Next up in my Top Chef Canada interviews is head judge Chef Mark McEwan. He’s a busy, busy guy. Not quite sure how he found the time to answer my questions in between working on his growing food businesses, cookbooks, TV shows, etc.
1. You already have a number of businesses and your own TV shows. What attracted you to become a judge on Top Chef Canada?
I really felt that it was a good fit due to my age and experience. It is a great concept and has worked well in the U.S..
2. Was the making of this series quite a bit different from your other TV shows, or did you have similar experiences?
The whole concept of a competition show was very different for me. I really enjoyed the fast paced environment and learning the subtle nuances as well as where other, up and coming chefs have their strengths and weaknesses. In “The Heat,” I am working with my own staff and already know those types of things and have put staff members together to get the most out of them. Both have been amazing experiences.
3. Did you find any differences in the food made by Canadian chefs vs. food made by U.S. chefs? Or in the chefs themselves?
I believe that we are actually borderless except for the chefs from the southern United States that have different techniques and use different ingredients, creating a very distinct flavour.
4. Were there any surprises?
Many things surprised me, the extreme ups and downs of the chefs, both in their personalities as well as the way that they were affected by the different scenarios and challenges was the thing I really didn’t expect.
5. What makes Top Chef Canada stand out from all the other Top Chef tv shows?
It’s our own, it is true to our country and the diversity of our country. It is incredibly honest which I feel is very Canadian.
6. If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wanted to become a Top Chef competitor, what would it be?
TASTE-TASTE-TASTE!!! And don’t try to over achieve!
Top Chef Canada premieres on Food Network Canada, on Monday, April 11, 2011.
One more interview coming up later this week. You can read all these interviews by using this handy dandy Top Chef Canada list.