Video: One Flew Over the Cocoa Nest
DEAN: Four chefs… three courses… Ay, yi, yi! …only one chance to win. Now I'm feeling it. The challenge — create an unforgettable meal from the mystery ingredients before time runs out. Keep an eye on that clock. Stand back. This could be bad. Did I put everything in? DEAN: Time's up. Our distinguished panel of chefs critique their work. Oh, God. It's rock-solid delicious. I disagree. That was quite bland. DEAN: And one by one, they must face the dreaded chopping block. Oh, no! Who will win the $10,000 prize, and who will be chopped? Four competitors think they have what it takes to become the next "Chopped Canada" champion. Let's meet them. First up, Chef Romeo Oloresisimo.
I'm the Executive Chef of Prestons Restaurant & Lounge in Kamloops, B.C. I'm originally from the Philippines. I grew up in Vancouver. Moved there when I was about 11 years old. When I went to high school, I got mixed up with the wrong people. I went through this rebellious stage. I brought knives during classes in high school, so I was charged with assault with a weapon. My probation officer got me my first job as a dishwasher in the kitchen, and that's what got me started. By winning "Chopped Canada," I'd like to show people that you can do anything by just focusing on something. Next is Chef Henry Strong. I'm Henry Strong. I'm the Pastry Chef at the Hilton Garden Inn at the Ottawa Airport. After 12 years of cooking, I decided to give up being a head chef to begin a new career as a pastry chef. I entered this competition for Mandy, my girlfriend. She has multiple sclerosis. If I were to win "Chopped Canada," I would send Mandy to New York to have the surgery to alleviate some of the symptoms of her M.S. the other Chefs in the "Chopped Canada" kitchen will think I'm a pushover and that I'll be gone in the first round.
They have no idea what they're in for, and actually, I'm gonna keep that to myself. Then there's Chef Christina Pugliese. I'm the chef/owner of the Traiteur Elegance. I started when I was 17 in culinary school. I'm 30 years old now, so it's 13 years behind me. I work for myself now. With my two partners, we own a catering company. Winning would just give me that extra confidence to say, you won something huge. You can definitely win at your business and win at life. And finally, Chef Daren Bergeron. I'm a chef and partner at Fou D'Ici. Fou D'Ici is actually a grocery store that we opened a year and a half ago. Opening a grocery store, I wouldn't say it's not as stressful as running a line or a kitchen. It's the same, but you're just taking care of more one on one with the customer.
I would say that I guess I'm pretty intense without knowing it, meaning I like things when they're well done. I like it clean. I like it tight. I like to be organized. Participating in this competition, it's always humble to say that if you wanna perform, you wanna do well, but, uh, yes, you wanna win. Chefs, welcome. Here are the rules. There are three rounds… Each course comes with its own mystery basket of ingredients, and you must use every ingredient in some way. Also available to you are pantry and fridge. Each round is timed, and the judges will critique your work on… If your dish does not cut it… you will be chopped. Please open your baskets. Your ingredients are… You have 20 minutes on the clock, and time starts now. Dean says, "go," and I open up the pack of ostrich, and I noticed the beautiful lean cut of it. So I decide to start marinating it. I'm competing for myself, just to prove that I can do something bigger than I've already done, and once I win this, I'm gonna find something else bigger to do, and then get that.
ROMEO: I have experience competing before, so I know what to do. I know I have to be organized. I know I have to be fast. Let's get some fresh herbs. Winning "Chopped Canada" is a big deal. $10,000, you know, 3 months away from having a baby. Can't get any better than this. DAREN: I'm not too sure about what should I bring to the station or not. I figure I need to do a little grocery shopping. I decided to do this competition because I feel as I have something to prove to myself. You have to have courage to put yourself in a position of failure. I decide to open the ostrich first because it's the meat. It'll probably take the longest to prepare. And I immediately think small steaks as the perfect size for an appetizer. I wanna win this, "A," for Mandy, and then "B," for myself, for my own sense of mind and my own confidence. It's time to meet our judges — "Everyday Exotic" celebrity chef and author, Chef Roger Mooking, chef, educator, and haggis aficionado, Chef John Higgins.
