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6 Tips For Pitching Your Recipe to Riches

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You're the best cook you know and you have a story Canada needs to hear. You're all that and a bag of artisanally baked chips -- and there's a CBC show that would love to meet you.

Recipe to Riches will launch its third season on CBC in winter 2014. And starting June 22 in Calgary, June 26 in Montreal, they're off on a five-city hunt for contestants, one of whom will eventually win $250,000 and the bragging rights of selling their signature dish in Loblaws stores around the country.

For anyone who's interested -- whether you're able to make it to an Open Call or not -- you'll have to apply first.

(Everything you could possibly need to know about the registration process -- including detailed instructions for those attending Open Calls -- can be found here on the show's website.)

But once you're on the road to Recipe to Riches, there are a few things you should know.

If you turn up for an Open Call, you'll meet with the show's producers and field directors and professional tasters. You'll have a chance to tell them all about your recipe, and let them sample it in person.

But that Recipe to Riches team will meet thousands of other Canadians before the tour wraps July 13 in Toronto.

All the while they'll be searching for great concoctions like yours, of course.

"Ultimately we want to see 15 great recipes for five episodes," executive producer Blair Harley tells CBC Live. "And that's really what matters."

But they'll also be looking for something you can't measure out then bake at 350 degrees 'til perfect. They'll be waiting for a "Wow" - an intangible something-something that both you and your recipe share.

Not sure how to bring it?

Harley is here to help. Before you show up at auditions, read these hints for an edge on the competition.

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Be prepared to explain exactly how you concocted your dish to the Recipe to Riches tasters. And also be prepared with a sensational recipe name. (You want to grab the attention of grocery shoppers, after all).

But when we say "know your recipe," we also mean you should know which recipe will wow the judges. You've got to bring them something special.

Need us to be more specific? Harley lays out what's considered when selecting the show's finalists:

"Our criteria for judging includes taste, presentation, story behind the recipe, suitability for it to be a grocery store item, and also uniqueness, the originality of the recipe."

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At Open Calls, you'll get a chance to introduce yourself in two interviews: one with the field directors and producers, and another with the culinary team who'll be tasting your dish.

"It's very conversational," says Harley, but there's something at stake. This is your chance to sell them the story of how you came to Recipe to Riches. What inspired your recipe? What were the influences on it? Why are you passionate about cooking? Or excited about seeing your ready-made meal at the supermarket? Those are the kinds of questions you'll be asked, so be ready for them.

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The show's called Recipe to Riches, but great food alone won't get you on television.

"It's the whole package," says Harley, explaining what the team is looking for. And one very important ingredient is personality.

That doesn't necessarily mean you have to be "on" all the time. "The reality is we find the people who are passionate about food are great characters," Harley says. "They're rarely mutually exclusive."

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Be aware of the show's basic structure -- or at least the two major challenges that anchor every episode. You don't have to give a PowerPoint presentation detailing how you'll ace them both, but show the people at Open Call that you know what the challenges are and that you're ready for them.

Harley says they'll want to see that your recipe can "scale up" for the "Batch Up" competition -- which requires contestants to make industrial-sized quantities of their dish. The second major trial involves marketing your meal. This isn't Dragons' Den, but you'll still have to prove your entrepreneurial streak to producers.

"Having that vision for the marketing, that's part of it," says Harley. "When they meet us, they really have to sell us on the product. And part of that is really selling us on themselves."

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Defining the perfect Recipe to Riches audition is impossible, says Harley. But there's one past contestant -- Season 2 winner Rick Matharu -- who's as close as it comes.

"He was the whole package," says Harley. "He was so passionate about his food, he cared so much about it."

As a bonus, his recipe -- for Butter Chicken Lasagna -- was part of a larger, personal story, one that tied in his family history and his dream of leaving his day job for a culinary career.

Update: Matharu tweeted us, and what he had to say is another serving of excellent advice...



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The Recipe to Riches Open Call itinerary includes:

Calgary, June 22

Update: The June 22 Open Call in Calgary is cancelled due to flooding in the city and surrounding area. As more details become available, visit the Recipe to Riches website, or their Facebook and Twitter, for updates.

Montreal, June 26
Moncton, June 29
Vancouver, July 6
Toronto, July 13


Visit the Recipe to Riches website for more info, including how to apply online.

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