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The Host

Host Bio 01

Dean McDermott

Dean McDermott, actor, television personality and 'Gourmet Dad,' opened his home to America during the six seasons of the hit Slice™ show Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood, along with wife Tori Spelling. Tori and Dean created the show and served as executive producers alongside Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato of World of Wonder Productions. Born and raised in Toronto, Dean recently returned to his hometown to host the highly anticipated Food Network Canada series, Chopped Canada.  

 

A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie, the father of five is an avid adventurer, mixed martial arts enthusiast, races motorcycles, and is also a phenomenal cook and master DIY-er. He appears regularly on a variety of daytime talk and entertainment shows, is a regular contributor to Parenting.com and is concentrating on growing his Gourmet Dad brand as he continues his culinary arts studies at the Art Institute of California’s Culinary School. Dean shares his experiences and knowledge on his website DeanMcDermott.com. From family and relationships, to projects and hobbies, the site serves as a pit stop for dudes and dads of any age who want to talk shop about man-of-the-house stuff. 

 

As a modern-day renaissance father, Dean keeps family, food and fun his primary focus. Dean is currently working on his first cook book, which will be released next year in time for Father's Day.  

 

The Judges

Lynn Crawford

Lynn Crawford

One of Canada’s best known celebrity chefs and an award-nominated cookbook author, Lynn Crawford has over 25 years of culinary experience. 

 

 

Lynn was the executive chef for the Four Seasons Hotel in both Toronto and New York. She is currently the chef/owner of Ruby Watchco, a market inspired, chef driven, comfort food restaurant in Toronto’s east end, which has garnered critical acclaim as one of the best restaurants in the country since opening in 2010. 

 

 

On the television front, Lynn was the first female Canadian chef invited to participate in Food Network's Iron Chef America in a battle against Iron Chef Bobby Flay in 2007. This year, the culinary battle continued as she competed on Top Chef Masters season five. Lynn also stars in the popular Food Network Canada series, Pitchin’ In. The series follows Lynn as she visits farmers, growers, and fishermen across North America in search of the freshest and best ingredients. Throughout her journey, she takes on any challenge, relying on locals to show her how it’s done. Lynn’s dynamic hosting in the series was nominated for a Gemini Award in 2010 and 2011. 

 

 

Pitchin’ In inspired Lynn's first and best-selling cookbook, Pitchin' In: More Than 100 Great Recipes From Simple Ingredients, released in 2012. Reflected in the cookbook is Lynn’s cooking philosophy that the creation of a delicious meal requires passion and quality ingredients. Her second cookbook, At Home with Lynn Crawford, was released in September 2013. Simple, real home cooking that's full of great flavour is the secret to Lynn’s favourite everyday recipes that she serves at home. 

 

 

Lynn has received numerous professional awards, including the Ontario Hostelry Institute’s Chef of the Year (2013), Chevalier du Fromage (2007); Thomas Jefferson Award Honoree from The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (2008) and Consumer’s Choice Business Woman of the Year (2011).  She was also named the spokesperson for the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour (2008).

 

Chuck Hughes

Chuck Hughes

Chef Chuck Hughes is the star of Food Network Canada’s Chuck’s Day Off, Chuck’s Week Off: Mexico and the owner and chef of Montreal hot-spot, Garde Manger. His unbridled passion for entertaining translates into both unforgettable food and captivating television. Chuck loves food so much that his favourites are tattooed on his arms: bacon, lemon meringue pie, lobster and arugula just to name a few.

 

After going to culinary school and working in some of Montreal’s hottest restaurants, he partnered with his two best friends and opened Garde Manger to rave reviews and packed seatings.  In August 2011, he and his partners opened their second restaurant in old Montreal, Le Bremner, which quickly became a local hot-spot. 

 

For Chuck, one of his career highlights took place when he walked into New York City’s Kitchen Stadium and became the only Canadian chef to beat the legendary Iron Chef Bobby Flay on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Following that win, Chuck was asked to join nine other celebrity chefs including Robert Irvine (Restaurant Express) and Anne Burrell (Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell) to battle it out on season four of Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs. In 2013, Chuck was one of sixteen competitors on season three of Chopped All-Stars. Chuck also just finished filming the second season of Chuck’s Eat The Street, where he takes viewers on a tour of some of the most famous food streets in America.

 

On the publishing side, HarperCollins Canada released his first English cookbook Garde Manger and it immediately became a best-seller in 2012. In June 2013, HarperCollins Canada published his second cookbook, Chuck’s Day Off, inspired by his popular television show of the same name, where he cooks for friends and suppliers on the day his restaurant is closed. It also became a best-seller.

