TV personality, host and chef dishes about hosting Food Network’s Top Chef Canada All-Stars and why we're so lucky to be able to enjoy the tapestry that is Canadian cuisine
Taking a break from being a busy new mom to Instagram's newest cutie-pie Ayv Rose, celeb chef and social media star Eden Grinshpan took the time to talk with us about the world of competitive cooking, her passion for Canadian cuisine, and to share a spectacular grilled salmon recipe that's close to her heart.
CL: What's the difference between being the host on the show and judging? How involved were you in helping the judges come to a decision?
EG: Up until now I have judged many competition series but getting to host has been the most rewarding and fun experience yet. As the host of Top Chef Canada: All-Stars, I get to see how everything unfolds from the beginning until the very end. From putting these incredible chefs through their tasks to eating and judging their dishes alongside an incredible panel of judges – I get to do it all. I'm fortunate to get to see the chefs evolve, change and grow over the course of the competition. With the return of the stars and fierce new additions to the judges' table, the cooking and competition this season will be next level.
CL: You mentioned you love what's happening in Canada's food scene. What's your take on Canadian food? Are there specific dishes or ingredients from the show that embody Canada as a culinary destination?
EG: Canada has welcomed people from all over the world and it has definitely influenced what Canadian cuisine looks like. Being from Toronto, which is considered one of the most multicultural cities in the world, you can definitely see how all of that cultural influence is inspiring younger chefs. In Toronto, you can take a trip around the world without a passport. Almost any kind of food you want you can get. And this really comes across in the show. Just wait until you see what the chefs conjure up – I am obsessed with the diversity of cuisine this season. Everyone is inspired by either their travels or what's in their own backyard and the food is incredible.
CL: What ingredients or cooking techniques stand out for you?
EG: I don't get too excited about fancy techniques. I love classic, almost home-style cooking. When something is simple and it's done perfectly, that to me is the ultimate success for a dish. It can be as simple as braising, seasoning or grilling. I also love watching the chefs really capture traditional flavors in their dishes. Their knowledge of so many other cuisines is huge and they showcase that in the competition.
CL: Can you share a memorable moment from the show or drop a hint about what's trending?
EG: I never knew how much I loved a meat pie and since the show I have never craved a meat pie more! Clearly you'll be seeing some epic meat pies coming up. But also, these chefs really blew us away with some of their dish fusions and flavour combinations. I don't want to give anything away because part of the show's excitement is watching these masterminds at work, but I can tell you the chefs competing this season make some serious culinary magic.
CL: Is the grilled salmon recipe you shared with us influenced by the show or is this your own go-to?
EG: The grilled salmon is definitely influenced by my kitchen. I love cooking with Middle Eastern/Mediterranean flavours. It's light and bright and my husband and I always feel our best after eating that way. I feel like salmon can be such a tired dish but it's so good for you, so throwing on a fresh chimichurri and serving it up with that spicy harissa yogurt really gives it a bright pop. My husband and I definitely fight over the grill, but I usually let him win. He just loves it.
Eden's Grilled Wild Salmon with Preserved Lemon Chimichurri and Harissa Yogurt
This is a light and summery dish for two.
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tbsp finely chopped preserved lemon rind
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp harissa paste
2-6-oz salmon fillets, preferably wild
1 tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Chimichurri: In bowl, mix together garlic, preserved lemon, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, olive oil and salt. Set aside.
Yogurt: In another bowl, mix together yogurt, lemon juice and salt. Swirl in harissa, but don't fully combine. Keep the streaks.
Salmon: Brush fillets with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place salmon flesh side down on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill for 4 minutes. Turn over; grill another 3 minutes.
To serve, place on plates and drizzle with chimichurri. Serve with harissa yogurt.