‘Recipe to Riches': Behind the scenes

Have you been watching Season 2 of “Recipe to Riches” on the Food Network?

A fantastic concept, the show gathers homegrown recipes from amateur cooks around Canada and picks a list of finalists from a variety of food categories. The best part? You can taste all of the finalists’ concoctions at select Loblaw banner stores throughout the duration of the season – and then cast your vote to choose the grand-prize winner.

“Recipe to Riches” behind the scenes. Photo by Jennifer Bartoli.

If, like me, you sometimes get frustrated when watching cooking competition shows because you can’t taste the food that is being made and judged, then this is the show for you!

This week, on the “Cookies and Squares” episode, the winner **spoiler alert!** was Tracey Rigden with her salt-kissed Dulce de Leche Brownies.

“Recipe to Riches” behind the scenes. Photo by Jennifer Bartoli.

A few months ago, I spent a couple of hours on the “Recipe to Riches” set while they were filming this week’s episode. With a whole camera crew watching their every move, as well as culinary students helping with prep and a kitchen filled with commerical-size equipment, the candidates each held their own and did a fantastic job.

From the production room, I got to view the three finalists battle it out to make their very best recipe in a professional kitchen. There was suspense, there were tears, but most of all there was sheer love for food.

The challenge? Taking a recipe that you’re used to making in your home kitchen and all of a sudden making it to feed hundreds while not compromising on taste.

I caught up with judge Dana McCauley while she was eyeing the contestants’ progress during the shoot. A real calming force, McCauley offered her expert advice on what products she believed would make it in a commercial setting. As the culinary director for Janes Family Foods, McCauley has real in-depth knowledge about the food industry, which makes her the ideal candidate for the job.

“I lean toward the most innovative products, as well as classics done right,” says McCauley.

After holding auditions in many different cities across Canada, “I’ve also witnessed firsthand the great cooking knowledge of home cooks – they really know what they’re doing!” she says.

“Recipe to Riches” judge Dana McCauley. Photo by Jennifer Bartoli


Have you tasted any of the finalists’ recipes?