayden, Keisha Chante, Rick the Temp Campanelli, Lorenzo Loseto of George, Charlie’s Burgers mastermind Franco Stalteri, husband-and-wife dynamos Marc Thuet and Biana Zorich, Odd Bits author Jennifer McLagan, Vancouver Indian restaurateur and chef Vikram Vij and assorted competitors from last season, not to mention the somewhat bizarro guests we already told you about, like Alan Thicke and Mike Holmes. (Whew!) Not bad.

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Restaurants

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We stopped by for a sneak peek of Bestellen, the College Street work-in-progress of Top Chef Canada runner-up Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi and Ryan Sarfeld outside the convenience store they’re turning into Bestellen

When Top Chef Canada contestant Rob Rossi quit his job as Mercatto’s head chef for “new and exciting adventures,” many assumed he’d won the competition. He hadn’t—Vancouver’s Dale MacKay beat him out in a close finale. Now, the runner-up and his business partner Ryan Sarfeld are in the throes of preparing their new College Street restaurant, Bestellen (German for  “to order”), for a mid-November opening. We stopped by to check out their progress with the space, just a few blocks west of Rossi’s Top Chef Canada buddy Dustin Gallagher’s kitchen at Grace.

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Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay to launch new restaurant (sadly not in Toronto) and spice line

Dale MacKay finds out he’s the winner of Top Chef Canada as Toronto’s Rob Rossi looks on. (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions)

We don’t usually cover Vancouver restaurant news here at the Dish, but for Top Chef Canada winner Dale MacKay, we’ll make an exception. Shortly after taping the series, MacKay opened Ensemble (although he wasn’t able to make use of his winning until after the series aired). Now the Vancouver Sun is reporting that he’s launching a new eatery a few blocks away this December (the name is currently a secret). Sure, we’re disappointed we won’t be trying his food in Toronto any time soon, but we take solace in the fact that MacKay is also apparently introducing a line of spices.

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We chat with the winner of Top Chef Canada season one

We caught up with the winner of season one of Top Chef Canada last night shortly after the show aired to get their impressions on the season and find out what they’re doing with the loot (the grand prize was $100,000, along with a GE Monogram kitchen). And yes, we’re keeping things intentionally vague to stave off spoilers. Read our Q&A and find out who won, after the jump.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 13: the winner takes it all

It’s okay. We don’t bite. Really. (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions)

TOP CHEF CANADASeason 1 | Episode 13

It’s been quite a ride. After 12 weeks of special guests, horsing around and glorious product placement, season one of Top Chef Canada has come to a close. And what better way to kick off the final episode than with a smart-alecky assessment of the final three contestants from Mercatto’s Rob Rossi? There’s Dale MacKay, with three wins to his name, who’s known, Rossi said, for “doing crazy high-end food” (translation: no soul). There’s Connie DeSousa, also with three wins, who does “sausages and home cooking” (translation: no sophistication). And then there’s Rossi, with four wins, who tries “to do a whole bunch of different things” (translation: has it going on). After the jump, the full rundown of the final face-off.

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 12: family-styled

The chefs steel themselves before judges David Lee, Gail Simmons and Jacob Richler. (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions)

TOP CHEF CANADA
Season 1 | Episode 12

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Season one of Top Chef Canada has been all about head judge Mark McEwans approach to cooking: luxurious ingredients, simply prepared with exceptional technique. Last night’s episode felt like a master class in that philosophy, so it was only appropriate that the chefs started out chatting with McEwan over brunch at his Yorkville mainstay One. Sure, the conversation might have veered toward the painfully awkward, and sure, McEwan dropped some obviously scripted hints about this love of family-style presentation. But there was still something charming about seeing the four remaining contestants—Dustin Gallagher, Dale MacKay, Connie DeSousa and Rob Rossi— yammer on about their love of food and cooking. Of course, it was all went downhill from there. After the jump, our recap of an episode that featured some high-calibre guests, a tortured quickfire concept and some strangely disappointing cooking (not to mention a Toronto Life shout-out).

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Restaurants

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Rob Rossi announces he’s leaving Mercatto for “new and exciting ventures”

Rob Rossi is leaving Mercatto. Is this a sign of how he did on Top Chef Canada? (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions)

News broke on Twitter this morning that Top Chef Canada finalist Rob Rossi will be leaving the Mercatto group of restaurants. For the past two years, the 27-year-old Rossi has been the executive chef at the Italian chain, overseeing two locations and opening up two more. Although there are three other contestants still vying for the position of Canada’s Top Chef (and the $100,000 prize), we have a hunch that Connie DeSousa may have made one too many sausage dishes to snatch the win, while Dale MacKay’s, um, assertiveness, may have gotten him into some hot water. Dustin Gallagher’s adorableness factor, meanwhile, can only go so far. “I am very excited to announce that I am moving on to new and exciting ventures,” wrote Rossi in an email. We can’t wait to find out more about what those ventures might be (and how they might be funded).

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Food TV

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Top Chef Canada recap, episode 11: street meet

Rob Feenie with host Thea Andrews (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions)

TOP CHEF CANADA
Season 1 | Episode 11

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From the opening moments of last night’s Top Chef Canada, we learned the following: Dale MacKay, the supremely arrogant self-confident Vancouver chef, actually has a soft side (he was missing his young son); Montreal-by-way-of Vancouver chef François Gagnon sleeps without his shirt on; Mercatto executive chef Rob Rossi likes to sleep in; and Connie DeSousa is feeling the pressure to win the competition for all the female chefs out there (about Grace’s Dustin Gallagher, we learned nothing). None of these micro-developments gave away who the winner and loser might be. After the jump, the twists and turns that brought us down to the final four.

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