I didn’t think that I was going to be a chef right out of the gate. I love gardening, and I thought I was going to get into market gardening or even the forestry commission (as it’s called in England). I decided I wanted to cook professionally when I got hooked on it from my father. He was never a fully-trained chef, but he was a wonderful cook.
I certainly think that with the home cooks that made it into the Top 16 of MasterChef Canada, there were glimpses and moments where I’d look at them and think that I was in their shoes at one time, trying to prove to people that I had what it takes to make it in the restaurant business. Even through my professional days, I have flown to other countries to enter in competitions. And now, running restaurants, every day is a competition.
It’s always incredibly rewarding when you’re surrounded by passionate, dynamic, excited people who want to prove to you that they’ve got what it takes. What I was hoping to find in Canada’s first ever MasterChef is not that different to the essential ingredients that I look for when hiring a young superstar cook for an Oliver & Bonacini restaurant. I look for incredible enthusiasm and passion, a sense of tenacity and determination, a willingness to learn, and the ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start again.
This experience with MasterChef Canada has really reaffirmed for me the industry I chose to get into. It gets me excited that there is such a diverse group of people out there that were prepared to give their all, put their careers on hold and throw in their lot to be given the chance to live their culinary dream.
There is nothing I would take back about the season so far, but I definitely would want to be able to finesse my ability to describe the food that I’m tasting, for myself, the home cooks, and the viewers at home. I want to be more emphatic about it, more sensual about it, more bold and ballsy about it.
I think the best advice I can offer someone looking to turn their passion for cooking into a career, is the same advice I gave to my son: to be prepared to commit to whatever career he chooses. When I go to my favorite little coffee shop and have a perfectly-executed espresso, I have as much respect for that person as I do for our design team when we’re designing a new restaurant, or the farmer that brings the new season’s potatoes. They’ve made the sacrifices with one goal and focus in life and that is to be the best that they can be in what they’ve chosen to do. So my advice to an aspiring cook to is to do just that: be focused. Be determined. Be committed.
Thank you to Chef, Restaurateur and Masterchef Canada Judge Michael Bonacini for guest posting this week. Be sure to tune in to CTV next Monday at 8pm ET/7pm CT for the season finale and find out who is Canada's Masterchef!
FBC Members! We have a special Members Only opp for you. We have five (5) signed Masterchef posters to give away courtesy of Masterchef Canada. Each poster is signed by all three Masterchef Canada judges: Michael Bonacini, Claudio Aprile, and Alvin Leung. To enter to win, make sure you're logged in to the site and then follow this link to the Masterchef Canada giveaway.
Be sure to follow along with Masterchef and all the judges on social media. The official hashtag is #MCC