Dartmouth chef brings 'East Coast flair' to Top Chef Canada
Renée Lavallée is the co-owner and chef at The Canteen on Portland
Nova Scotia fans of the show Top Chef Canada could see a familiar face when it premieres April 1 on the Food Network Canada.
Renée Lavallée, the co-owner and chef at The Canteen on Portland and Little C Take-Out in Dartmouth, N.S., is the only competitor from Atlantic Canada competing this season.
"You know, it was really awesome," Lavallée told CBC News of the experience. "I made some really amazing friends, [had] really tough competition.... I really walked away loving the experience."
Last June, someone messaged Lavallée through Instagram to see if she would be interested in competing.
"It was something that I never really thought about, but you know what? Things have been going really well here at the two restaurants and I have a really amazing staff and why not?" she said.
Although filming has wrapped up on the show, Lavallée only publicly announced she would be competing five days ago.
Lavallée said there were some interesting challenges competing on the show, including tight time limits to complete challenges, working with a camera in her face and using unfamiliar equipment and ingredients.
But she said it was worth it.
"If I had to do it again, I probably would," she said.
Lavallée couldn't get into specifics about what happens on the show, but said she was sure to represent Nova Scotia with some secret homegrown ingredients.
"Lots of East Coast flair ... as you watch as the show progress, you'll see Nova Scotia certainly is shown quite rampantly," she said.
Lavallée plans to watch the show's premiere with staff and friends "somewhere local on the Portland Street strip."
With files from Amy Smith