MasterChef Canada contestant to open downtown Kelowna restaurant

Although Kaila Klassen didn't win the inaugural MasterChef Canada competition, she's not walking away from the kitchen.

West Kelowna's Kaila Klassen finished third on the inaugural season of MasterChef Canada. Klassen is now working on opening her new downtown Kelowna restaurant

Although Kaila Klassen didn’t win the inaugural MasterChef Canada competition, she’s not walking away from the kitchen.

The show’s judges—Claudio Aprile, Michael Bonacini and Alvin Leung—eliminated Klassen from the competition on the 14th episode of the series last Monday.

The West Kelowna real estate agent said she was “a little bit disappointed” she didn’t win, but was proud of her third place finish.

The experience has inspired her to open up her own Lawrence Avenue restaurant: Krafty Kitchen and Bar.

“We’re doing happily shared food…we want to make sure that the food is at a fine-dining level, but portrayed in a more casual atmosphere,” said Klassen.

“It will really be for everyone.”

Although Klassen’s focus will be on running the restaurant, she said she wouldn’t be surprised if she finds herself cooking from time to time.

Her goal is to open Krafty Kitchen and Bar by July.

“I’m going to put my absolute all into the restaurant, but I’m not going to cancel myself out of real estate just yet. I want to keep my options open.”

She admitted the reality cooking show has helped her career as a realtor as well.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity and for the exposure that I’ve had through this.

“The outreach that I’ve had from the community and the support that I’ve had (is) just mind-blowing.”

Klassen started strong in her final episode on MasterChef Canada. She won the elimination mystery box challenge with her stuffed veal loin atop a tomato sauce with olive tapenade.

But later in the show, Klassen’s seared scallops with duck confit potatoes and pickled cucumber wasn’t enough to get her through the elimination challenge.

For the last several months, Klassen has had to stay mum on the details of her MasterChef Canada experience. She said that wasn’t an easy task.

“I have such a big mouth and it’s been really hard. But I’m so glad that I did because it’s just that much more exciting for my friends and family.”

She added she has taken a lot away from her reality TV series debut.

“I think the biggest thing I learned is…it’s very important to listen to your instincts and listen to your gut.”

Twitter: @PatersonWade