Students in the Foods Program at Agassiz Elementary Secondary School were in for a real treat with the arrival of guest teacher Masterchef Barrie Mcconachie on Monday. Mcconachie placed third in the competitive hit show Masterchef Canada Season 4.
Mcconachie, who cooks for the sheer joy of it found his calling around the tender age of eight and never looked back. His philosophy on cooking is to do it with love, a message he was eager to impart to his AESS students that ranged from Gr. 8- Gr. 12 for the day.
“The students were definitely riveted to have him here,” said AESS Foods and Nutrition Teacher Shannon Rigby-Jones. “They are doing a cooking challenge right now that forces them to think outside of the box.”
Senior students had embarked on the cooking challenge, which included preparing an unknown dish with only seven ingredients, a task many of them mastered with ease as they put out advanced and complicated dishes.
“It’s cool and it’s something different,” said AESS student Jessica Lewsky of having a Masterchef onboard for the day while having the experience of cooking and thinking on her feet.
Dishes included an Indian chili with fried bannock and tomato salsa that was conceived with the very limited spices the group was offered for their challenge.
“It was so flavourful, they all did a great job and a team of young gentleman did a chicken Marsala curry that was over the top, the spice was perfect and it was really well cooked. The girls did a cream cheese strawberry crepe with homemade strawberry jam that was very creative and very good,” he said of a few of the tantalizing dishes the students whipped up on the fly and with minimal prep time.
Mcconachie was humble about his third place win, and spoke accolades about his peers on the show.
“It pains me to say that I wasn’t the right guy to win; the right guy won,” he said. “I’m so proud of Trevor Connie the guy who ultimately won the title, he’s an amazing cook and an amazing person, he’s half my age and an amazing friend. We formed a bond and the people we worked with are a unique group of people.”
Members of the cast resembled members of a family, according to the Masterchef, one that gelled with the intensity and rhythm of the show that was a constant challenge but one Mcconachie met head on.
“The common bond we had as competitors even though we were all trying to win was that we all love cooking. We came from every corner of Canada and in those down moments when maybe you’re not in the best mood, or you haven’t had the best day we would talk about recipes, cooking, and places we wanted to go to eat and so it was really unique that way,” he said.
Confidence was one of the main traits Mcconachie took from his time on the show, not just in cooking, but in life in general.
“I grew as a husband, as an employee in the company where I work — the experience gave me a sense of confidence and the belief that we’re all capable of something truly great in this world. We just have to figure out what it is. Finishing third out of 6,000 people that applied, is something truly great, and I said to them when I was leaving that I’ve never been more proud of anything I’ve ever done.”