If you were watching MasterChef Canada on CTV on February 21, chances are you saw JGH employee Fanassa Kettle doing her best to make her mark in one of this country’s toughest and most popular TV competitions.
Though she was eliminated in the second round, she says she’s thrilled to have gone as far as she did. “Of the thousands of people who applied, I was chosen to be in the top 40 to start, which was so exciting,” says Ms. Kettle, a Senior Pharmacy Technician in the Segal Cancer Centre.
By the time she was eliminated in the second round, “I was in the top 24, and that was wonderful. It was something that most people just dream about, and I got to experience it. It was amazing to have the judges taste my cooking and compliment me for it!”
Ms. Kettle says she decided to become a home cook by entering a dish that she’s been preparing for her family for about three years: lobster, mac and cheese—or MC Lobster, as she likes to call it—featuring her own special cheese sauce. After the lobster is cooked, the meat is set aside. Then the claws and tail are used as ingredients in a broth. Finally, the pasta, sauce and meat are brought together, the broth is added, and the claws and tail adorn the dish.
In the first round, Ms. Kettle prepared her specialty, presented it to the three judges and was interviewed by them. Getting the nod from one of the judges entitled her to move to the next round. To watch this part of the competition, go to http://masterchefcanada.ctv.ca/video and click on “Quebec and East Coast Auditions”.
Then things got much harder. Ms. Kettle’s challenge was cut a whole chicken into eight pieces, core and peel three apples, separate the whites from the yolks of two dozen eggs, julienne three peppers, shuck 12 ears of corn, and de-shell and de-vein 12 shrimp—all in just 15 minutes.
“I thought I could do it, and I was doing fine until I looked at the clock and realized I only had five minutes left,” she recalls. “I didn’t make it, but I was determined not to go down without a fight.”
Ms. Kettle says being on MasterChef Canada—as well as the whole experience of cooking—“takes me back to when I was a little girl and I used to cook with my mom. I love knowing that when I cook, there’s a little bit of me and her there on the plate.
“I listened to my heart, chased my dreams with dedication, and look how far it got me! I would encourage anyone who has a dream to chase it. Work hard, set a goal, make a plan, execute it and, by all means necessary, never give up.”
You can follow Ms. Kettle’s cooking journy on Instagram at @therealqueenofcanada, on Facebook at Fanassa Kettle, and on Twitter at @Ambitiion.