TORONTO - Another group of Canadian chefs steps up to the chopping block when "Chopped Canada" returns on Saturday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network Canada.
The hit competition series will mix it up with three new judges in its second season.
Chef and cookbook author Massimo Capra — co-owner of Toronto's Mistura restaurant, Sopra Upper Lounge, Boccone Trattoria Veloce and Boccone Pronto at Pearson International Airport — is no stranger to TV with appearances on "Cityline," "Restaurant Makeover" and his own show "Gourmet Escapes."
Antonio Park is chef of Montreal's Park Restaurant and Park Market and has also cooked in Tokyo, Osaka, New York and Toronto, while Toronto-born Eden Grinshpan hosts Cooking Channel's "Eden Eats" and judges on "Donut Showdown."
They join a rotating panel of returning judges: chefs Susur Lee, Lynn Crawford, Michael Smith, Roger Mooking, John Higgins and Anne Yarymowich. Toronto-raised Dean McDermott, who plans to release a cookbook this year, reprises his role as host.
"It's pretty action-packed this year. I'm looking forward to (watching) it," says Crawford, chef-owner of Ruby Watchco in Toronto.
"You have to admire those wonderful, amazing talented chefs that put themselves through the 'Chopped' kitchen and sharing their talents and working with crazy mystery ingredients and coming up with really great amazing food. It should be a good season," adds the cookbook author and host of "Pitchin' In."
Like its U.S. counterpart, each episode starts with four chefs. There are three rounds, each based on mystery basket ingredients that must be used creatively while working against the clock. Course by course, one competitor is chopped until the winner remains, taking home $10,000.
Viewers were able to weigh in with ideas for mystery ingredients, showing no mercy in suggesting combinations. What will chefs do with ketchup chips and prairie oysters? The viewers' choice episode airs Feb. 7.
In another themed episode airing in March, the contestants are tried by takeout, pitting their skills using various fast-food ingredients.
In other episodes, chefs must grapple with such diverse ingredients as turducken (deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, which is in turn stuffed into a deboned turkey), fiddleheads for dessert, blood sausage paired with lemongrass, or cactus with crescent rolls for dessert.
The first 13 episodes air through April, with 13 more episodes slated to be shown in the fall.
"Chopped Canada" had the highest-rated premiere in the history of Food Network Canada last winter.