Antonio Park - the de facto chef of late for members of the Montreal Canadiens - will serve as a judge on season two of Chopped Canada. Shaw Media, the corporate parent of Food Network Canada, made the announcement yesterday afternoon. Toronto's Massimo Capra (Restaurant Takeover) and Eden Grinshpan (Eden Eats) will join the Park sushi man as new judges as well.
The import of the popular U.S. Food Network show with host Ted Allen made a successful debut north of the border this past January. Chopped Canada, in fact, drew "record-breaking audience numbers for a single play with 477,500 (2+), making it the highest-rated Canadian original premiere in Food Network Canada's history."
Only time will tell if Park's involvement prompts more Montreal and Quebec representation from the show that last featured 33 contestants out of 52 from Ontario. The chef spoke to Eater Montreal today about his new gig in front of the camera.
"When I got the call, I said I'd be honoured. I've been approached to do shows in the past and I've turned them down. I don't want to cook on television; that's not my goal. Chopped will give me the chance to impart information and expertise to young cooks. That's what ultimately appeals to me."
There is a downside, however, for Park regulars.
"I'm going to Toronto to film for two months. It's exciting because I'll be able to connect with some of my chef friends in the city and hang out in their kitchens. I'll be gone from the end of May until roughly the first week of July."
Park also divulged some choice info about his new restaurant in Westmount. Contrary to past reports, the name will not be Asado but the parrilla-style concept will definitely serve as an homage to some of the food Park grew up with in South America.
"The name of the new restaurant is Lavanderia. My parents used to have a laundry business in South America. Remember stonewashed jeans in the 1980s? They made those. This was in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. They had many employees and made like 80,000 washes a day for Lee and Wrangler. So Lavanderia will be an ode to my childhood."
· Chopped Canada Back for Seconds on Food Network Canada [CNW]
· Chopped Canada [Official Site]
· All Food TV Coverage [-EMTL-]
· All Antonio Park Coverage [-EMTL-]