 

Chuck, along with four other respected Montreal chefs, also launched DeepDishMTL - a visually appealing recipe iPad/iPhone app that shows users how to make Montreal restaurant dishes at home. DeepDishMTL is the first of its kind in Canada and is one of the few multi-chef apps in the world. 

 

Chuck lives in Montreal and likes to escape to nearby Magog in southwestern Quebec with his dog Fakie whenever he can.

 

Roger Mooking

Roger Mooking

Celebrity chef Roger Mooking has earned a reputation as one of North America’s premier chefs by developing a culinary philosophy built on the perfect execution of globally inspired culinary traditions. As a third generation restaurateur and chef, he began his formal training through the esteemed George Brown Culinary Management Program where he graduated with top honours and is now the chair of the Professional Advisory Committee. 

 

 

Roger continued his training at Toronto’s world-renowned Royal York Hotel before co-owning and consulting on many food and beverage operations.

 

Currently, Roger is working with Pearson International Airport to open "Twist by Roger Mooking," a restaurant set to open in summer 2014 that takes a global twist on locally sourced North American comfort foods.  Roger's restaurants have been featured on many "Best Of" lists and he was recently awarded the "Premiers Award" for excellence in the field of Creative Arts and Design.

 

He is the host and co-creator of the internationally broadcast Food Network Canada series Everyday Exotic. His award-winning cookbook, based on the show, explores pairing ingredients from all corners of the globe with everyday meals. He is also the co-host of Heat Seekers on Food Network and host of Man Fire Food on Cooking Channel. 

 

 

In addition, Roger is a Juno Award-winning recording artist. His album “Feedback” was released July 2013.  According to Roger ‘food feeds the body and music feeds the soul. It’s all food in various forms’. But for Roger, what is most important is being a dedicated husband and father of four girls.

Susur Lee

Susur Lee

One could say that internationally acclaimed Chef Susur Lee was born with a spoon in his mouth— but it would be a tasting spoon, not a silver one. 

 

 

From inauspicious beginnings as a 16-year-old apprentice at Hong Kong’s elegant Peninsula Hotel to his atlas stride atop the fickle universe of celebrity chefdom, Susur has never deviated from a consuming passion: to create tantalizing dishes that blend textures and flavours in glorious harmony. Balancing the epicurean traditions of China with the classical techniques of French cuisine, Lee improvises a daring and original culinary aesthetic. 

 

 

Praised as one of the “Ten Chefs of the Millennium” in 2000 by Food & Wine magazine, Susur is still at the top of his game. Between helming two restaurants in Toronto, Lee and Bent, and overseeing his prestigious Club Chinois in Singapore, Lee makes numerous television appearances and travels the globe as guest chef and consultant.  He recently became a media sensation on Food Network’s Top Chef Masters, where he vanquished 20 competing chefs and crossed filleting knives with chef Marcus Samuelsson in a kitchen showdown. He’ll also be a judge on Food Network Canada’s Chopped Canada.

 

 

Susur’s newest “boutique” restaurant, Bent, represents a new chapter in the career of the global super-chef: his sons, Levi and Kai, have joined the management team.  For Susur, good food is a family affair. 

Michael Smith

Michael Smith

Chef Michael Smith, one of Canada’s most celebrated chefs, is a passionate advocate for simple, sustainable home cooking and an inspiration for families creating their own healthy food lifestyle. He’s the host of Chef Michael’s Kitchen, Chef Abroad, Chef at Home and Chef at Large seen on Food Network Canada and in more than 100 other countries. He is also a judge on Chopped Canada, airing on Food Network Canada.

 

 

Michael is Prince Edward Island’s food ambassador, an award-winning cookbook author, newspaper columnist, professional chef and home cook. He led the team of chefs that cooked for the world’s Olympians in the Whistler Athletes Village in 2010. His seventh cookbook, Back to Basics, is on stands now and was ranked #1 in the Globe & Mail Cooking/Food category. His food media production company is breaking new ground online and his Twitter feed is one of Canada’s go-to choices for foodie fun.

 

 

Although Michael is a true chef at large, his favourite role is Dad. Home to Michael is on Prince Edward Island with his partner Chastity and children Gabe, Ariella and Camille. Michael is an avid map collector, long-time windsurfer and novice kite sailor.

