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Once again, Marida Mohammed was as sharp as
one of the knives she so expertly wields in the Mas-
terChef Canada kitchen.
As a result, the Sudbury-raised, T&T-born cook has
a spot in the final of the popular competitive cooking
show and a chance to win CAN$100,000.
The personal trainer from Toronto, who grew up in
the Nickel City, will face off against Eric Chong, a
chemical engineer from Oakville, in next week Monday s
season finale, after they survived two more eliminations
during last Monday s episode.
Mohammed and Chong bid farewell to Tammara
Behl, from Calgary, and Kaila Klassen, of Kelowna, BC,
who were sent home despite producing well-made
and well-received dishes.
"That s the thing," Mohammed said. "The closer
you move to the end, it s strong dishes and strong
Trini cook makes it
...to MasterChef Canada finals
cooks, so at this point, we ve got to make
sure we re putting out the best dishes
of our lives."
Regular judges Claudio Aprile, Michael
Bonacini and Alvin Leung were joined
by Joe Bastianich, the accomplished and
intimidating chef, restaurateur and judge
on the American version of the pro-
gramme, for the show-opening mystery
The four remaining cooks were to cre-
ate an Italian-inspired entree using a
box of ingredients selected by Bastianich
himself, with the preparer of the weakest
dish forced to give up their apron.
"He is definitely one of my cooking
idols, and more so his mother, Lidia Bas-
tianich, who s a great chef," Mohammed
said. "Trying to please him was probably
one of the hardest challenges in the com-
petition so far, and having someone out-
side of the three judges we ve gotten
used to trying our food, that really gave
us another opportunity to see what
someone else thinks, besides these same
three judges who may have gotten a little
bored or even tired of what we re pre-
While the cooks worked, Bastianich
visited each of their stations and wasn t
afraid to challenge them.
"When those guys come around,
they re either A, trying to give you some
really good advice, to hint to you this is
what you should be doing or try to point
you on the right path, or B, sometimes
they re just there to stir the pot a little
bit," Mohammed said. "And I think Joe
Bastianich was doing a great job of that.
I tried to just be confident in my food
and myself and hold strong and not let
him get to me."
She got to him, however, with her
Mediterranean stew and roti with cala-
mari, olives and tomatoes, which was a
hit with Aprile, as well. Mohammed s
offering, the judges said, was second
only to Klassen s stuffed veal.
Behl s veal medallion and tomato salad
didn t impress as much, however, and
she was eliminated after several weeks
of strong cooking.
That left Mohammed, Chong and Klassen to par-
ticipate in the pressure test, which required the con-
testants to work with fresh Canadian seafood---Dun-
geness crab, scallops or razor clams.
As winner of the first challenge, Klassen chose first
and selected the scallops.
Mohammed picked next and, despite never having
worked with razor clams before, picked those in an
effort to impress the judges with her versatility.
"If there s any time I would take a risk, it s at this
point," Mohammed said. "I ve worked with shellfish
and seafood many times and I know they re all the
same delicate creature, so I knew I wouldn t have to
cook it for long, and I wanted to show them that, even
though I ve never cooked with something like this
before, I have what it takes to put out a good dish with
an ingredient I ve never worked with before."
She admitted to a moment of doubt, however, when
Chong seemed overjoyed to be left with the crab.
"I was just thinking, This better be good, Eric, "
Mohammed said with a laugh. "And also, Did I just
mess up? Did I make the wrong decision? I ve worked
with crab many times. This was either a strategic move
that would work out to my benefit or one that I may
regret."The first season of MasterChef Canada was
filmed last fall, but the winner won t be revealed until
the last episode.
The finale airs tomorrow at 8 pm on CTV.
(The Sudbury Star)
Marida Mohammed of T&T heritage has made it to
the finals of the popular competitive cooking show
MasterChef Canada. Final show is tomorrow on CTV.
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