Feast Tofino Visiting Chef to Compete on Top Chef Canada
Vancouver Sun - April 6, 2018 | Randy Shore
The psychological warfare between Vancouver chefs Felix Zhou and Mark Singson began long before they walked blindfolded onto the set of Top Chef Canada.
Singson — a culinary vagabond and pop-up chef owner of FAM Inc — let it slip to his friend that he had been selected for the Season 6 competition.
Zhou — executive chef of Heritage Asian Eatery — had also made the cut but said nothing, instead teasing and congratulating Singson via text message.
“I was playing him and trolling him,” said Zhou, trading a few gentle punches with his victim.
It worked to perfection.
“I didn’t see him at the airport or on my flight, so I was pretty sure he wasn’t on the show,” said Singson.
Singson’s heart was pounding with anticipation as he was led into the competition kitchen set and when the blindfolds came off and Zhou was laughing at him.
Mind = Blown.
Score one for Zhou, without so much as boiling an egg.
Singson shook off the shock — “I always roll with the punches” — and got to work.
Make no mistake, cooking in an unfamiliar kitchen, dealing with curveball challenges and intense time pressure is work.
“There were people on the show that I knew, but others that I didn’t and so you have to figure out what they can do and react to what (the producers) are throwing at you,” said Zhou.
He had practised recipes and techniques that he thought would come in handy.
“I like to plan things, strategize and know what’s coming,” he said. “I did a lot of thinking about what my final menu might be, what kinds of things can I make that are super-quick.”
Of course, most of that went out the window in the heat of a battle in a kitchen with an unfamiliar layout.
“The early challenges show who can adapt better, who can find what they need in the fridge, the freezer, the pantry,” he said. “It’s a real learning curve.”
With a second restaurant opening and a second child on the way, Zhou has plenty of motivation to show well.
“I wanted to see if I could compete and show my skills,” said Zhou, who is trained in the French tradition, but grew up with Chinese cookery. (more)
Photo: Chefs Mark Singson (left) and Felix Zhou are both contestants from Vancouver on the new season of Top Chef. ARLEN REDEKOP /PNG