By BILL HARRIS
Special to The Lede
What do soursop and chocolate have in common? They both caused major problems for home cooks in back-to-back new episodes of MASTERCHEF CANADA that aired Monday on CTV.
As a result, the field was narrowed to three, when Chanelle Saks, an entrepreneur from Calgary, and Cryssi Larocque, a former airline agent from Thunder Bay, Ont., were sent home. We spoke with Chanelle and Cryssi as they reflected upon their sweet and sour MASTERCHEF CANADA experiences:
Q: What was the best piece of advice you got on MASTERCHEF CANADA, and who gave it to you?
Chanelle: "(Fellow home cook) Alyssa LeBlanc told me, ‘Do what you want, who gives a crap?’ This was Alyssa's go-to saying. Whenever I would start to beat myself up for a past mistake, she would be there to tell me this, and it would ground me and allow me to move on and tackle the next challenge.”
Cryssi: “Chef Claudio (Aprile) constantly told me to be more confident. It’s something I’ve always struggled with, and probably always will, but when you have an amazing man like him in your corner, you can’t help but believe you can do it!”
Q: Was there an element of appearing on MASTERCHEF CANADA that was harder than you thought it would be, or harder than it looks on TV?
Chanelle: “I would say that it was an unexpected challenge to have to stay focused, despite all the craziness happening around us at all times.”
Cryssi: “The team challenges were WAY more intense than I ever imagined! You really are winging it with the other home cooks, and it’s hard because you each have different strengths and weaknesses.”
Q: For Chanelle, looking back, would you do anything differently in dealing with an unfamiliar fruit, such as soursop? You aimed high, which is admirable, but could you have used a different strategy? And for Cryssi, is there anything you could have done differently to get that chocolate to spread properly in the globe? Did you know it probably was over when the chocolate wouldn't cooperate?
Chanelle: “I honestly don't regret my strategy, or how I went about using an unfamiliar ingredient, because in the end I really was very happy with the flavours, although it could have been executed better. If anything, in hindsight I probably would have aimed even higher, but I would have my plating more composed.”
Cryssi: “That morning when I woke up and couldn’t feel my hands (due to fibromyalgia), I knew I was in trouble if I had to cook. When they showed us the replication challenge, I knew it was very intricate and my body wasn’t cooperating. It threw me off my game and I struggled. I’ve tempered chocolate so many times, but the pressure got to me. I tried everything I could think of to get that globe formed. I was in excruciating pain, but kept going. I knew I was going home.”
Q: With this experience under your belt, what's next for you in the cooking world?
Chanelle: “Since this incredible experience, I feel like there are so many more avenues in the cooking world that I want to explore. Being the next (Canadian) Nigella Lawson would be pretty amazing!”
Cryssi: “I want to open my own catering business and hold cooking classes.”