And the man who wears his heart and his shrimp on his sleeve, Chef Chuck Hughes. Judges, welcome. [ Sizzling ] Ostrich is a great meat, very lean. Yeah. JOHN: They're really gonna have to ensure they don't overcook it. I have cooked ostrich before in medallions, just pan-seared. So I'm going to make grilled ostrich with red wine Saskatoon berry sauce. When I got the corn, I'm like, I need to grill these bad boys. Little smoky flavor, those corn will go nicely with the grilled ostrich. So I'm making grilled ostrich and creamed corn. Corn on the cob, right away, I'm thinking, sautéed succotash. So I'm gonna make ostrich Tataki and creamed corn. The ostrich is very lean, and I wanted something kind of rich and acidic to go with it. So I'm gonna make grilled ostrich with a corn and fennel succotash. CHRISTINA: So I'm looking at the berries, and I realize they need to be rehydrated.
I throw them in a pot, and then I look over and realize the lollipops are still sitting on my station. So I carve them off the stick, throw them in with the berries. And now I realize it's just gonna be sugar over sugar. So I throw in some red wine and just let it boil and reduce. ROMEO: I grab those lollipops, put them in the middle of a cloth and start smashing them with my knife, and then I realize, like, this is a pretty expensive hammer I'm using here. [ Clank ] Where am I gonna put this? I'm starting to think, pair it with the berries, and little bit of white wine vinegar. And put it in the pan and just let it reduce. Little sweet and sour sauce going. Roger: I grew up in Alberta, so Saskatoon berries, man, takes me right back.
What's it taste like? Uh, it's sort of like, um, a blueberry on crack. Saskatoon berries are going into a pot with a little bit of water to rehydrate them. And the lollipops — I just crushed 'em. They're gonna be going with the Saskatoon berries. Chefs, you are at the halfway mark. You have 10 minutes left on the clock. So I decide to make a relish out of the Saskatoon berries. I add turbinado sugar to the pan with a little bit of vinegar to hydrate the Saskatoon berries and sweeten it at the same time. ROMEO: I'm thinking, let's do a secondary sauce. Little bit of earthiness, little bit of sweetness, sourness. I see it coming together. Then I grab the ostrich, cut 'em into smaller pieces, and I'm just gonna grill it. I love ostrich.
It's like a gift. Obviously, I'm not here to lose. However, thinking about the prize would be wrong to approach it that way. I feel giddy being in the "Chopped Canada" kitchen. Even though I'm a pastry chef, it's really a confidence booster for me. It kind of validates what I've done in the past and what I'm doing now, what I'm gonna do in the future. It's all good. ROMEO: Gotta start working on my creamed corn. I'm now sautéing the garlic. Come on, buddy. Let's go. Then I put the corn in there. Then I'm gonna put the zucchini. A little salt and pepper and a touch of cream and some parsley. CHRISTINA: I decide now is time to put my ostrich on. I start marking it on one side, and there's part of me that's thinking I need to take the meat off and let it rest before plating it, and then the other half of my brain is just saying, flip it over and leave it on a bit longer, 'cause I don't think it's done.
Come on. DAREN: Need something crunchy, something fun. I need to start cutting my vegetables. Don't lose track of time, Chefs. You have 5 minutes left on the clock. As I'm banging down on the counter, I neglect the fact that the ostrich is on the sheet pan on top of a mixing bowl. [ Clanks ] [ Pan clatters ] All right. Oh, no. That's it. [ Sighs ] I knock the ostrich off the table, and I immediately think I've let down Mandy, and I've let down me. Oh, man. HENRY: I'm chopped right now. [ Clock ticking ] Well, Henry just dropped all his ostrich meat on the floor. [ Sighs ] It's raw meat. I can clean it. I rinse it in cold water, and as fast as I can, I get it on the grill. CHRISTINA: The food needs to be on the plate now. I feel like I'm completely in my element when I'm under severe amounts of stress.
I look at the clock, and I said to myself, I got a lot of time, so why don't I make a salad? Back in the day, I used my knives to get myself in trouble. Now I use my knife to make sure I make something nice for people. DAREN: The corn — just wanna keep it nice and clean. Little bit of milk, cream, let it soften, take it to the blender. We're gonna cream it. [ Whirring ] HENRY: I wanna win this, mainly for the love of my life. I wanna make her happy, and this is my way of doing that. I turn around to get my ostrich and realize it's still on the grill. [ Bleep ] It just needs to get on the plate. [ Squeals ] Let's go, guys. 1 minute, Chefs. DAREN: My stuff is everywhere on the station. [ Bleep ] Disaster. The priority is to get the food on the plate. So I just rush.
