Iron Chef 2017 Videos

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Iron Chef 2017: Episode 3

Iron Chef Live Stream

Posted by University of Toronto on Saturday, February 25, 2017

Iron Chef Live Stream

Posted by University of Toronto on Saturday, February 25, 2017

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Iron Chef 2017 Live (Originally aired Feb 25)
Embedded thumbnail for Iron Chef 2017: Episode 2

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Iron Chef 2017: Episode 2
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Iron Chef 2017: Episode 1
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Iron Chef 2017: Teaser

Meet the team

Student Chefs

Human Geography - 4th Year

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Jordan Su, 22

Human geography, fourth year

From Vancouver, B.C.

The all-you-can-eat buffet on campus spelled trouble for Jordan in his first year. Freshman 15? “More like a Freshman 30,” he said. “I was 235 at my heaviest weight.”

He shed the excess pounds after moving out of residence and learning to cook healthy meals for himself: frittata for breakfast, simple balsamic salad for lunch, boiled veggies and fish for dinner.

He picked up a few culinary tricks watching TV cooking shows, especially Hell’s Kitchen and other series featuring Gordon Ramsay. “I love his stuff, but wouldn’t want to cook with him. I stay far away.”

What would you cook for a hot date on Saturday night?

I’d do a miso black cod sitting on top of pan-seared scallop and quinoa salad, plated with butternut squash and broccoli basil puree.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

My best friend and my first friend in Canada - she’s Italian, her whole family is. My family always goes to their house for Christmas dinner, and her grandmother makes a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey, spaghetti, lasagna- anything.

What’s your secret ingredient?

Garlic and onion. It brings out a lot in a dish and very versatile. It’s also my favourite. I can live off onions.

What’s the first meal you were proud of making?

It’s an appetizer. Beef guacamole crostini. It’s sliced garlic baguette topped with guacamole and soy sautéed ground beef. On top of that is cilantro, green onion and basil.

What was your worst kitchen mishap?

When I cooked Christmas dinner for my friend. I was making a non-baked cheesecake. It turned out horrible because my cream did not whip and the whole thing turned to goop. It was very embarrassing. It tasted good, but instead of having it stand up I had to put it in a martini glass and put a blueberry coulis on it. 

Equity Studies - 4th Year

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Brettany Colette, 31

Equity studies major, fourth year

From Toronto, Ont.

Last Christmas, Colette’s family sat down to a very special dinner: a prune-glazed goose, which was raised on their organic hobby farm near Prince Edward County. “We had a Charles Dickens style old school Christmas dinner,” she said. “I knew that goose very well.”

She says she practically grew up in the kitchen and hopes to write a cookbook one day reflecting her Canadian, Serbian, French and Irish background. She also wants to raise awareness about food sustainability.

“I’d like to find a way to merge my studies, equity and advocacy, with my passion for food,” she said.

What would you cook for a hot date?

Lobster all the way. Butter poached lobsters and I’d skip the garlic butter – because it’s a hot date.

What is your secret ingredient?

Love. I love the kitchen and I love to give. I give back to the world by igniting their senses.

What’s the first meal you made that you were proud of?

Making my own handmade stuffed pasta. I did a stuffed ricotta and squash pasta and that was a feat in itself, that it didn’t come out like pierogies.

M.B.A. student at the Rotman School of Management

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Felipe Branco, 24

M.B.A. student at the Rotman School of Management, first year

From São Paulo, Brazil

Felipe learned to cook almost as soon as he learned to play. As a boy in São Paulo, he’d help his grandmother make gnocchi and other meals for the family. “She would give me a little bit to play with and I started to like it,” he recalled.

By his teens, Felipe catered meals for his friends’ birthdays, making focaccia, bruschetta and risotto. Although he likes savoury more than sweet, he says he makes a mean tiramisu.

He polished his skills interning at an Italian restaurant in Brazil, during a stint in culinary school and interning again at a butcher shop-restaurant near Florence, Italy.

What would you cook for a hot date?

I really like steak tartare. It’s more about the quality of the ingredients.

At the restaurant I worked at in Italy, they had this amazing thing called Chianti crudo. It’s pretty much a steak tartare but using Italian ingredients so instead of mustard and egg you use olive oil, lemon and rosemary.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

It was at a restaurant called Osteria Francescana in Italy. It’s three Michelin stars. I had the tasting menu of 12 different dishes, but the most amazing one was called the 12 ages of parmigiano. It was parmesan in 12 different forms, including a mousse and chips.

What is your secret ingredient?

My passion for cooking, and food in general. Even with the M.B.A, it’s so demanding but I still have time to cook, make my own bread and so forth.

What was your worst kitchen mishap?

I was young, maybe 12. It was my first time making a meal for my parents.

Everything was ready but I just needed to heat something up in the microwave. The plates had an aluminum or silver part that couldn’t go in the microwave.

I put a plate in and it started to spark. I opened the microwave and grabbed the plate, but the metal was super hot. I threw the plate to the ceiling. There was sauce everywhere. My mom saw the disaster in the kitchen, and she was like, “Oh my god, what happened here?!” It was a nightmare.

(Backup) Biochemistry and Nutritional Science - 2nd Year

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Ailin Xi, 19 (Backup)

Biochemistry and nutritional science, second year

From Shanghai, China

For Ailin, cooking is more of a science than an art. She chose her majors to get a better understanding of how food is metabolized. “That way, I can develop nutritious meal that are good for your body, instead of developing dishes based on taste alone,” she said.

