While he’s not one of the 11 home cooks left competing for the Master Chef Canada title and the $100,000 winner prize, Kwasi Douglas says he has been enriched by the experience.
In their second team challenge, he and the rest of the chefs were required to prepare and sell gourmet poutine to University of Guelph students with the team earning the most sales securing immunity from the elimination-deciding pressure test.
Douglas’s team lost and he was tasked with preparing tortellini, which didn’t impress culinary experts Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile.
“I never made tortellini before,” he said. “What went wrong for me was the shape of the pasta and coming up with these little tiny delicate shapes.”
Taking risks in the competition didn’t bother Douglas, who started cooking in his early teenage years in his family’s Durham residence kitchen.
“I always want to do something unconventional,” he said. “This experience has been amazing and life changing. It takes a lot of courage to be in a competition like this and to put yourself out there on a plate. The best lesson that I have learned is that tantalizing taste buds and pleasing palates are not the only degree of success. You have to make food look amazing. This competition helped me realize that my place in the world is working with food.”
The last of three boys born to Guyanese immigrants, Douglas said watching the show is not the same as competing in it.
“I watch a lot of Jeopardy (the game show) and sitting on the couch, you know the answers as opposed to when you are there, you draw a blank,” he said. “That’s what it’s like with Master Chef. That hour goes by lightning fast.”
When he’s not in the kitchen, Douglas – a social service worker – provides support for men with special needs in Durham.