Sauté the vegetable last minute. Drop them as fast as I can. I have to start plating. I still got a lot of time, so I grab that salad. I put it together. I put it on the plate. HENRY: I know I have to get the stuff on the plate, otherwise all is for naught. Like, how fast can I do this? Oh, my God. My sauce is not on my meat. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. If I don't get the sauce on this plate, that means I have two ingredients from the basket that don't make it on the dish. CHUCK: Let's go. 10 seconds! 10… 9…8… 7… 6… 5…4…. 3…2… 1. Time's up. Please step back. [ Applause ] [ Bleep ] What a mess. Oh! I'm looking down at my dish. I'm saying this is a good dish. And then I turn around, and I see my sauce on the pan. And then I realize… Damn it. Didn't make it to the plate. [ Exhales deeply ] HENRY: Looking at my dish, I see a dish that looks like it was plated by a 4-year-Old. Insane. I look over at Daren's plate, and I see artistic perfection. And I'm thinking, I am in big trouble.
I'm going home. Chefs, you have arrived at the chopping block. Your first assignment — design an appetizer using lollipops, ostrich, corn on the cob, and dried Saskatoon berries. Chef Henry. Today I've prepared a grilled ostrich with a corn and fennel succotash. It's topped with a relish of Saskatoon berries, and the lollipops are throughout. [ Silverware clanking ] CHUCK: Obviously, in a professional kitchen, when you drop something on the floor, it's a pretty big deal. But that being said, we're in the "Chopped Canada" kitchen. You need to present. Thank you, Chef. Well, the meat is cooked very, very nice. I mean, it's nice and juicy and moist. However, I find with the Saskatoon berries, they really weren't rehydrated enough, and they've become very candied. I should have put a bit more liquid in the reduction. The whole dish in general is just craving salt.
Uh, I know you're a pastry chef, and I feel like it is the secret ingredient in most desserts and pastries — salt. But I do love the flavors. I love the succotash. I think it's — it's very, very good. Chef Christina. Judges, today I have prepared for you a grilled ostrich topped with red wine and Saskatoon berry sauce. The meat is sitting on top of sautéed corn with purple asparagus. I like the treatment of the Saskatoon berries. It works. It's a little bit on the sweet side for me, but I really enjoy it. Thank you, Chef. The aroma of this dish is incredible. It hits. It just wafts up, and it's just so promising. The downfall of this dish, though, is definitely the meat. I have ostrich on my plate that goes from rare to jerky. It's a big problem. Thank you. Chef Christina, how did you first get interested in cooking? Just grew up in the kitchen every day of my life. Coming from an Italian family, it's just what you do, basically.
I could have answered that question for her. [ Christina laughs ] I actually almost left the culinary world to go into accounting and realized that I'm not made to sit down at a desk exactly. I cannot. There's no way around it. Chef Christina, thank you. Thank you. Chef Romeo. What I have to you today is grilled ostrich with creamed corn. Please enjoy. Chef Romeo, this is a wonderful appetizer. I love the doneness of the meat. It's perfectly cooked. I like the pesto. It gives another dimension. A little salad type thing happening there as well. The shame is that you missed both the dried Saskatoon berries and the lollipops. I actually thought I was great for time, so I decided to put a little salad on the side, to bring more freshness, and…I totally forgot about the berries on the side.
You know, the meat was just perfect. You know, I wish I could have the berries on there and bring it together. I understand. Chef Romeo, how did you get your start in cooking? Actually, when I was younger, I got myself in a lot of troubles when I was in high school. My probation officer at that time told me that I have to get a job. So my first job was a dishwasher, and that's what really got me started cooking. Chef Romeo, thank you. Thanks. And finally, Chef Daren. Today you have a ostrich Tataki, creamed corn, and a sweet and sour booster of vinaigrette to accompany it. Bon appétit. [ Silverware clanking ] I think the ostrich is perfect. The corn — it's salty. It's delicious. It's, um, perfect accompaniment. It really kind of brings it all together. The one thing that doesn't work so well for me is — is the vegetables. You know, it's so vibrant. There's so much color.
And with the creaminess of the corn, I would have left them, you know, maybe seasoned a little bit and raw. Thank you. I thoroughly enjoyed this dish. The corn is amazing. My only criticism on this plate is I have, like, a large pool of oil here. I'm feeling that it's very slick when everything else on the plate is so bright and fresh. Thank you. Chefs, the judges will need some time to weigh the pros and cons of your first dishes. Thank you. I was shaking so much in that last 10 seconds, I thought the corn was gonna pop. [ Imitates popping sound ] It's kind of a tough one. CHRISTINA: I can't believe I overcooked my meat. I wish that I screwed up on a dish that, you know, I overseasoned it or stuff like that, because I was tasting it all day.
