Alberta could be home to Canada’s next master chef as six cooks from across the province slice and dice their way into Season 2 of MasterChef Canada coming to CTV this February!
A veterinarian from Rimbey, a morning radio host from Red Deer, an educational assistant from Sherwood Park, a stay-at-home mom from Leduc, a film wardrobe stylist from Edmonton and a healthcare consultant from Calgary are among 50 finalists duking it out for a chance to win $100,000 and the title of Canada’s next MasterChef on the second season of the culinary show.
“Being on MasterChef is a dream come true,” says contestant Lauren Scheit, a stay-at-home mom from Leduc. “To get validation from some of the best chefs in the world is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Scheit is one of six Albertans about to appear on the MasterChef Canada series debut Feb. 1 where home cooks from across the country will serve up their signature dish for judges Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile in hopes of making it to the next round of the competition.
Following the premier episode, the home cooks with most impressive dishes receive a white apron and proceed to the next level of the competition. The second episode airs Sunday, Feb. 8 and will see the remaining home cooks battle it out to make it into the Top 16 of MasterChef Canada.
Our six contestants come from across the province and they all share similar fond childhood memories of growing up cooking in the kitchen with their families and enjoying meals together.
“I’ve been obsessed with food and cooking forever,” says contestant Meg Tucker, a morning radio host for Red Deer’s 100.7 CRUZ FM. “I grew up cooking without recipes and being experimental. So for me, going on the show was an excellent challenge and chance to say ‘I know I can cook.’”
And Tucker isn’t alone — Ian Giebelhaus, a rural veterinarian in Rimbey has grown up cooking without recipes and experimenting with food. MasterChef Canada was his chance to prove to the country, and the world, that he can cook.
“For me, MasterChef is about the challenge. In my everyday job working with animals I can’t invent things. There are rules and procedures to follow. But when I go home to cook a meal, I become a mad scientist,” said Giebelhaus. “I invent stuff. I have honestly cooked more bull testicles than I have baked cookies.”
Proud to represent Alberta
While contestants have to remain tight-lipped about final results of the show, they all spoke strongly about life-long friendships made with one another during the competition experience where they dubbed themselves “Team Alberta.”
“We definitely are Team Alberta,” laughs contestant Nikita Scringer, a Healthcare Sales Consultant from Calgary. “They made me feel like I had a family when we were away from home. We are so proud to be Albertans.”
All contestants say they are just as excited as they are nervous to watch their journey on the big screen and relive one of the most enthralling and challenging experiences of their lives.
“I work in film, but cooking has always been a love of mine behind the scenes,” says contestant Kenya Hushagen, freelance Alberta Film and TV wardrobe stylist from Edmonton. “I did gain an understanding that I do know how to cook and it’s an honour for me to say I’ve been a part of the MasterChef family”
“I count my lucky stars that I was able to have this experience,” says Ann Wilchynski, an Educational Assistant from Sherwood Park. “I daydream what life would be like if my cooking dreams come true.”
Tune in and cheer on our Albertan contestants as they compete in one of the biggest cooking competitions in Canada. MasterChef Canada Season 2 premieres Sunday, Feb. 1 on CTV (check CTV.ca for local broadcast times).
Want to learn more about our contestants? Here they are:
Meg has been cooking since a young age when both of her parents encouraged her to get experimental with food and create new dishes. As a kid, Meg would create crazy dishes for her dad to judge. Her culinary dream is to one day have her own cooking show with kids. Her advice to amateur cooks is to never doubt yourself, practice and set a timer to see how fast you can cook things. “To me, cooking is family and friends. Cooking is love.”
Ian Giebelhaus, a rural veterinarian in Rimbey; @giebelahus_4
Ian was raised in a household of great chefs! He grew up experimenting with food, flavours, spices and determining what combinations work well together. It wasn’t until university when Ian really flexed his culinary muscles to find out he had a talent for cooking. Ian dreams of one day owning and being a chef at a fancy fishing lodge. His advice to amateur cooks is to try new things in your cooking and welcome failure because without failure, there is no success. “Do it your way.”
Lauren has been cooking for as long as she can remember with fond memories of being in the kitchen with her grandmother. After being a fan of MasterChef, Lauren took her opportunity to apply for the show in the hopes her culinary dreams to become a cookbook author would come true. She is the mother to three boys ages seven, three and two who are her inspiration to chase her dreams and set an example for her kids that by taking risks and reaching for your goals, they can come true. Her advice to home cooks is to do what you love, as much as you can and try new things. “Go for your dreams, you only live once!”
Ann Wilchynski, educational assistant from Sherwood Park
Ann began her culinary days in the kitchen as a child cooking meals for her father alongside her sister. Her husband is the one who inspired this country girl to chase her passion and audition for MasterChef Canada. Her culinary dream is to run, own and operate the best restaurant on the side of the highway. Her advice to amateur cooks is to dream big. “Just chase your dream and go with it!”
Nikita Scringer, healthcare sales consultant from Calgary: @kita_scring
Nikita has been cooking since a young age under the direction of her mom and grandma’s Caribbean cuisine. She has had a passion for cooking her entire life and enjoys experiments with new foods and flavours. Her culinary dream is to open a quaint little bistro with her foodie boyfriend, and to change hospital food across the country by including healthier choices for people trying to get better. Her advice to home cooks is to keep practicing, don’t get discouraged when you fail and wash your hands! “This experience definitely reignited a spark in me and will help me put everything in motion.”
Kenya Hushagen, freelance Alberta Film and TV wardrobe stylist and photographer based out of Edmonton.
Kenya comes from a family of foodies where she has been cooking in the kitchen since a child. Her love for food only grew as she travelled around the world to various countries and began experimenting with cultural flavours and cuisines. Her culinary dream is to combine her love of food, film, and travel by exploring the world and learning international dishes to bring back to Canada. Her advice to amateur home cooks is to know your passion and make people know that you’re passionate about it. “Be proactive.”