Amateur West Kelowna chef to compete on MasterChef Canada

West Kelowna
West Kelowna's Kaila Klassen prepares a dish during the taping of MasterChef Canada.
— image credit: Contributed

A West Kelowna realtor with a knack for cooking is one of 50 contestants on the inaugural season of MasterChef Canada.

Kaila Klassen was sipping a glass of wine when she learned one of her favourite cooking shows would be coming to Canada.

"I did a quick little quirky video of myself cooking and sent it in," said Klassen.

"Within 11 hours I heard back; they wanted me to come to Vancouver within two days, audition for them and cook a dish for their judges."

Klassen travelled to Vancouver, prepared braised beef short ribs with bone marrow mashed potatoes and bourbon and maple syrup glazed baby carrots for the judges and, a few days later, learned her food earned her a spot in the top 50.

The Re/Max real estate agent then flew to Toronto, where she met the other 49 contestants and created a dish—seared ahi tuna with cannelloni bean and pancetta fricassee with shaved black truffle and shaved asparagus salad—for MasterChef Canada judges Michael Bonacini, Claudio Aprile and Alvin Leung.

"Having a glass of wine and cooking at home for your boyfriend is a heck of a lot different than cooking in front of like 30 cameras.

"I was about to pee myself, I was so nervous. But it was a really good experience."

According to Klassen, the judges were tough and didn't care about anything other than what was on the contestants' plates.

"I thought it was really liberating to be judged solely on your food. It wasn't what you said, how you looked or what you did for a living…it was all in your food."

She added she didn't expect to make any friends when she attended the MasterChef Canada taping; however, Klassen is still in contact with several of her competitors.

Klassen's passion for cooking didn't emerge until she began working in the restaurant industry in Vancouver as a young adult.

"When everyone else was using their tips to go out drinking…I would always keep mine and take myself out for a nice dinner.

"I realized, very quickly, that I would be incredibly broke if I continued to take myself out for those nice dinners."

She decided to try her hand at cooking by recreating some of the dishes she was paying top dollar for.

Quickly, Klassen realized how much she enjoyed cooking. She also appreciated how much money she was saving by making the meals at home.

Klassen has considered embarking upon a career in the food industry, but said she's currently happy in the real estate industry, with the income it provides.

Several of her Re/Max colleagues will join her at a viewing party Jan. 20, when MasterChef Canada premieres on CTV.

Twitter: @PatersonWade


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