Canâ€™t quite wrap your head around the words â€œintense competitionâ€ and â€œcookingâ€ in the same sentence?
Then you should check out primetime TV.
On the small screen, youâ€™ll find a cornucopia of cooking shows of that ilk, and on March 28, Langley Advance culinary columnist Chef Dez (a.k.a. Gordon Desormeaux), will appear on Chopped Canada, a show in which chefsâ€™ skills are put to the test.
In each episode, four chefs compete before a rotating panel of three expert judges. The chef competitors race against the clock to turn mystery ingredients into a three-course meal.
Each week, the chefs compete for a chance to advance to the final competition and win a $10,000 prize.
Season two of Chopped Canada kicked off on the Food Network Jan. 10.
Chef Dez, who turns 48 on March 10, said he applied for the show just like anyone else, â€œand they selected me.â€
His episode has already been filmed.
â€œI was originally terrified to apply for the show, but the guy that cuts my hair convinced me to do s,o as it would be a great lesson for my children,â€ he said.
That lesson: to do something youâ€™re scared to do, but you do it anyway because it helps you grow and learn.
â€œItâ€™s called integrity,â€ he added.
He described his experience on Chopped Canada as â€œvery intense.â€
â€œThe show is exactly as you see it on TV,â€ Chef Dez said. â€œYou donâ€™t have time to get familiar with the ingredients before the clock starts ticking. If you have ever seen the show, you know how crazy the ingredients can be, so it was very tough.â€
Regardless of how he fares in Chopped Canada, Chef Dez is well seasoned in his chosen profession. His column, â€œChef Dez on cooking,â€ is published in more than 50 communities across Canada (including in the Advance) and Washington State.
Chef Dezâ€™s pieces focus on food and preparation, different types and styles of cuisine, and naturally, recipes that readers can use.
â€œI love sharing the joy of food however and whenever I can,â€ he said.
His passion for cooking dates back three and a half decades.
Chef Dez, who spent his school-aged years in Langley, canâ€™t recall the first dish he ever made, but he does remember vividly the first gourmet meal that he put together, when he was just 13 years old: duck Ã lâ€™orange with all the trimmings.
Now, heâ€™s passing his passion for food on to his four children.
â€œThey are each very different and individual with their taste preferences, but the one constant is pizza and barbecued meat,â€ Chef Dez said of his kids.
When asked what his own favourite dish is, Fraser Valleyâ€™s famous chef finds himself in a bit of a pickle.
â€œThere are so many dishes I love, like pasta, Italian and Greek cuisines, and smoking meat,â€ Chef Dez said.
â€œBut if I had to choose,â€ he relented, â€œI would say pizza, because it can be such a blank canvas, allowing you to flex your creativity.â€
And whatâ€™s not to love about cooking, Chef Dez asked.
â€œTo be in control of a medium that nourishes us â€“ gives us pleasure and energy â€“ is amazing,â€ he said.
â€œAnd what I make,â€ he added, â€œcan be appreciated by literally anyone with taste buds, regardless of their cooking ability.â€
A viewing party is being hosted on March 28 by Palliottiâ€™s Italian Restaurant, 33886 Essendene Ave., Abbotsford. Folks can meet and mingle, enjoy an appetizer or dinner, and then gather around the TV to cheer on Chef Dez.