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Meet Elizabeth Rivasplata from Top Chef Canada, Season 2

March 13th, 2012

Elizabeth Rivasplata; photo courtesy of Top Chef Canada

Elizabeth Rivasplata; photo courtesy of Top Chef Canada

Elizabeth Rivasplata, sous chef at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s FRANK Restaurant, was selected to compete on the Food Network’s reality cooking show TOP CHEF CANADA, which premiered on March 12 and airs every Monday at 10 p.m.

My name is Elizabeth Rivasplata. I am 32, and I have been working at the AGO for three and a half years – first as production chef and now as sous chef at FRANK, the restaurant at the Art Gallery of Ontario. I was born in Lima, Peru and I’ve been living in Canada for almost eight years. Recently I had the great privilege of being chosen as a contestant in the Food Network show TOP CHEF CANADA.

You can watch for me on TOP CHEF CANADA, Season 2, which premiered last night, every Monday at 10 p.m. on the Food Network. Follow me @rivasplata1 on Twitter for more updates from the show and my experiences as the season progresses. The challenge is on!!

Photo from the premiere; courtesy of Top Chef Canada

Photo from the premiere; courtesy of Top Chef Canada

Participating on TOP CHEF CANADA has been an amazing experience. I’m so excited to be part of this season and to meet and work in the company of so many great people.

I truly respect and admire all of the contestants and the members of the production team. It’s so complicated to put the show together and there are many people involved in making it happen. I would never have believed it and could not understand the stress and the hard work if I had not been through it. There were very long days and nights; I was exhausted and pushed to the limits again and again, but I would do it all over without hesitation.

As for the question that most people ask me: “Why?”… Why did I apply to compete on the show? Well I guess I am just a born competitor. Watching past seasons, I used to dream about being on the show.  I was a little bit scared (to be honest not a little… a lot), but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and that I am good enough. So after much thinking and deliberating, and urging from my boss Anne Yarymowich – who provided awesome support – I decided to apply. And the rest is history.

The main elimination challenge for the first episode was to cook something that represents you. I had given this some thought as it had been a challenge on other seasons. I knew that I wanted to represent a little of my native cuisine and showcase Peruvian ingredients. There are so many incredible ingredients that are native to Peru, and this one really came from the heart.

Elizabeth’s Peruvian dish from the elimination challenge

Photo of Elizabeth’s Peruvian dish from the elimination challenge; courtesy of Top Chef Canada

I made pan-seared fish with red quinoa (an ancient grain native to Peru) and roasted vegetable salad, a coulis of aji amarillo (hot yellow Peruvian peppers) and foam of purple corn (also native to Peru). That put me into the top four for the first episode. Way to go! I was soooo happy. One step closer to the TOP.

We will be featuring this dish that I created for the challenge at FRANK Restaurant for the rest of the week. Please come by and see me. I’ll be the one at the stoves, where I am happiest.

Elizabeth’s Peruvian dish from the premiere of TOP CHEF CANADA will be featured this week at the AGO’s FRANK Restaurant during lunch and dinner. Elizabeth will also be on hand to personally meet and greet diners. Join us for this special TOP CHEF CANADA inspired dish, for lunch Wednesday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., or for dinner Tuesday to Saturday, 5:30 – 10 p.m.

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