Agassiz’s top home cook has taken home the top prize.
Tammy Wood recently competed on the Food Network Canada competition “Wall of Chefs,” beating three other home cooks and impressing some of Canada’s best chefs, netting her the $10,000 cash prize.
The episode, entitled “A Jacuzzi of Butter,” is the 13th episode of the first season, airing on Tuesday (September 15).
Wood said she was competing for her kids and her family.
The first round saw the four home cooks showing off their “crowd pleasers,” the dish their loved ones always asked for at parties. This round was judged by four chefs. Wood created her west coast seafood stew with saffron, white wine and cream broth, which proved to be a complex venture right from the start.
“The fish that’s in my dish all cook differently,” she said during the competition. “so the game plan is to cook everything separately. What’s wonderful about doing this is every time you cook a different fish, all the flavours of that fish are going into this broth, making it that much more beautiful.”
Wood’s crowd pleaser was the favourite of the first round.
“I love the fact that you added your seafood individually,” said Chef Alida Solomon, chef/owner of Tutti Matti. “The broth is delicious. People underestimate the power of saffron. It’s really, really strong in flavour, so I think maybe a little bit less but other than that, I have to say, this is fabulous.”
Round two asked home cooks to think like a chef by taking over a chef’s fridge, using three ingredients from Chef Christine Cushing’s staples. The ingredients were feta cheese, fennel and sherry.
“I’ve never worked with feta,” Wood said. “I’ve only ever had feta in salads, and the fact that it is crumbly concerns me that if I added it into a sauce, it may be kind of crumbly and not nice and soft.”
Wood’s second-round entry was lamb tenderloin in chorizo feta cream with Mediterranean vegetables.
“That combination of a bold flavour with another bold flavour, I like where you went with it,” Chef Cushing said.
This was, again, the chefs’ favourite dish of the round.
The third and final round called on home cooks to create a restaurant-worthy dish inspired by Chef Victor Barry of Piano Piano, who asked the finalists to create their own elevated roast chicken.
“Chicken can be difficult. I’m trying to figure out what can I do that makes chicken the star but also elevates it to restaurant quality,” Wood said.
Ultimately, she created chicken wings in ponzu with scallions and sesame seeds, a twist on her mother’s recipe.
“I like sweet and heat,” she said. “Doing something as simple as a wing is risky, but it has lots of great flavour.”
It seems the judges agreed.
“You know, sometimes those recipes you pass down, you just want to hang on to, right because they’re so good, and this is one of them,” said Chef Lynn Crawford of Ruby Watchco. “Don’t give this recipe to anybody!”
Wood felt “fantastic” after the sweeping victory.
“I won it, baby!” she said. “It’s all about the kids, and I’m so happy I won for them.”
“You’ve only got one time on this earth to be creative, step out of your boundaries and do what you love,” Wood added.
Wood is a former competitor among the top eight during her season on MasterChef Canada. She has also hosted “Sossy Outdoors” on the Canadian Sportsmen Channel, dedicated to her remarkable talent for cooking fresh game right from the West Coast.
See the full episode online at www.foodnetwork.ca.
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