Yellowknife chef makes Food Network debut tonight

A Yellowknife chef will appear as a contestant on the Food Network show Chopped Canada tonight.
'It was pretty much the most stressful and intense thing I've ever done,' says Robin Wasicuna. The Yellowknife chef will appear on the Food Network show Chopped tonight. (CBC)

A chef from Yellowknife will appear as a contestant tonight on the Food Network show, Chopped Canada.

Robin Wasicuna, 42, owns and runs the Wiseguy food truck in Yellowknife.

He says he was headhunted to be a contestant on the show. After three e-mails and a phone call, he finally agreed to go to Toronto to shoot an episode.

“It was pretty much the most stressful and intense thing I've ever done,” Wasicuna says.

Each Chopped episode features four chefs who are each given a basket of mystery ingredients.

You're dealing with chefs that you idolize, who are tasting and judging your food.- Robin Wasicuna

They have four rounds of cook-offs, at 20 minutes each. At the end of each round, someone is “chopped.”

“You’re under the pressure of lights, camera. You're dealing with chefs that you idolize, who are tasting and judging your food. There's a lot of pressure,” Wasicuna says.

Wasicuna’s specialty is home-style, organic meals. He says he’s been cooking since he was 10 or 11.

“I’d watch cooking shows all the time,” he says. “I’d call my mom and ask if we had the ingredients and when they got home, I’d have supper made.”

The CBC’s Angela Sterritt decided to test out Wasicuna’s skills.

She showed up in his kitchen with a challenging box of ingredients: fortune cookies, smoked salmon, Red Rose tea, rice pudding and lychee fruit.

“I call it an Asian inspired lox and bagel, with savoury rice pudding and lychee,” Wasicuna says of the finished product, which Sterritt judged to be delicious.

On the show, Wasicuna has processed cheese and baked beans to work with in the appetizer round. For the entrée, he gets razor clams and hickory sticks. 

Wasicuna can't tell us if he won, or if he was chopped, but regardless, he says he's going places.

“We are looking at expansion, but in the form of a restaurant," he says. "We are hoping that will happen in the future.”

Wasicuna's Chopped episode airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET.


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