That's what killing me right now. Decision time, judges. Romeo left two of the main ingredients off of the plate. It's a shame because the flavors on that plate were really, really good. JOHN: That dish was absolutely superb. I loved the little pesto. Ahh. The flavor. I mean, the whole thing was lively. The meat was cooked perfectly. What'd you guys think of Christina? CHUCK: Obviously, the meat was overcooked, I think, across the board for us, but I thought the rest of the dish — those were great flavors there. Overall, though, I thought Christina did a really nice dish. You know, the execution wasn't perfection. Chef Daren put forth a beautiful plate. How were his tastes? The only concern I had with Chef Daren's plate was there was a little bit too much oil. JOHN: And Chef Daren's plate was maybe one of the best dishes I've ever had on "Chopped Canada.
" It looked good. It tasted good. Well, Chef Henry hit a stumbling block when his ostrich decided to run away on him. He spent a good 3, 4 minutes saving the ostrich so that it was serveable. And he lost a little bit of time in seasoning and stuff like that, but everything made the plate. CHUCK: You know, the succotash had great flavors in there. What about the use of the lollipop and the Saskatoon berries? Oh, the Saskatoon berries and the lollipop kind of clumped together. It was almost like a brittle. Do you have a decision? Definitely. Yes, we do. We do. HENRY: I was elated when I saw them eat the meat. They were actually smiling, so it was a big relief. ROMEO: I honestly think Henry should go because I think anything that goes down on the floor is inedible. I'm surprised even the judges ate it.
You know, who knows what's on the floor? So, whose dish is on the chopping block? [ Clock ticking ] So, whose dish is on the chopping block? Chef Romeo, you've been chopped. Judges? Romeo, you had a great showing in the appetizer. The flavors were bursting and bright. Unfortunately, two of the four ingredients just never made it to the plate. So for these reasons, you've been chopped. ROMEO: I missed two ingredients. Miss one is bad, and you miss two, there's no way they're gonna put me through. Just gotta be positive and just move on. Chef Henry, Chef Christina, and Chef Daren, congratulations. You made it to the second round. Please open your baskets. Your entrée must include… This time, you have 30 minutes on the clock. Time starts now. HENRY: The first thing I do is deal with the wild boar. Open the package, and I see a very big, bony, fatty cut, and I think, uh-oh.
What do we do with this? CHRISTINA: What am I supposed to do with 5 ounces of meat and 20 ounces of fat? First thing I do is carve out smaller nugget of usable meat and keep the fat on the side. So I decide for my entrée round, I'm gonna make oat crusted boar with cucumber salad. Within a minute, I pretty much had my idea in my head. I decide for my entrée to make wild boar meat salad and a strawberry parfait jus. I got to the pantry and I grab quinoa, come back to my station and then cook it off. JOHN: The oats, you know, they're gonna take some time to cook, and they're gonna be very, very dry, and yeah. So you really have to think what you're gonna do with that. I think you're making a crust. CHRISTINA: I get a whole bunch of dried spices together, toss them in with the oats, and I start rolling my meat, just so I can get a good sear on it. I have to be a thousand percent sure that I don't overcook my protein in round 2. DAREN: So the boar — I'm cooking it onto the grill like that for flavor and char. Winning is absolute priority.
Cucumber — I'm just cutting big pieces, and then rolling into salt and just letting it sit on the counter. I've got skin, I've got fat, I've got bone. I've got meat. I'm planning on making a wild boar ragout with a cucumber and strawberry cream salsa. I go to the pantry, and I get the lemongrass, ginger, and onion. I know I wanna add those to the bones to perfume the ragout. [ Sizzling ] I run to the pantry, and I grab some mushrooms just so I could build a sauce. I need to win this. It's just to prove to myself that I can do this. [ Sizzling ] I love wild boar. Oh, my God. It's so good. JOHN: If they overcook the wild boar, it's gonna be like shoe leather. DAREN: I saw in the pantry three different types of sausages, so I take them back to the station, cut them up, and then go into the pan. Then I rinsed off the salt off the cucumber, and I decided to put the contrast with the grilled asparagus. I now had that small nugget of meat, so when they're cooking in the pan, they'll thoroughly cook, and it won't be tough.
