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Me’s on who? Digby’s Master Chef contestant eliminated in Episode 2


DIGBY – Les Barr wishes he’d made a pizza.

“Pizza is one of my strengths. I can make a pizza in an hour – a half hour would have stretched me and I definitely didn’t want to go up there in front of the judges with something half cooked,” he said.

Nova Scotia’s only representative in the Top 40 of this year’s Master Chef Canada was eliminated from the line up in episode two on Feb. 21 when he failed to impress the judges in a last chance cook off.

The first challenge Sunday night was a mise-en-place.

“Me’s on who?” said Barr out loud when he heard the assignment.

Mise-en-place means simply to get all your ingredients ready and “put in place” before you start to cook.

[On track to be on tap: Barr building brewery near home in Hillgrove]

The judges asked the contestants to break down a whole chicken, separate two dozen eggs, slice three peppers in long thin strips known as julienne, peel three apples, prepare two dozen shrimp and shuck six cobs of corn and remove every kernel – in just 15 minutes.

Barr cut himself twice during that challenge.

“I started with the eggs because I was hoping my nerves would settle down,” he said. “Those knives were incredibly sharp, and my hands were shaking, my heart was racing from all the pressure.

“I lost a lot of time when I had to stop and get bandaged up.”

After the mise-en-place, the contestants had a half hour to prepare a meal with those same ingredients.

Barr went with pan-fried chicken and apple pepper slaw with maple cranberry sauce and corn on the cob.

The judges said the slaw was great and the chicken tasted perfect but they found his plating (or presentation) “unusual” – especially the corn on the cob.

He sliced off the ends and rolled the corn in garlic butter and stood the cobs up in the oven to roast. He then served the cobs standing up, drizzled with butter and parmesan cheese.

“The judges felt it was unrefined,” says Barr. “Well I’m fine with that. Master Chef Canada is about fine dining in the kinds of places where people pay a lot of money to eat with way more cutlery than I can handle – that’s the name of the game but that’s not of the kind of cook I am.

“I’m a drink-a-beer-eat-with-your-hands kind of guy.”

Barr says he has nothing but respect for the others who survived that challenge.

“To plan it and execute and plate it in 30 minutes is an insane amount of pressure,” he said. “I’m impressed what people could pull off in that amount of time.”

Barr says the first thing he did when he got home from the filming was make a pizza in 30 minutes with chicken and creamy maple sauce and bacon.

“Since I’ve been back I’ve been training my speed – most days I jog home from the barn at noon, make a decent lunch and jog back to work all within an hour,” he said.

Training for another try?

“I don’ think I will,” he said. “I have peace with what I’ve done. I tried my hardest and now everything I’ve dreamed about and wanted is coming true – I’m building my brewery and brew pub and focussing on my Roof Hound brand.

“There’s definitely going to be corn on the cob on the menu,” he said.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

“Pizza is one of my strengths. I can make a pizza in an hour – a half hour would have stretched me and I definitely didn’t want to go up there in front of the judges with something half cooked,” he said.

Nova Scotia’s only representative in the Top 40 of this year’s Master Chef Canada was eliminated from the line up in episode two on Feb. 21 when he failed to impress the judges in a last chance cook off.

The first challenge Sunday night was a mise-en-place.

“Me’s on who?” said Barr out loud when he heard the assignment.

Mise-en-place means simply to get all your ingredients ready and “put in place” before you start to cook.

[On track to be on tap: Barr building brewery near home in Hillgrove]

The judges asked the contestants to break down a whole chicken, separate two dozen eggs, slice three peppers in long thin strips known as julienne, peel three apples, prepare two dozen shrimp and shuck six cobs of corn and remove every kernel – in just 15 minutes.

Barr cut himself twice during that challenge.

“I started with the eggs because I was hoping my nerves would settle down,” he said. “Those knives were incredibly sharp, and my hands were shaking, my heart was racing from all the pressure.

“I lost a lot of time when I had to stop and get bandaged up.”

After the mise-en-place, the contestants had a half hour to prepare a meal with those same ingredients.

Barr went with pan-fried chicken and apple pepper slaw with maple cranberry sauce and corn on the cob.

The judges said the slaw was great and the chicken tasted perfect but they found his plating (or presentation) “unusual” – especially the corn on the cob.

He sliced off the ends and rolled the corn in garlic butter and stood the cobs up in the oven to roast. He then served the cobs standing up, drizzled with butter and parmesan cheese.

“The judges felt it was unrefined,” says Barr. “Well I’m fine with that. Master Chef Canada is about fine dining in the kinds of places where people pay a lot of money to eat with way more cutlery than I can handle – that’s the name of the game but that’s not of the kind of cook I am.

“I’m a drink-a-beer-eat-with-your-hands kind of guy.”

Barr says he has nothing but respect for the others who survived that challenge.

“To plan it and execute and plate it in 30 minutes is an insane amount of pressure,” he said. “I’m impressed what people could pull off in that amount of time.”

Barr says the first thing he did when he got home from the filming was make a pizza in 30 minutes with chicken and creamy maple sauce and bacon.

“Since I’ve been back I’ve been training my speed – most days I jog home from the barn at noon, make a decent lunch and jog back to work all within an hour,” he said.

Training for another try?

“I don’ think I will,” he said. “I have peace with what I’ve done. I tried my hardest and now everything I’ve dreamed about and wanted is coming true – I’m building my brewery and brew pub and focussing on my Roof Hound brand.

“There’s definitely going to be corn on the cob on the menu,” he said.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

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