An invitation to dine with Danielle from MasterChef Canada

Salmon Wellington was one of five courses conceptualized by Danielle Cardozo that was served to a satisfied crowd at Funky’s Pizza in Sparwood.  - Submitted by D. Cardozo
Salmon Wellington was one of five courses conceptualized by Danielle Cardozo that was served to a satisfied crowd at Funky’s Pizza in Sparwood.
— image credit: Submitted by D. Cardozo

MasterChef Canada fans know that Danielle Cardozo is a force to be recognized with in the kitchen. Upon her return to the East Kootenay, Cardozo has been honing her culinary skills and had a chance to share her cooking with the Elk Valley as she hosted a five course meal in Sparwood on March 29.

The five course dinner was at Funky’s Pizza in Sparwood, thanks to Cardozo’s father, Rick Cardozo who owns the restaurant. The dinner had two seatings and sold out in a week.

“My goodness was last night’s dinner successful,” said Cardozo. “There was a major request to do it again, so we’ve decided that we will again in May, and possibly once a month after that.

“Also, there was a proposal in the evening! Congratulations to couple Mike Quast and Nicki Woods who got engaged at my dinner. It was awesome.”

The diners in Sparwood were excited about the menu as Cardozo kept it a surprise.

“It was a neat experience for the diners, as we did not let them know what the menu was. Before each course, I would come out of the kitchen and explain what was coming up.”

The first course was beef tartare, which was served with plated egg yolk.

“It’s ultimately raw beef and raw egg yolk,” said Cardozo. “It was definitely a bit of a shocker for the diners. I was extremely nervous about serving it first, but they all enjoyed it. I don’t think I saw a single plate come back with anything left on it.”

For the evening’s menu, Cardozo chose dishes that had meaning to her.

“I chose the beef tartare because it was that first dish that got me out of my culinary comfort zone, and has become my favourite snack.

“I chose the Wellington because it was my favourite MasterChef episode, and in my opinion, my proudest moment of overcoming a difficult moment on the show (when I cut myself and didn’t give up).”

What were the favourites?

“The diners were all excited to see the salmon Wellington on the menu, as it was one of my winning dishes. However, the pork belly was definitely the crowd favourite.

On the menu:

First course: Beef tartare with parsnip crisps and crostini.

Second course: Chilled spring pea soup with truffle Chantilly cream.

Third course: Pork belly with Japonica rice, caramelized cabbage, and fava beans.

Fourth course: Salmon Wellington, truffle pomme puree, beurre blanc, and Swiss chard compote (Cardozo’s pressure test challenge winner).

Fifth course: Key Lime cheesecake, Limoncello, baked graham, Happy Cow raspberry sorbet (Cardozo’s Kraft national ad campaign winning cheesecake).

While the dishes were Cardozo’s conceptualizations, she said she could not have done it without an amazing kitchen team.

There were four chefs in the kitchen. Her brother, Nathan Cardozo, served as the sous chef for the day.

“Nathan was amazing! After the dinner, he and I discussed him coming on board with me in future culinary endeavours. We are close as siblings, and have similar work ethic. With him on my team, we’d be a force to reckon with.

“I also had my dad, step-mom Cindy, and sister Amy in the kitchen. Five of us executed 335 plates in four hours.”

“They really enjoyed each course and I received amazing feedback. Many requested when we would be doing another dinner like this again. Many commented on how Sparwood is lacking a fine dining experience, and they’d like to see me back regularly.

“My dad joked that it might be a good time for me to take over the restaurant.”

Cardozo is hoping to have another dinner at Funky’s on May 24 and will announce ticket sales online in the coming weeks. Diners can expect a change in menu from the March 29 dinner.

Cardozo will be spending two weeks in Tel Aviv Israel in April, and she plans to bring back new flavors and technique.

“I can almost guarantee you will see my trip on a plate at the next dinner!”

To follow Cardozo on her journey as she tastes life, visit

Making it to the top eight home cooks during the first MasterChef Canada competition, Cardozo has become a household name.

Filmed last summer, the national competition currently airs every Monday night until the winner of the first MasterChef Canada title and $100,000 is revealed at the end of April.


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