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The Batcup Recap
Batching up their savoury snack recipes to 1,000 pieces was no easy feat for our competitors. Cyra Belbin, Izumi Kyle and Roshini Mellaram gave it all they had in only three hours. The results of their efforts varied from under-cooked to inconsistent.
In this end it was Cyra's Mexi Mac and Cheese Bites that were declared the best savoury snack in Canada. Cyra's Bites were made into a President's Choice® product available for purchase across the nation this weekend where President's Choice® products are sold.
So whose pickings peaked and whose nibblies needed more work? We asked the judges to tell us what they really thought of Cyra's Mexi Mac and Cheese Bites, Izumi's Umai Spring Roll and Roshini's Montreal's Best Bites.
Above, competitors Cyra Belbin, Roshini Mellaram and Izumi Kyle face the Recipe to Riches judging panel.
Cyra’s Mexi Mac and Cheese Bites
Judges Arlene Dickinson and Gail Simmons greatly enjoyed Cyra’s bite-sized mac and cheese creation from the get-go, and stood by their opinions post-batchup.
Gail even suggested Cyra’s snack improved through the process.
“The original recipe tasted great, and these tasted even better after the batchup because they were cheesier, gooier, and more uniform," she remarked. "They also had that little Mexican twist to them - just enough to differentiate them in the freezer aisle.”
Above, Cyra Belbin makes her recipe for Mexi Mac and Cheese Bites in the product development challenge
Judge Vikram Vij, however, maintained that the snack was too “kiddish” and would have limited mass appeal.
“Wherever they serve nachos they can serve this dish and get away with it,” he suggested.
Arlene completely disagreed and thought the delicious bites would sell well in stores based on their taste and universal appeal.
“Anyone who’s debating this notion doesn’t have kids at home and hasn’t had to figure out how make sure the nine-year-old and the 19-year-old and the 39-year-old are all happy," Arlene stated.
"The mac and cheese bites will do that.”
Roshini’s Montreal Best Bites
Despite her best efforts, Roshini presented the judges a meaty and flavourful snack that didn’t quite hit the mark after it was batched up.
“The idea on paper was great to me,” Gail said. “Montreal flavours - smoked meat with a bit of her heritage reflected in a samosa-like package. But it just didn’t translate.”
Above, Roshini discusses her recipe with her team of chefs on Recipe to Riches
The judges commented that her batched up bites were doughy and inconsistent. On top of that, they were shocked to find out she has never actually tasted them because Roshini doesn’t eat red meat.
“I don’t think you can be a true chef and not try your products,” Arlene said. “If she was a true vegetarian, she should’ve made something that was kickass good as a vegetarian dish.”
The judges were also disappointed that Roshini didn’t take their advice to make the bites smaller so that they would be more snack-size. In fact, the judges weren’t sure whether they were intended to eat the snack with their hands or with a knife and fork.
Vikram’s perspective? “You could only enjoy it if you’re sitting at home, eating with a knife and fork. It didn’t look like a snack, it was more like a small appetizer,” he suggested.
Uzumi’s Umai Spring Rolls
'Japanese on the outside, Canadian on the inside' is how Uzumi described herself and her flavour-fusion take on a classic spring roll.
Above, Izumi Kyle makes her spring rolls during the batchup challenge on Recipe to Riches
The judges agreed that Izumi presented a delicious flavour combination and a strong story to connect to her recipe.
“A great story is really important for sure," Arlene noted, "but at the end of the day you’ve got to have a product that’s different, unique, can stand up to consumer scrutiny, and doesn’t feel like it’s competing with 20 products just like it.”
“I just think there’s a lot of spring rolls out there,” Arlene worried.
While Vikram actually favoured the spring rolls over the other savoury snacks, the batched up version fell short of his expectations.
“The pastry was thick and undercooked,” he said. “It was crispy on the outside, but the inside of the dough was terrible.”
Gail echoed Vikram's underwhelmed sentiments.
“Yes, it was made with shrimp and it had great spice - this lovely jerk and cilantro. But there wasn’t enough filling,” she said.
“What you still got when you closed your eyes was a chewy wrapper of a spring roll.”
Watched the show? Vote now for your favourite finalist and help decide who will win the Recipe to Riches $250,000 grand prize!
Izumi, Cyra and Roshini made 1,000 of their savoury snacks on Recipe to Riches!
Below, more images from the batchup challenge:
Above, Kitchen Commander Rob Rainford discusses the challenges of batching up and cooking in a commercial kitchen.
Above, the Recipe to Riches commercial kitchen during the savoury snacks competition's production development challenge
Cast your votes now to help decide which finalist will win the Recipe to Riches grand prize of $250,000.