If you had asked me three months ago if I could ever fall in love with a kitchen-based reality show that didn't involve a screaming British man, I would have told you that you were crazy -- crazy like a fox.
But then, after seeing months and months of promo, I put down my Kraft Dinner, turned on my TV and watched the first episode of Top Chef Canada. Having avoided all the previous American versions, my reality-obsessed mind was intrigued by a show that didn't feature singers or dancers influenced by unfortunately-shaped stage parents.
I was immediately hooked. Week after week, Top Chef Canada delivered top-notch challenges, twists, intelligent judging and Thea Andrews. Seriously, you can never go wrong with Thea Andrews.
So now, we are down to the final three. Calgary's Connie DeSousa, Vancouver's Dale MacKay and Toronto's Rob Rossi will all compete tonight to win the first season of what has become Canada's best reality show.
The obvious question going into the finale is this: Who is going to win and, more importantly, is "GE Monogram Kitchen" the most dangerous drinking game of all time?
MacKay has reluctantly become the villain of the show. But since this is Canada, the worst this villain has ever done is swear a lot and sweat profusely. Out of the three finalists, he is certainly the least likable, even if he does mention his son any chance he can get. But just because you're mean, it doesn't mean you can't be a successful chef -- just ask any struggling actor/server who has to deal with them every day. Technically, Dale has been really creative, but if he won it would probably leave a bad taste in Canada's mouth.
Connie DeSousa seems to be the judges' favourite, but she's also struggled the most to get to Monday night's finale. Sure she's had some highs, but when she crashes, she tumbles, falls and limps her way into the next round, usually only to bounce back better than ever. It's her roller coaster of emotions that has added some depth to Top Chef Canada and made Connie the most fun to watch and root for. In such a male-dominated industry, it would be very Canadian for Connie to win. Luckily, she'll have earned it.
Rob Rossi's approach has been silent and deadly -- not like listeria, but in his ability to win challenges and not make a big deal about it. The mere fact that I had to look up his first name to write this, shows how subtle his tenure on Top Chef has been. But he's also technically the best; he won the first challenge and has gone on to win more elimination challenges than anyone else. So, in a perfect world, Rossi is the odds-on favourite to win. But would the producers let such a forgettable chef take home the crown? No one wants another Ryan Malcolm situation on their hands, do they?
The preview for this week's finale teases that the final decision is almost too close to call, and I agree. But if I had to choose, I'd have to say that Connie will go home with the top prize, but just by a sliver.
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The Top Chef Canada finale airs July 4 on the Food Network.