Allez Cuisine! Today, Food Network Canada unveiled its exceptional culinary cast and premiere date for the great white north’s Iron Chef Canada (10×60), set to debut on October 17 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. At the helm is Canadian television personality, accomplished food writer and trained culinary expert Gail Simmons as host, critically acclaimed food critic Chris Nuttall-Smith as floor reporter and Vancouver-native Jai West as the dynamic chairman. The final two Iron Chefs slated to command the competition include Ottawa-born vegetarian chef and owner of award-winning New York City restaurant Dirt Candy, Amanda Cohen, and prominent Vancouver-based chef and Culinary Director of Cactus Club, Rob Feenie – both former Iron Chef America competitors. Chefs Cohen and Feenie join previously announced Canadian Iron Chefs, Hugh Acheson, Lynn Crawford and Susur Lee.
In every episode, Monogram appliances elevate the head-to-head battles between the Iron Chefs and notable chef competitors in the finely crafted Monogram kitchen stadium. Each has 60 minutes to prepare five dishes using a featured “secret ingredient” and the chef with the highest score from the rotating judging panel wins the epic battle and supreme bragging rights. Stay tuned for more information on which Canadian chef competitors are lined up to compete this fall.
“We are ecstatic to introduce a truly authentic Canadian version of this immensely popular format to viewers across the country,” said Lisa Godfrey, Vice President of Original Content, Corus Entertainment. “With the stellar all-Canadian cast at the forefront and a roster of legendary Iron Chefs battling some of the most talented chefs in the country, the culinary showdowns are sure to be must-see events.”
Learn more about the cast of Iron Chef Canada:
Gail Simmons, Host, @gailsimmonseats
Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Born and raised in Toronto, Ont., Gail moved to New York City in 1999 to attend culinary school at the Institute of Culinary Education. Gail has lent her expertise as a permanent judge on Bravo’s Emmy-winning series Top Chef and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by the New York Post. Gail’s first book, a memoir titled Talking With My Mouth Full, was published in 2012. Her first cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, was released in 2017 and was nominated for an IACP award for “Best General Cookbook.” Gail previously wrote a monthly column for Food & Wine magazine and worked closely with the country’s top culinary talent on events and initiatives. In 2016, she received the Award of Excellence by Spoons Across America, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children about the benefits of healthy eating. She is an active board member and supporter of City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen, Common Threads, and the Institute of Culinary Education.
Chris Nuttall-Smith, Floor Reporter, @cnutsmith
Chris Nuttall-Smith is editor-in-chief and founder of thetaster.ca, a subscription site for trustworthy restaurant, food and wine reviews. He’s worked as food editor, chief critic and dining columnist at Toronto Life, restaurant critic for enRoute (he wrote the magazine’s celebrated Canada’s Best New Restaurant list in 2009), and more recently, national food reporter and Toronto restaurants columnist for The Globe and Mail. Nuttall-Smith’s writing on food, drink and other subjects has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Esquire, New York magazine, Toro and Lucky Peach, as well as on the podcast The Fridgelight, which he created and hosted. He’s also a resident judge on Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada.
Jai West, Chairman, @monsieurwest
Born in Vancouver, B.C., Jai West began his acting career in his teens as a series regular on the popular teen show Kidzone. He also had many roles on TV and film in the U.S. and Canada including guest appearances in Highlander, The Odyssey and 21 Jump Street and more. In Japan he has starred in high-grossing films such as Worst Contact, Bus Panic and Private Detective Mike. In 2004, Jai took on a key role in the Japanese box office hit Survive Style 5+ the directorial debut of creative duo Tada Taku and Sekiguchi Gen. Jai has also received praise for the poetry he creates under the pseudonym ‘Lotus Chamelion’. In 2016, Jai was cast as the lead opposite Dree Hemingway and Pamela Anderson in the psychological thriller The People Garden directed by Canadian filmmaker Nadia Litz.
Amanda Cohen, Canadian Iron Chef, @dirtcandynyc
Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, an award-winning vegetable-only restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Born in Ottawa and raised in Toronto, Ont. Cohen moved to New York to attend university and never left. Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in New York when it opened in 2008. The restaurant’s original 18-seat location was open for six years and during that time became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from the New York Times, was recognized by the Michelin Guide five years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet Magazine, the Village Voice, and others. Cohen was the first vegetarian chef to compete on Iron Chef America and her comic book cookbook, Dirt Candy: A Cookbook, is the first graphic novel cookbook to be published in North America.
Rob Feenie, Canadian Iron Chef, @cactusclubcafe
Rob Feenie is currently the Culinary Director of Cactus Club based in Vancouver, B.C. Feenie grew up in Burnaby and graduated from the Dubrulle Culinary Institute. Feenie began his career as a sous chef in notable restaurants such as Le Crocodile and Cherry Stone Cove in Vancouver, and The Rim Rock Café in Whistler. He trained with Chef Emile Jung at Au Crocodile and Chef Antoine Westermann at Le Buerehiesel, both Michelin three-star rated restaurants in Alsace, France. Feenie went on to open his own restaurant, the internationally celebrated Lumière, in Vancouver, followed by Lumière Tasting Bar and Feenie’s. On Food Network Canada, Feenie hosted the series New Classics with Chef Rob Feenie and in 2005, he became the first Canadian to win Iron Chef America by defeating Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Feenie has written four cookbooks and is a two-time Vancouver Gold Medal Plates winner. He has received the coveted Relais Gourmand and Traditions et Qualité designations, the Mobil Travel Guide four-stars designation and the AAA Five Diamond Award.
Canadian Iron Chefs previously announced:
Hugh Acheson, Canadian Iron Chef, @hughacheson
Lynn Crawford, Canadian Iron Chef, @Chef_Lynn
Susur Lee, Canadian Iron Chef, @SusurLee
To learn more about the series, Canadian Iron Chefs, catch behind the scenes content and watch episodes online after they premiere, visit www.foodnetwork.ca.