For those of us that never tire of reality-based cooking shows, it’s exciting news that Season 4 of Top Chef Canada has just premiered on March 10, 2014 on Food Network Canada. Top Chef originated in the U.S., and has expanded to a total of nine countries including Canada, Australia, and Belgium. Spin-offs include Top Chef: Masters, Top Chef: Just Desserts, and upcoming Top Chef Junior (which I suspect is riding on the coat tails of MasterChef Junior!). Top Chef’s format is one of progressive elimination, showcasing professional chefs competing in culinary challenges.
What I enjoy about Top Chef is that it comes across as more “real” than other competitive cooking shows such as MasterChef and Hell’s Kitchen. In my opinion, MasterChef seems rather franchise-like and formulaic: hyperbolic almost cartoon-like judges, suspenseful breaks before judgements, and emotional competitor backstories. Contrarily, Top Chef (similar to The Taste), focuses foremost on the food, culinary careers and technical skills of the professional chefs. I must confess though, I like all these shows – they are just really different! In Top Chef Canada Season 4, the producers have decided to introduce a twist: men vs. women. It could make for an interesting season, and hopefully doesn’t come across as too gimmicky.
The judges remain the same as previous Top Chef Canada seasons: Mark McEwan (ByMark, North 44 and author of “Great Food at Home“), Lisa Ray (actress and author of her memoir) and Shereen Arazm (Terroni LA). Top Chef Canada will be airing on Mondays at 9pm ET. Watch full episodes online here.