About Fridge Wars
Top Canadian chefs compete to make an amazing feast using leftovers and ingredients found in your fridge.
Think you have nothing to eat at home? Think again. Starting on February 27 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) CBC is bringing a new culinary competition to you. Fridge Wars pits two top Canadian chefs against one another with a challenge to create extraordinary meals using only the ingredients taken from the ordinary fridges of Canadian families.
Host Emma Hunter visits a family's home and conducts a surprise fridge raid. We learn why dinnertime is a source of stress and panic while simultaneously doing a smash and grab of their fridge — taking everything from last week's leftover lasagna to their condiment collection, and even snatching that questionable bag of frozen vegetables from 2016.
The competition commences back at the Fridge Wars studio where the family's fridge is recreated for both chefs. Once the clock starts they have 45 minutes to get dinner on the table — cooking with ingredients they've never seen for people they've never met!
Inside their fridges, the chefs scour through the ingredients imagining what they can possibly pull together. But it's the outside of the fridge that holds clues that guide the chefs to create a winning meal strategy. The family calendar, take-out menus, photos and maybe a gluten-free recipe are all potential clues to influence what meal will be a hit with these total strangers.
When time's up, the family takes their place at the dining room table and tastes each meal, scoring them on look, taste and originality — without knowing who cooked what. Those results go in the Fridge Wars vault and we do it all again with a new family and a new fridge full of challenges. This time upping the ante with a "What the Fridge (WTF) Challenge" that forces both chefs to adapt to a totally unique culinary crisis. With both families' scores tabulated, the final scene reveals which chef successfully created a mouth-watering masterpiece to win the Fridge Wars battle.
Meet the chefs
Bad girl Nadia G whips up the perfect blend of food and humour for any occasion. Chef Nadia's focus is on accessible haute cuisine, fresh organic ingredients and a hands-on approach that will inspire hip audiences of all ages to rock the kitchen!
Trained at the culinary institute of "hard wooden spoon whacks," Chef Nadia grew up in a boisterous Italian family that never quite gave up the belief that casalinga-style (home style) cuisine is the centre of the universe. Chef Nadia is on a mission to show everyone you don't need a Michelin Star to be a rock star in the kitchen.
Dustin Gallagher got his start in professional kitchens at the age of 13. At 22, he started cooking at internationally acclaimed restaurant, Susur, where he stayed for six years. In 2009, Dustin opened Toronto restaurant Grace as the executive chef. Grace was featured in Toronto Life's Top Ten Best New Restaurants and Dustin was celebrated as one of Toronto's best new chefs at the Gourmet Food & Wine Show that same year. Chef Dustin was also a fan favourite in Top Chef Canada's first season and the first runner-up in Top Chef Canada All-Stars.
He is currently the executive chef of 416 Snack Bar where he combines international cuisines and has mastered the crunch-to-squish ratio.
La-toya Fagon fell in love with cooking at the age of 17. She graduated from George Brown College's Chef School and continued to train at a number of top restaurants and hotels throughout Toronto, Europe and Mexico.
Born in Canada of Jamaican descent, she grew up cooking and eating "island foods," now she's brought her advanced culinary skills and experiences to craft her own take on "island paradise." Chef La-toya's signature style fuses traditional Caribbean ingredients together with Mediterranean flavours.
Growing up in Grand Falls, N.L., and being born into a large family of bakers and professional cooks, Rodney Bowers was always surrounded with good comfort food. Chef Rodney got his first job in the business at the age of 13 in a local pizzeria. He hopped from one opportunity to another, moving from Newfoundland to Germany, Belgium, England, New York, and Connecticut, before ending up in Toronto where he is now a Culinary Arts professor at Centennial College. Chef Rodney brings his culinary skills and fine dining know-how to comfort food people can connect to.
Matt Basile believes that food must be fun, and that in the food business you have to do things differently to be memorable. The creator of the Toronto-based street food brand Fidel Gastro's, Chef Matt is also the host of the reality television show, Rebel Without a Kitchen. He is the author of two cookbooks, Street Food Diaries and Brunch Life, and is a regular guest on programs such as Global Morning and Breakfast Television.
In 2015, Chef Matt was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Host of a Canadian Reality Series.
Born in Italy, Massimo Capra's culinary training began in Salsomaggiore Terme, Parma. He then started his culinary journey at the famous Trattoria dall' Amelia in Mestre near Venice. Chef Massimo continued to work at esteemed Italian hotels and restaurants for more than a decade before coming to Canada.
Chef Massimo has found a culinary home in Toronto where he is a successful restaurateur, television host and award-winning cookbook author.
Becoming a chef is a second career for Shahir Massoud. He left behind his life as an accountant to follow his passion and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City. While in New York, he got experience in esteemed restaurants and at Saveur magazine. Chef Shahir returned home and landed a gig as the corporate executive chef for local pasta chain Levetto, overseeing multiple locations all over Ontario.
Chef Shahir has also made regular appearances on various Canadian morning and daytime programs including CBC's The Goods (as a host) and The Marilyn Denis Show.
Wallace Wong worked in high-profile kitchens like Langdon Hall and Momofuku Shoto before focusing on his own culinary consulting and catering brand Six Pack Chef. As the name of his business suggests, he is a health and fitness junkie. Struggling with his weight in his youth led to his devotion to healthy and delicious cooking.
Chef Wallace has found success in several cooking competition shows by bringing his skill with international flavours and creativity to the forefront. He's a cancer survivor with a relentlessly positive attitude, and a healthy sense of competition.
Shane Chartrand grew up in rural Alberta where his father taught him to hunt, fish and respect his Indigenous Enoch Cree Nation roots.
Chef Shane got his professional start when he was 14, washing dishes at a "dive" and working his way onto the line by 17, when he decided to move to Edmonton. Chef Shane first honed his craft at some of Edmonton's best restaurants and has gone on to win numerous culinary awards, compete on several cooking competition shows and teach youth culinary classes.
Joshna Maharaj grew up in Brampton, Ont., where she learned about the joy of feeding people from time spent in the kitchen with her mom and aunties.
A chef, two-time TEDx speaker and activist, Joshna wants to help everyone have a better relationship with their food. Chef Joshna's efforts were recognized by the Basque Culinary Centre when she was shortlisted for their Basque Culinary World Prize in 2016. She believes that food plays an essential role in people's lives, and wants everyone to have more fun in the kitchen.
With over 20 years of professional experience, Nicole Gomes has been intrigued by the kitchen from the age of eight. Her first professional cooking experience started at a Parisian bistro. Since then, she has cooked across the globe, notably in Sydney, Hong Kong, Vancouver and Calgary — including working as a guest chef at the prestigious James Beard House, in New York City.
Chef Nicole competed on the third season of Food Network Canada's Top Chef Canada, returned for Top Chef Canada All-Stars in 2016 and was crowned as Canada's Top Chef, becoming the first female winner. Currently, Nicole is the chef and co-owner of Cluck N' Cleaver, a crispy fried rotisserie chicken take-out joint that prides itself on providing good food, fast.
Julie Miguel is a passionate home cook that has pushed herself to her limits on a cooking show before — and that was just the beginning! Chef Julie is a culinary expert seen nationally on television shows and in-person events, and is always eager to take on new cuisines and challenges.
Chef Julie runs a food blog where she strives to empower home cooks to be fearless in the kitchen. She does this by taking traditionally difficult recipes and makes them easier to execute.
Fridge Wars premieres Thursday February 27 at 8 p.m. (8:30 NT) on CBC Television and on the free CBC Gem streaming service.