I wanna win this. I need to pull out all the stops, use all 20 years of experience that I have so I can win this $10,000 to go back to Mandy and make sure she gets the help she needs. Come on. Get hot. [ Sizzling ] Ugh. The strawberry parfait definitely threw me a loop. No matter which way around it, it is going to become a vinaigrette. I always challenge myself. Every time I've challenged myself with something, I've succeeded, so I need to succeed in something else that I want. I've never actually had a parfait like that. What is it like? CHUCK: It's like a strawberry jelly mixed with whipped cream. DAREN: The strawberry parfait — when I see it, I'm like, is this a joke? I figure this is going straight in the sauce, accompany the boar. Anyone that would enter a competition like this would be lying if they would say that they do not want to win. Chefs, you're at the halfway point.
15 minutes left on the clock. HENRY: Once the vegetables and meat get to a browning point that I like, if I add the oats, they'll pick up all of that fat and soak it up. I dice up the cucumber, I add some fresh tarragon and cilantro and then mix it with the strawberry cream, so I think it'll melt over the dish and give it the texture that I want. I'm still wondering what I'm gonna do as a starch for this dish, and then I remember there's fresh pasta in the pantry, so I run over there again, grab the pot, get back to my station, dump it in the hot water. DAREN: Sausages seem crispy enough to me, into the mixture with the mustard and the herbs and all the rest. And then… [ Exhales deeply ] Look at the pork again. It's like, this is not gonna work. HENRY: I head over to the deep fryer because I want this pork skin to cook.
I want it to be brittle so I can hack it up at a later time to use as a garnish. Cook, you little [ Bleep ], cook. Get it in gear, Chefs. You only have 5 minutes left. CHRISTINA: I decide just to roughly chop the cucumber and just toss it lightly with a little bit of the vinaigrette. I feel the ragout — it's definitely a leap over what I did in the first round, and I'm much, much more satisfied with it. It's really good. [ Sighs ] CHRISTINA: I cut into my boar and I realize that some spots are a little bit too rare, so I just slice it up and leave the slices in to finish cooking. And I'm just praying that it's not gonna overcook again. Chef Christina just put her meat back in the pan. It looked very, very rare. I'm not sure it's gonna be ready in time. DAREN: At this point, everything's pretty done.
I look at the pork again. [ Sizzling ] Whoo. It is not gonna be done. HENRY: I have to run to the deep fryer and check my wild boar skin. I take it out… [ Crunching ] It's really hard. I cannot put that on a plate. It's fatty, crispy pork. I have to think of a way to make this edible. [ Under breath ] Oh, that's hot, that's hot, that's hot. 1 minute left, Chefs. You have 1 minute left. As I'm putting the pasta down, I realize that it's saucy but not saucy enough. If my mother or my grandmother saw that pasta, they would definitely tell me put it back in the pot and fix it. Hiyah. I'm losing control over the situation. You know, this is cowboy style, so we're gonna slap it onto the grill and make the best of a bad scenario. Chefs, your entrées are due in 10…9..
.8…7… 6…5… 4…3… 2…1. Time's up. Please step back. HENRY: I feel really good about the dish I've made. I'm not worried about any part of my dish. DAREN: Looking at my plate, it's gonna have to do. I'm very worried about the pasta. I'm worried that it's just gonna ruin everything else for me. Chefs, next stop — the judges. [ Clock ticking ] Chefs, I'm assuming this is the first time you've had to make to make an entrée with strawberry parfait, whole oat flakes, wild boar, and cucumbers. Chef Daren, tell us how you wrapped your head around this basket. Wild boar, meat salad, and a strawberry parfait jus. The grains were there. They're chosen. So I said mixed grain salad with vegetables.
Enjoy, gentlemen. Chef Daren, I really like the flavors in the dish. I thought the quinoa and the oats was a very clever use of the grains coming together like that. Feels light and healthy. The boar — I love a little bit pink on the pork. It's all good. It's cool. But that's raw on the inside. Yep. There's a lot of richness to this dish. So the cucumber really kind of breaks it down and really helps it a lot, but my big, big, big, big concern is this. I mean, blood sausage — one of my favorites. But I can't — I can't even pick it up. Wow. Chef Daren, thank you. Merci. Chef Christina, what have you made? Judges, for you today, I've made an oat-crusted boar sitting on top of fresh noodles with egg cream mushroom sauce, and a cool cucumber salad on the side. I love the pork. The pork is nice.
