After a nail-biting premier episode of MasterChef Canada Season 3, two Albertans have earned their spot in the Top 14 while another will cook for a second time in hopes of securing a white apron.
On Feb.14, we watched 40 Canadian contestants — including 10 Albertans — cook for their lives in order to get one of 14 coveted white aprons. Earning a white apron means contestants received a “yes” from all three judges and advance to the next round of the show as part of the Top 14. Another 18 homecooks were selected to cook for the judges a second time for the chance to earn a white apron— that episode will air this coming Sunday, Feb. 21 and reveal all of the Top 14 contestants.
It was all happy tears and smiles for Edmontonian Terry Adido and southern Alberta farm girl April Lee Baker who earned themselves a coveted white apron and secured their spot in the Top 14!
Terry Adido (photo above), PhD law student in Edmonton who is working on his fourth law degree, was the last home cook of the day and he wowed judges Alvin Leung, Michael Bonacini and Claudio Aprile with his dish of a spiced pumpkin roulade with pecan maple truffles. Judges loved his homemade spice blend and commented that Terry has a great ability when it comes to flavours and spices.
“Terry, the desert that you presented here today — and I speak for my two colleagues when I say this — is the best dish we’ve tasted so far in this competition,” said Chef Bonacini. “It is outstanding. You may have to get all those law books and replace them with cook books.”
As Terry heard those words he began screaming and laughing with joy.
“I blanked out,” he said. “I heard myself screaming and I was thinking ‘oh my goodness, Terry, why are you screaming?! It was unreal. To have highly talented chefs think that my food is amazing…there’s almost no better feeling in the world.”
Once the adrenaline wore off, he felt the great responsibility that had been bestowed upon him to live up to the judges expectations. “I just kept thinking that I couldn’t disappoint them. I wanted to show them that they made the right choice.”
Terry enjoyed watching the premier episode with his family and friends reliving the experience and memories while watching the show and to share it with those who support him the most.
April Lee Baker, who runs a hobby farm just outside of Calgary, blew judges away with her dish of crispy-skin duck breast on a bed of kabocha squash with honey from the bee hive off her farm. The judges loved that she produces her own ingredients and particularly raved about the perfect colour on the duck and appetizing seasoning.
“Your dish is a knockout,” said Chef Aprile. “It’s an absolute yes.” After all three judges said “yes” to Baker, she jumped and cheered her way up to the judges to collect her white apron.
“I didn’t know I could jump that high in heels,” she laughed. “In the end, I cooked with love that day and I hoped it would come through in my dish for them.”
Certainly it did. Cooking in front of the judges was nerve-wracking, says April Lee but she believed in her dish and took a deep breathe to remind her that she could do it.
“It’s kind of like dancing,” she said. “I felt that I had to find my step and find my tempo and just make it dance.”
April Lee watched the premier episode surrounded by her friends and family in her home. She will watch next week’s episode with her good friend and fellow contestant Domingo Lumanog.
Cooking for a second chance
Only six white aprons were awarded on Feb. 14, meaning that the remaining eight spots will be filled during the second episode this coming Sunday. Among those cooking for a second shot at the apron is Domingo.
Domingo Lumanog, a Calgary-based brand manager, did what he does best – he put himself on a plate with his colourful dish of ahi tuna on a bed of raw beet with wasabi-infused goat cheese and mint.
“We asked for you on a plate…mission accomplished,” said Chef Aprile.
And while Domingo was all smiles in the show, he says cooking in front of the three judges was nerve-wracking.
“You can feel them in the room as soon as you walk in,” he said. “I really wanted to deliver on the expectations that I know I have for myself. They said to put yourself on a plate and I really felt that I encapsulated that and it was exciting for me to present it to them.”
Domingo will be cooking for a second chance at getting a white apron and he says he is more determined than ever.
“It’s on,” he said. “I’m going to give 150 per cent.”
If you missed the first episode, you can watch it online here.
Congratulations to all ten Albertans who made it to the Top 40 and the first episode of the show. Tune in on Feb.21 to see what happens to our remaining contestants! Good luck Terry, April Lee and Domingo, we’re rooting for you!
In the words of Chef Aprile, “It’s going to be a great competition.”