While not everyone is comfortable working under tight time constraints and with cameras rolling as they compete against their peers, the situation isn’t that unusual for Canmore’s Stefan Kuhn.
Kuhn, a cross-country ski Olympian, Tour de Ski competitor and longtime national team member who is used to competing on world stages, though, trades skis for knives as he appears in episode four of the second season for Chopped Canada on The Food Network, Saturday (Jan. 31) for a chance at $10,000.
Each week on Chopped Canada, four chefs compete for the cash prize under the watchful eyes of celebrity judges. Each is given a surprise basket of ingredients, then has 20 minutes to create first an appetizer, then main course and dessert. Each then has to survive judging, and the possibility of being chopped.
On Saturday, Kuhn goes head to head with chefs from Vancouver, Quebec and Toronto, under the eyes of judges Roger Mooking, Susur Lee and Massimo Capra.
“My brother is a big fan of the Food Network and he loves Chopped and he sent me an application form,” said Kuhn. “He said, ‘you should go for this.’ All my friends and my girlfriend are pretty excited about seeing the show.”
In all, said Kuhn, more than 3,000 chefs applied and 200 got in on the action for the second season. Kuhn himself has a culinary diploma from SAIT, 10 years of experience, owns Classic Chef catering and works as a guest chef at Paintbox Lodge in Canmore.
“I think the Olympics got me in,” he said. “Most of the people who applied work in a unique restaurant, or had a cool story, and I think my skiing was the difference. They even filmed me skiing as part of an intro and asked about the Olympics; they made a big deal of that.”