It's tender. Yeah, the pork is — Look how pink that is. It's absolutely fantastic. However, the noodles are just crying for some liquid, some moisture. They're very, very heavy and just really unexciting. Very inventive, creative use of the strawberry parfait, making that kind of dressing for the cucumbers. I thought it was really, really delicious. Thank you. And finally, Chef Henry, tell us what you made. Judges, today I've prepared for you a wild boar ragout with a cucumber and strawberry cream salsa. I love the fact that you really used the wild boar in its entirety. There's something about this dish — the smell, the color — that really was quite exotic. I-I didn't like this. The first thing I did was take it off. But in general, I quite like the flavors. The only thing I would say for me personally is to take a wonderful piece of wild boar and chop it up like this and use it in this form — I have a problem with.
What I really liked about this, and it's very simple, very subtle little thing, is the cucumber. It refreshes the palate. You go back in. You get another little bite, and it's a totally different taste. Yeah, I was trying to think Nova Scotia meets Vietnam. Chef Henry, thank you. Thank you. After sampling your creations, our judges need some time to talk it out. [ Exhales deeply ] I won't lie. I'm happy. I'm happy that I had a decision, stuck with it, and it worked. I find it hard to say who's gonna win because it's very subjective. I think it's pretty fair play and tight. I wanna redo my noodles. [ Chuckles ] So, judges, what were you wild about, and what was a bore? I love Chef Henry's dish. All the flavors were there — the strawberry parfait, the oats were in there adding thickness, but a little bit of texture. The cucumbers added a beautiful punch.
I loved it. For me, in Henry's dish, the wild boar inside the dish, gotta agree with John. You know, to have it minced up and then rehashed and rechopped and then dumped in a stew, I thought it was a bit tough and chewy. On Chef Daren's dish, the wild boar, for me, was dead raw. It was like sashimi. Yeah, it wasn't cooked. I think we all liked the quinoa. We all liked the oatmeal. But really, the sausage for me — You know what I mean? I just — The fork just bounced right back. It's like poker chips. That was kind of the real fail on that dish. Besides that, it really came together for me. Yeah, I mean, Chef Christina — the use of the strawberry parfait was excellent. I thought her wild boar was wonderful. It was cooked perfectly. CHUCK: Yeah. But I think the dish came flat with the seasoning, and, you know, for an Italian chef, you want sauce.
She knows better. I think she just slipped, you know? HENRY: I'm feeling very nervous about going to the pastry round. I don't think I have an advantage going into the dessert round because this is completely unconventional baking. DAREN: Hearing the comments about the dry sausages, I don't know. I'm not sure what to expect, so I'm not as relaxed as I would like to. CHRISTINA: At this point, I'm not sure if I'm going through or not. Whatever happens, happens. [ Clock ticking ] So, whose dish is on the chopping block? Chef Christina, you've been chopped. Judges. Chef Christina, although your cucumber and strawberry parfait salad was quite delicious, the lack of sauce and seasoning on the remainder of your dish is the reason you're being sent home. It was a great honor. Thank you. Chef Christina, thank you for joining us today.
I wish I had put more sauce on the noodles. That's what probably upsets me the most, is that I'm being sent home, being Italian, and I screwed up on a pasta. HENRY: Tough competition — that's what Daren is. I was hoping to meet him in the third round, and here we are. I can feel it. I can feel it for real now. It's coming. I would love to win this. Chef Henry, Chef Daren, please open your baskets. For dessert, we have… Chefs, you have 30 minutes on the clock, and time starts now. I see the chestnuts and immediately think of some type of brittle. I see those pickled eggs and I say, "custard." I'm making a grilled plum and sticky chestnut pot pie for my dessert. The stakes are way higher, and I'm not sure what to expect, so I'm not as relaxed as I would like to. What am I doing? I say white chocolate, yogurt. Doing a crémeux with caramelized plums and cocoa. Judges, one of these things is not like the other. Pickled eggs are a tough one to use. As much as sometimes you wanna use that ingredient and showcase it, I think here you need to really hide that as much as you possibly can. I'm thinking the candied chestnuts.