After graduation, she wants to get more kitchen training before applying to the Cordon Bleu in Paris. She hopes to one day become a developmental chef, who studies flavours and invents dishes.

She’s the only one in her family who truly knows her way around the kitchen, she said. Her parents love her cooking – perhaps a little too much. “They got a blood test and said, ‘See what you’ve done to me!’ They have a bit of high cholesterol after I learned to cook.”

What would you cook for a hot date on Saturday night?

I would make them sous-vide steak with red wine sauce. And of course I’d make a dessert: chocolate lava cake, or apple pie. I love apple pie.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?

That’s a hard one! My parents don’t cook that much but my best meal is the dish my mom makes. It’s basically braised pork with a dried herb, cooked in soy sauce the Chinese way. I love it, I love it so much. I ask for it every time I go home.

What’s your secret ingredient?

Passion. For sure.

What’s the first meal you were proud of making?

Cream puff. I made it when I was, like, 16. I studied for it, the chemistry of cream puffs, how many eggs you should put in so it puffs more. Once I succeeded, I was so happy. Seeing it puffing in the oven is so satisfying. 

Team Leaders

Coach; Executive Chef Residential Dining, New College, University of Toronto

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James Piggott - Coach

Executive Chef Residential Dining, New College, University of Toronto

Chef James completed his Culinary apprenticeship and earned his Red Seal in 1994. He has been the Executive Chef at various Toronto hotels and clubs for the past 15 years. Chef James also teaches a variety of culinary courses at George Brown College and has represented Canada three times in the World Culinary Olympics, held in Germany ,and has won several gold and silver medals in various local and regional culinary competitions. In June 2016, Chef James joined the Food Services’ team as the Executive Chef, Residential Dining for New College.

How did you initially become interested in cooking, and why did you become a chef?

Throughout high school, I worked as a short order cook and really enjoyed the fast paced environment and soon realize that I was pretty good at it. After high school, I attended Trent University and graduated with the intent of going to law school in Dalhousie. The summer before starting, I ended up getting a summer job at the Oshawa Golf and Country Club, under the tutelage of Chef Shawn Whalen. The moment I walked into my first professional kitchen, I fell in love with it. Chef Whalen identified some natural talent in me and offered me an apprenticeship. The rest is history.

Who has been your biggest influence?

My friend and mentor Chef Shawn Whalen has been my biggest influence. I started as an apprentice under him and worked my way through the ranks to his Executive Sous Chef. He also helped me secure my first Executive Chef job, so a lot of what I am today is directly a result of working with him and learning from him. As a well know chef in the industry, Chef Whalen also helped me network to meet other great Chefs like Chef Jaco, whom I had the pleasure of joining in the Culinary Olympics several times.

What are your standards as a chef, such as sustainability?

First and foremost, my overall guiding principle is that happy chefs make happy food. I believe that the quality of food is a direct result of a high functioning kitchen team that enjoy what they do and are passionate about cooking. With regards to sustainability, I like to be as seasonal and local as possible which can sometimes be a challenge in our physical environment. There are some very clever ways to savour the spring, summer and fall harvests by preserving and canning for use during the winter months. My neighbour and I grow hot peppers in the summer—really hot peppers; jigsaws, scorpion and ghost – and then we make our own hot sauces that can be enjoyed year round. It’s also important to get to know the local farmers, and visit the local farmers markets. We all have to be very aware of our carbon footprint and understand our impact on the environment. We must model good sustainability practices and teach future generations the importance of this. I would like to be an innovator and leader of sustainable practices within a large institutional environment and would love to see us create our own garden on campus.

How does this impact your menu development?

As mentioned, using locally produced food, and designing your menus around the seasons or processing food when harvested by preserving it or cleaning, cooking and vacuum-sealing it and freezing it. This allows you to have a fresh Ontario product in winter, which not only tastes better, it is also more cost effective. I think when it comes to menu development, you have to be seasonal, but you also have to think months in advance, that if I process this now, what am I doing to do with it down the road? You have to be ahead of the game.

What is your personal cooking style?

My personal cooking style has developed over the years. I have always liked to explore ethnic foods by trying to replicate recipes or flavor combinations that I’ve tried with my own spin on things – my own personal fusion.

What is your favourite dish to make?

Right now, I’m doing a lot of exploration with food from the Indian subcontinent. I am a huge fan of Indian food. The different levels of flavours with every bite captivate your taste buds and tempt all the senses. It’s so much fun to experiment with Indian spices; the aroma alone is simply intoxicating!

Chef Piggott's profile originally appeared on https://ueat.utoronto.ca/chef-james-piggott/

Director of Culinary Operations and Executive Chef, University of Toronto

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Jaco Lokker

Director of Culinary Operations and Executive Chef, University of Toronto

Read more about Chef Lokker at https://ueat.utoronto.ca/chef-jaco-lokker/

About Iron Chef 2017

What is it?

Iron Chef 2017 is an intercollegiate culinary showdown between U of T, uOttawa, McGill and University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

The competition takes place Sat. Feb. 25 at New College Dining Hall.

All students welcome!

How it works

A team of U of T students will undergo four intensive training sessions with Coach James Piggott leading up to Iron Chef 2017.

On competition day, teams will have just two hours to create an appetizer and main course using surprise ingredients. A panel of culinary experts will then judge teams on organization, cooking skill, plating, nutritional balance, creativity and, of course, flavour.

Only one team will be named Intercollegiate Iron Chef 2017!