 

Vikram Vij

Vikram Vij

Chef Vikram Vij was born in India and lived in New Delhi and Bombay for 20 years. He studied Hotel Management in Austria and worked and lived in Salzburg and Vienna until 1989, when he moved to Canada to work at the Banff Springs Hotel in Alberta.

 

 

Vikram and his wife Meeru own and operate Vij’s Restaurant and Rangoli, a second restaurant and market, both located in Vancouver. In June 2012, he launched Vij's Railway Express, the mobile food truck based on Vikram's travels by rail throughout India. EnRoute magazine recently awarded it the People's Choice Award (2013) as Canada's best new restaurant. Vikram also owns Vij’s packaged gourmet curries, original popular recipes from Vij’s restaurant which are cooked by hand. Vij’s at Home packaged meals are available throughout Canada.With Meeru, Vikram has penned two cookbooks: Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine, which won Cuisine Canada’s 2007 Gold Award for Best Cookbook, and Vij’s at Home: Relax, Honey. On the television side, Vikram appeared as a guest judge on seasons one and two of Food Network Canada's Top Chef Canada.

 

 

Vikram has won many awards including the Rising Star Award from BC Food Processors Association and the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Pacific Region’s Hospitality and Tourism category. Vikram is past president and an active member of the Chef’s Table Society of British Columbia. Additionally, he has been involved with Farm Folk City Folk Organization, Ocean Wise Sustainable Seafood, UBC Farm fundraisers and the Green Table Society. In addition, his work as president of the Cambie Village Business Association and contributing chef to the Vancouver Food Vendor Pilot Project has helped support the growth of local businesses in Vancouver. Vikram also lends his support to organizations such the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration Society. Vikram and his wife Meeru live in Vancouver with their two daughters.

Anne Yarymowich

Anne Yarymowich

Having served as executive chef at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s vast Food and Beverage operation for 17 years – including the AGO’s renowned FRANK Restaurant which opened in 2009 – Chef Anne Yarymowich recently made the switch to culinary educator at George Brown College, pursuing a career-long dedication to mentoring and shaping a new generation of cooks and chefs.

 

 

Born in Montreal, to parents of Ukrainian descent, Anne’s passion for cooking began at an early age. Influenced by her exposure to the French-Canadian traditions and her own ethnic heritage, Anne has incorporated both of these cultures into her culinary repertoire. As a member of Slow Food and supporter of local producers, Anne focuses on all aspects of sustainability, producing a cuisine which she dubs contemporary comfort cuisine.

 

 

Anne has earned her stripes as the recipient of a number of accolades, including Chef of the Year, awarded by Ontario Hostelry Institute in 2009 at the annual Gold Awards Ceremony; Winner of the Bronze Medal at the Gold Medal Plates competition in November 2009, competing against nine of Toronto's most respected chefs; and she was named No. 3 in Toronto Life's Top 10 New Restaurants in 2009.

 

 

Working with the AGO was a natural fit for Anne, who began with a fine arts degree in visual arts and photography from the University of Ottawa. Deciding to switch from art to a culinary career, Anne graduated from the George Brown College Chef School in May 1989. As one of Toronto's leading chefs, Anne is deeply committed to the concept of mentorship, the practice of apprenticeship and the vocation of teaching, striving to shape a new generation of cooks and chefs with strong principles of sustainability, fair trade and culinary excellence.

 

John Higgins

John Higgins

Chef John Higgins has cooked for the Queen at Buckingham Palace, on the Royal Yacht Britannia, for heads of state in Washington and for celebrities around the world.

 

At the beginning of his culinary career, he apprenticed at the Michelin Star Restaurant in Glasgow, Malmaison, and then worked at the world-famous, five-star luxury hotel in Scotland, Gleneagles. Upon immigrating to North America, John worked for the Four Seasons Hotel in Canada and the United States and his final stint in the hotel industry was at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto.  

 

 

Now, John is the director of one of North America’s best cooking schools, George Brown Chef School in Toronto. Since arriving in 2002, John has steered the school through a massive expansion due to an explosive demand in enrolment. With his Scottish brogue, keen wit and passion for teaching, John is leading the way for the next generation of talented chefs. He has traveled the world, from India to Italy and Sao Paulo, promoting Canadian cuisine.

 

 

John has made several television appearances including, Food Network’s At the Table With and he was also a guest judge on the first season of Top Chef Canada. He has a long list of accolades, including being the first chef to receive the Toronto Arts Culinary Award and he was captain of the Canadian Culinary Olympic Team at several different international and worldwide competitions. In this era of celebrity chefs, he reminds his students that being a chef is hard work that requires passion and dedication.

 

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