Carol Christie is remaining tight-lipped but she has a special sort of twinkle in her eyes.
Christie is the pastry chef and kitchen manager at Little Vienna Bakery and she set out to prove to Canada that a small town bakery chef can whisk and blend and chop with the best of them.
Christie will be seen competing on Chopped Canada on January 10, when Food Network Canada dishes out a second serving of the hit series.
For those who don’t know the show, four chefs compete in a cooking challenge using mystery ingredients – ingredients that may be unfamiliar, strange or downright nasty to some tastes. The judges are some of Canada’s finest chefs and culinary experts.
Christie applied for season one but wash’t accepted and when she applied again for the second season she made the grade.
“After watching season one, I asked myself if I had something to prove. I have years of experience and a wide variety of skills and I could go up against anyone I figure,” said Christie. “Why not apply, there’s a one in four chance to win $10,000 and then I can tick that off my bucket list.”
Chopped Canada has chosen 52 chefs to compete with each other in 13 episodes and Christie will be on the first episode on January 10.
“When filling out the application and answering the questions I had to think about it from a life long perspective. It was easy to pick my mom (as inspirational) and I thought it sounds like a good story, it’s my story I’ve lived it.”
She grew up on a farm and knows where food comes from and she appreciates that.
“My whole background was a good fit.”
So the phone rang in March and things progressed from there. From the one-on-one meetings to filming in Sooke to the flight to Toronto, it was all enough to make Christie scream when ET Canada released the competitors names on November 26.
It was only one day of filming in Toronto but Chopped Canada flew Christie out a few days early so she could visit with her mom. She had recently lost her father and Christie said if she won she would take her mother on a holiday.
She said she got along just fine with the three dudes she was competing against. They were all close to the same age, came from all different backgrounds and different culinary backgrounds. Christie is 48. Her competitors come from Langley, Calgary and Mississauga.
“We didn’t just take it up a few years ago,” she said. “I said, ‘let’s go for it and have some fun’.”
Heart-pounding is the way she described the moment when they said “go!” Her episode is called Kat-a-what? She came up with the title when she learned she had to deal with a Middle Eastern ingredient in the appetizer round. Is it a noodle or is it a pastry? In the dessert round, it’s a trip to Catalina as the chefs must figure out how to incorporate this ketchup-based dressing and tofu skin in a round winning dessert.
Judges: Michael Smith, Anne Yarymowich, Eden Grinshpan
She practiced with one of her co-workers at Little Vienna Bakery – Jacquie. Jacquie would mention a random ingredient while they were working and Christie would have to verbally spit out something she would make with them. It appears to have worked.
So, does she win or does she not? That is the question that will only be answered on January 10. She wouldn’t tell, no matter how hard she was cajoled.
Christie is happy working at Little Vienna Bakery, she’s been there for three years and said it is, “a great place to work – better than any hotel kitchen. It’s unique, everybody has diverse strengths and we feed off those strengths. It’s a nice team.”