About the Chefs
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Vittorio Colacitti is the owner of his food consulting company Born and Raised Food Co. in Toronto, and is in the process of opening his first restaurant. Vittorio received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University of Guelph, has a culinary diploma from the Thai and International Food Academy in Thailand, and has worked for some of Toronto's best restaurants including George, Lucien, Didier, and Via Mercanti. Vittorio also worked in Italy staging in various regions and worked as a stagiaire at Thomas Keller's Bouchon. In his free time, Vittorio likes to stay in shape by boxing, running, golfing, playing basketball and cooking with loved ones.
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Dawn Doucette is the menu development chef at Earls Restaurant in Vancouver. With almost 20 years in the culinary business, Dawn has owned her own restaurant and catering company and was educated at the California Culinary Academy. In a dream trip, Dawn recently travelled to Tokyo to purchase tuna from the world-famous Tsukiji fish market. In her free time, Dawn runs marathons. She is married with two young children.
Hometown: Fort McPherson, NT
Rich Francis is the chef and owner of Aboriginal Culinary Concepts. A graduate of the Stratford Chef School, Rich's career highlights include working for Toronto's Splendido and Peller Estates in Niagara-on-the-Lake. A member of the Tetlit Gwich'in and Tuscarora Nations, he has worked since 2010 to raise the profile of modern Aboriginal cuisine. Rich shares his life with his girlfriend and three children in Six Nations Territory.
Hometown: North Vancouver, BC
Pierre Lamielle got his start in the culinary field as a food columnist, and is now the cooking instructor at Bradlee Distributors and other cooking schools in Calgary. Educated at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, Pierre is an illustrator, chef, instructor and an award-winning cookbook author. His first illustrated book, Kitchen Scraps, won the Gourmand Award for best illustrated cookbook in the world. Pierre was the editor and illustrator for Soup Sisters, a Canadian non-profit organization that feeds women and children in transition. Alice Eats, with co-author Julie van Rosendaal is a national best seller. Pierre is also a food columnist for Avenue Magazine in Calgary, and the owner and designer of Food On Your Shirt with co-chef Candace Bergman.
Hometown: Mount Uniacke, NS
Lauren Marshall has cooked all over the world with stints in Nantucket, Belize and Australia. Currently, she is the chef de cuisine at EnVie-A Vegan Kitchen in Halifax. She earned her degree from the Culinary Institute of Canada. She also attends the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and is teaching cooking classes for Superstore in the Metro area. Lauren was inspired to be a chef by her grandfather, who was a chief cook in the Royal Canadian Navy and also had his own catering company.
Hometown: Quebec City, QC
An Army Brat who travelled around the country as a child, Karine Moulin graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) with a double diploma, specializing in baking arts. Karine, now residing in Calgary, has worked at the Hyatt Regency and St. Germain and is presently the pastry chef at Hotel Arts Group. She is very close to her parents and sister.
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Gabriela Neda is the sous chef at Calgary Petroleum Club in Calgary, AB. Originally from Venezuela, Gabriela took a cooking course in high school and later attended culinary school at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). Growing up, she loved competitive swimming, and hopes to bring that same edge to Top Chef Canada.
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
With twelve years experience cooking in restaurants, Michael Robbins is now the executive chef at The Oakwood Canadian Bistro in Vancouver. Michael is a self-trained chef and has worked in Vancouver throughout his career, as well as one year in Australia. Michael is close to his parents and his brother - a carpenter who he likes to build furniture with. Last summer, Michael proposed to his girlfriend Allison and they will be married in the spring.
Hometown: Vancouver, BC
Shelley Robinson, currently residing in Kamloops, BC, is a private chef who creates 5-star dining experiences, leads culinary adventures and designs pop-up restaurants throughout British Columbia. She also works as a chef instructor at Vancouver Community College teaching and mentoring students in the foundation and apprenticeship programs. Shelley left home when she was 14, and quickly learned that she had talent as a cook. Educated at Dubrelle French Culinary Academy and Vancouver Community College, Shelley has also co-authored four cookbooks, owned two restaurants and is an outspoken Slow Food member. In her free time, she enjoys biking, heli-skiing, surfing, kayaking and hiking with her golden retriever, Baci. Shelley recently won an episode of Food Network's Chopped Canada and is the oldest chef to ever compete on Top Chef Canada.
Hometown: Ottawa, ON
René Rodriguez is the owner and chef at Navarra in Ottawa, ON. His inspiration comes from his Mexican heritage and his love for the Basque region of Spain. Educated by Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, René has worked at the Ironwood Cafe, ARC Hotel, Social Restaurant & Lounge, Black Cat Cafe and Luxe Bistro. René has a wife and a young son, and enjoys travelling to Europe where he adds a tattoo to his collection on each trip. René dreams of running with the bulls one day, but for now wants to prove that he is one of the best chefs in Canada.
Hometown: Scarborough, ON
Terry Salmond is the executive chef at the Walper Hotel in Kitchener, ON. A self-trained chef, Terry quickly worked his way up starting with Marche, and later working for Susur Lee at Susur Restaurant, Matthew Stowe at Sonora Resort and Jonathan Gushue at Langdon Hall. Terry met his wife when he was only 15 years old and knew immediately that he loved her. They finally got together five years later, and now have two young daughters.
Hometown: Kelowna, BC
Evelynn Takoff is the chef de cuisine at micro bar•bites in Kelowna, BC. A self-trained chef, she apprenticed with Chef Rod Butters at RauDZ Regional Table where there was a great emphasis on the farm-to-table approach. Growing up on a farm outside of Kelowna, Evelynn has raised animals since a young age, and her family continues to farm and provide livestock for RauDZ Regional Table and micro bar•bites. Evelynn is also the membership director of the Okanagan Chefs' Association.
Hometown: Saint John, NB
Jesse Vergen is a fisher, farmer and a strong believer in the local food movement. Educated at Dubrulle French Culinary School, Jesse travelled across the country working in restaurants and hotels before settling in his native New Brunswick where he is the executive chef at Saint John Ale House, the chef and owner of Smoking Pig BBQ, chef and partner of Cleaver Catering and farmer and partner of Harmony Growers Vegetables. Jesse grew up on an organic farm and today, he and his wife Kim are raising their three children in Quispamsis, NB, to know where their food comes from.
Hometown: Nanaimo, BC
Ruth Wigman is the sous chef at Bistro Sofia in St. John's, NL. She received her education from Vancouver Island University, has been the executive chef at Blue on Water, and later worked at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda. Ruth has a five year old son, Isaiah, and is part of a giant Newfoundland family. In her spare time, Ruth likes to practice yoga.