I got the cocoa on my mind, and when I see the turbinado sugar, I see the magic ingredient that's gonna bring everything together. I'm so happy to make it to this round because I finally get to showcase what I do. I get to bake. I feel like these textures are gonna work, so at this point, I'm leaving the chestnuts with that little bit of glucose and the sugar inside, and I'm happy with it. I take the pickled eggs, and I'm roughly chopping. I'm thinking it is a little odd to be making custard out of pickled eggs, but at the same time, if I overthink it, it's gonna slow me down. If you do a simple ganache, you have cream, you know, almost equal parts, but I figured I'd put a little more chocolate into it because of the egg. And after that, a little bit of gelatin to give it a little bit of body and then whisk in the yogurt, let it set.
But at this point, I'm working around the egg and combining these flavors that will come in and enhance and integrate it within the dish. The cocoa powder I actually add to the food processor with flour. I process the butter into the flour and cocoa mixture, and then I add ice water to keep the temperature down and turn it into a cohesive, flaky dough. [ Processor whirring ] Chefs, keep an eye on the clock. You're at the halfway point. 15 minutes on the clock. I have the crémeux going. I figure there is not too much sweetness with the chestnuts, so crunch down some biscotti that was in the pantry and add it to it. Just make it a little more acidic and pasty. The chestnuts — I realize the easiest thing to do is just to get some turbinado sugar in the pan with agave syrup and a pinch of salt and just begin to caramelize it over a high heat. I pour the chestnut brittle onto a baking sheet, and I put it in the blast chiller. I'm caramelizing the plums. I want to build a proper texture without them becoming totally crushed.
I would love to win this, and especially finishing off with dessert, the part that preoccupies me the most. I decide to just chop the ends off of the plums. I can cook them faster, so I put them in a bowl with a little bit of grapeseed oil, some turbinado sugar, and some salt and throw them directly onto the grill. DAREN: I turn around, and I see the cocoa, and I said wow, where am I putting this cocoa? I see the caramelized plums, I say, cocoa's going right here. You've found your partner. Well, with the pastry, I decide that I'm going to roll it out as flat as I can and just drop it right onto a Silpat and get it in the oven. Now that I'm so close, I just don't like the option of not winning. Stay focused, Chefs. You have 5 minutes left on the clock. I wanna win this for Mandy. DAREN: I decide with the egg, that I'm gonna leave it whole and not deconstruct it or try to dilute it and to mask it into something else.
HENRY: Awesome. I wanna make sure that basket ingredient is highlighted, but it isn't so strong that it completely drowns out the other flavors of the basket. It smells really good in here right now. As I'm tasting all this together, it's actually — surprisingly, it's making a lot of sense flavor-wise. My dough looks ready, and it's time to come out. As I'm pulling it out of the oven, I'm really not thinking this through. [ Singsongy ] Burn myself. [ Normal voice ] I'm feeling the heat come through this rag very quickly. Sweet. The competition is over in 1 minute. DAREN: My goal for today is to win. I've been so good with my time, and now suddenly I'm kind of screwing up my time looking for something as simple as a cutter.
Finishing touches, Chefs. 10…9… 8…7…6… 5…4… 3…2… 1. Time's up. And please step back. [ Exhales deeply ] I look over at Daren's dish, and I can't believe he quartered the eggs. I really think that Daren will make something different, not just chopped eggs. DAREN: I lean over and look at Henry's plate. I'm not too sure what to think about the plate because you can't really see what's going on in there. Chefs, it's time to face the judges one last time. [ Clock ticking ] 4 chefs set out to make an unforgettable 3-course meal. Now only two remain — Chef Henry and Chef Daren. Chefs, the dessert round was your opportunity to impress the judges with a dessert made from pickled eggs, plums, chestnuts, and cocoa powder.
Let's see how you did. Chef Daren. Judges, you have crémeux, caramelized plums with cocoa. Bon appétit, monsieur. I tried your crémeux. It was delicious. The plums — fantastic. I went into that egg out of obligation. You did a really fantastic job with a very, very difficult ingredient for dessert. So I commend you on that. I was really skeptical of this dish, and, uh, the egg — I was gonna take a small piece, but you know, being a chef, you have to be open-minded. I really quite enjoyed it, so, uh, my eyes have been opened to pickled eggs. Merci. To come up and basically just chop the egg in half, I feel it would have been better if it was really incorporated. Because I had really amazing bites, and the one bite that I didn't like was the one that had the egg in it. I chanced it, and that's the decision I made, and I'll stand by it. Chef Henry. Judges, today for you for dessert, I made a grilled plum and sticky chestnut pot pie. [ Spoons clanking ] Chef Henry, a very interesting take on dessert. Little pot pie.
