Nelson’s top chef survives episode one scare

Jamie Hertz found himself in the bottom four of Top Chef Canada’s premiere, but will be part of episode two.

Nelson's Jamie Hertz survived episode one of Top Chef Canada on Monday night.

Nelson's Jamie Hertz survived episode one of Top Chef Canada on Monday night.

It’s not the start Nelson chef Jamie Hertz likely anticipated, but the owner of Fusion Bistro is still alive in the Top Chef Canada running.

The Food Network launched its new reality series on Monday night with 16 contestants from across Canada vying to become the nation’s next big reality star and celebrity chef.

In his premiere performance on the small screen, Hertz was overshadowed by bigger personalities and ended up in the dreaded bottom-four after the episode’s elimination challenge. Despite a less-than-memorable start, the hometown hero breathed a sigh of relief when judges decided to send home Michael Stauffer from Dundas, Ontario.

As is the case with most reality TV shows, the first couple episodes make it difficult for all contestants to come to the fore. Production teams latch onto a few of the bigger personalities and most have to settle for flying under the radar. This was the case for Hertz who wasn’t even formally introduced until about midway through the episode.

When Hertz did get his first solo face time with the camera, he gave a big shout out to Nelson and positioned himself as the small town guy. Then for the first quick fire challenge — where contestants partake in tasks for the coveted elimination immunity — Hertz made the top-eight thanks to skills in filleting a fish. He was then knocked out when a speed challenge with artichokes was played out.

The elimination challenge had contestants go on a shopping spree with a $100 budget to get items for a dish that would say something about themselves. Hertz chose to go with a tuna dish. When it was complete and they were asked to present before the judges, Hertz admitted to the camera that perhaps his dish was not as dazzling as those who surrounded him in the kitchen.

Facing a panel of judges, including head judge Chef Mark McEwan, Hertz’s offering was frowned upon as bland and not very exciting. The critique landed him the bottom four where he had to stand before the panel and face the music.

In the end he survived and if the previews for episode two are indication, Hertz’s role will increase. The teasers reveal the local favourite may be developing into one of the show’s villains. And when it comes to reality TV, that not a bad role to fill.

If you’re a fan of cooking, reality television or Nelson, Top Chef Canada is worth tuning into. We can only hope Hertz steps up his game and lasts a long time. The show is entertaining and is certainly a lot more fun when you get to root for a person you see walking down Baker Street.

Top Chef Canada runs on Mondays at 10 p.m. on the Food Network. For more information on the show or to watch video highlights head to foodnetwork.ca/topchefcanada.