Moncton veteran Line Pelletier runner-up on MasterChef Canada
Published Monday, May 25, 2015 7:49AM ADT Last Updated Monday, May 25, 2015 8:14AM ADT
David Jorge, a concrete contractor from Surrey, B.C., came out the winner in a face-off with Line Pelletier, a Canadian military veteran and computer specialist from Moncton, N.B., in the season 2 finale of 'MasterChef Canada.'
David Jorge says the feeling of accomplishing his goal of becoming Canada's newest MasterChef is "unmeasurable."
"It's beyond the money, beyond everything," Jorge said in an interview at a CTV studio ahead of Sunday's telecast.
"I set a goal, showed up in Toronto with 50 people. Seven weeks later I walked out of there myself and it was amazing, absolutely, truly amazing. And the fact is that nobody can take that away from me now."
The concrete contractor from Surrey, B.C., pocketed $100,000 in the sizzling finale of "MasterChef Canada," which saw him battle it out with Line Pelletier, a Canadian military veteran and computer specialist from Moncton, N.B.
They each had to create an appetizer, entree and dessert.
Pelletier started off with surf 'n' turf with foie gras. Judges Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile were concerned there would be an unwelcome charred flavour when her pan caught fire, but pronounced the result delicious.
Meanwhile, Jorge prepared tomatoes five ways with sweetbreads, but was marked down for leaving membrane on the sweetbreads.
Jorge's shaking hands made plating his appetizer dicey.
"They were uncontrollable," he said. "I had never had anything like that before."
But he relaxed enough to pull out all the stops for his entree, a twist on a classic dish reflecting his Portuguese heritage using boar and geoduck clams.
Pelletier's elk tenderloin and "enchanted potato forest" entree was an innovative tribute to contestant Tammy Wood of Agassiz, B.C., who cooked that protein for her first "MasterChef Canada" dish, and her father, with whom she went hunting when she was a kid.
"Those were some of my fondest memories, was doing that with my dad, and he's passed away so it was sort of an ode to him and an ode to Tammy -- my past life with my dad and my friendship that I made with her."
Jorge's lemon dessert was an elevated version of a favourite of his wife Tanis, who frequently totes it to potlucks.
The sweet treat was difficult to pull off, particularly when he realized he forgot to cook the lemon curd before putting it in the freezer and had to scramble to rectify the error.
"It was absolutely down to the wire. I needed a few more seconds, to tell you the truth. Ten more seconds would have been nice."
Pelletier, on the other hand, finished her meal with a cheese plate comprised of six complex components before the clock ran out.
But it wasn't enough to earn her the championship.
"I don't think anything slipped me up in the finale," she said. "I'm very proud of what I did, what I accomplished, and I wouldn't change anything."
Jorge, 40, is banking his prize money as he looks to open a restaurant.
Pelletier, who has worked on some fundraisers and entered a bikini fitness competition since taping wrapped, will be recognized Tuesday at the New Brunswick Legislative Assembly for raising awareness of the province and being a positive role model for women.
"It's cooking and you wouldn't think a cooking show would do that. For some reason it inspires and empowers people," she said.
"Even though you're from a small town (Edmundston), you can become whatever you want to become."
Aspiring home cooks can apply online now for "MasterChef Canada" season 3.