The canvas is hidden by your pastry on top with the cocoa, which is nice and soft, and you can see the layers being built up there as well, so it's very, very nice. CHUCK: I'm on the fence in terms of the flavor because, you know, the topping, the plums, even the chestnuts I thought were fantastic. But when I dig deeper, there's that lingering, kind of pickled egg flavor that I just — just can't get rid of. Thank you, Chef. Unlike Chuck, who didn't like that pickly flavor, I thought it worked really well with the sweetness of the plums, the slight tartness of it, and when you brought in the brittle, everything just went… [ Makes whooshing sound ] I-I really, really like this dish a lot.
I'm — I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Chef Henry, what would it feel like to take the "Chopped Canada" championship back to your restaurant? That restaurant would never see it. [ Laughs ] I would take it right to my girlfriend and just give her the biggest hug I could and tell her to make the reservations for New York 'cause we're going. Chefs, the judges have had an opportunity to try all three of your courses, and they will take them all into consideration. Thank you, Chefs. I thought they were gonna hate it. Why? Why would you say that? I don't know. I just had it in my mind the entire time. "They're gonna hate it, they're gonna hate it, they're gonna hate it." I really wasn't sure when I made that custard whether or not it was gonna work. When I opened the box, it was all about fear.
[ Laughs ] Judges, you have a very difficult decision to make. They were both really fantastic desserts, and there's a very fine line between which one was great and which one was really good. CHUCK: Chef Daren's almost saying, like, "there's a pickled egg in this dessert," you know? Might not be your favorite thing in the dish. It's right here. Not my favorite bite, but there's a lot of the stuff that I like around here. On Chef Henry's, I'm like, I can't get away from the egg. Every bite I take, there's egg, there's egg, there's egg, so yeah, it's disguised. It's masked, but I can't get away from it. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. I'm kinda leaning towards Daren. I still lean towards Henry, though. I'll finish his pickled egg. I won't finish Daren's.
Well, in the appetizer round, Chef Henry dropped his ostrich meat, rinsed it off, got it on the plate. It was amazing he got it on the plate, but at the end of the day, it's cool that you got it on, but it's gotta taste great, and it was not seasoned well. But the one thing I did like about his succotash especially when you put the fennel in it, I think you just gave another dimension to the plate. But Daren's dish was probably one of the best dishes we've had all day. The ostrich was close to perfect. Chef Daren's Saskatoon berries — they weren't hydrated enough. But I think it's undeniable, we all love Daren's appetizer. For sure. 100%. We're singing the praises of Chef Daren's appetizer, but he fell down a bit on the entrée with that burnt blood sausage.
CHUCK: Wild boar was perfect. Roger: Not on my plate. JOHN: Roger's was — I know, I know. Mine was again — his meat was underseasoned. I was interested to see how six different cooking methods would hit the plate, but unfortunately, you cook it six times, and it's still raw. That's a problem. Let's talk about Henry's main course. There was a lot of technique there. His boar was cooked. That was kinda cool, and I thought it was really clever how he used the wild boar. Yes, it's not the perfect cut for a stew. Yeah. I'm with you 100% on that, but every bite was different, and I liked it. Again, judges, I do not envy you, but do we have a champion? We do. All right. Let's bring 'em back in. I actually feel that I have a pretty good shot of taking this for the win. I believe I'm gonna win this. That's my only answer. So.
..whose dish is on the chopping block? [ Grunts ] Chef Henry, you've been chopped. Judges. Chef Henry, you've delivered a wonderful dessert, an interesting main course. With your appetizer, you have some challenges. However, there was a lack of creativity with the dish, and a lack of seasoning, and for that reason, you've been chopped. I'm just happy I was able to make you guys my good meal. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you. Chef Henry, thank you. Well, the hardest thing about this moment is knowing that I'm not gonna be going home and telling Mandy that I won. I'm gonna be going home and telling her that I almost won. So that means, you, Chef Daren Bergeron, are our "Chopped Canada" champion, and we're gonna give you $10,000 if that's all right. Thank you.
I didn't know what to expect. It was a great experience and thank you so much, and it was fantastic. It was nice being here. Cheers, man. Winning today feels great, and it's not a bad day's work winning $10,000. I'm happy and I feel relieved. — Captions by VITAC — Closed Captions provided by Scripps Networks, LLC..