Local favourite Danielle Cardozo left the competition last episode as the eighth home cook in the first ever MasterChef Canada (MCC) competition with a business plan. Today she has launched a website www.daniellecardozo.com and her new brand ‘Taste Life’. Not surprising for a single mom of three who works as a business development coordinator for the St. Mary’s Band in Cranbrook, B.C.
The last MCC episode was tough for Cardozo to watch but said she wouldn’t change a thing as the experience was amazing.
Her team of four lost the street lunch vendor challenge by three votes due to a raw meatball being served in the rush.
This forced the team into the extreme pressure test of creating an individual Baked Alaska, a technically difficult dessert. The complex cake has a sponge cake base topped with ice cream that is surrounded with a golden meringue. Three of the four home cooks struggled to serve a proper Baked Alaska but Cardozo was the one who was sent home. When asked by the judges who Cardozo thinks will take the first MCC title and $100,000, Cardozo said, “It was a love hate relationship but Kaila [Klassen] is going to kill it.
“I can only laugh at the irony of being sent home on a cake. I just about died of embarrassment. The first person I called when I got my cell phone back from MasterChef Canada was my sister, who I started Crumbs Cakery with almost three years ago. I confided in her how I went home. She laughed and joked, “Of course you did! How did that happen?!” When I explained that it was a Baked Alaska, she granted me sisterly amnesty.”
“I went to MasterChef Canada with several goals in mind. It was a multifaceted plan that didn’t simply involving going there to win. I went there with a business plan.”
Cardozo understood the show as she had watched the MasterChef franchise for several years. By following the home cooks after the show, she saw that the ones who used their MasterChef opportunity to its fullest were the most successful.
“Those who have been most successful aren’t always those who win the MasterChef title, it’s ones who go out and work extremely hard after the show is done filming!”
For Cardozo, MasterChef Canada was about pushing her boundaries and creating more opportunity. Not winning it has given her that much more drive to push harder and continue to learn and prove herself even more.
Cardozo started by finding employment in the food industry in Cranbrook and The Heid Out restaurant owned by Heidi Romich was her first choice. Once MCC started airing, Romich promoted the show by featuring the dish Cardozo created as each episode aired every Monday night. “Heidi has a great establishment that provided me with some learning opportunities,” said Cardozo. “She has been instrumental in supporting my ambitions.”
Cardozo’s second opportunity came by sheer luck. She noticed a picture of a foie gras filled doughnut on Instagram in November.
“For anyone that has eaten this amazing duck liver, you know that it would go amazingly with a sweet deep fried dough,” said Cardozo. “I jokingly commented, asking the poster Chef Alexander Lachnish of Tel Aviv, Israel to marry me. We began talking food, and three weeks later I booked a trip to Israel for April 2014. Not to marry him, but to do a stage in his kitchen, Lab 2.0.”
“Chef Lachnish is not your typical chef. He’s 24 years old, and has trained at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck in Bray, United Kingdom. Heston in my opinion is one of the most innovative chefs in the world, second only to Ferran Adria. Chef Lachnish owns a food lab, not a restaurant; he specializes in molecular gastronomy. He caters high end private events for some of Israel’s elite.”
With this secured, Cardozo knew she had an opportunity that could jump start her career in the culinary industry. Her goal is to eventually own a restaurant but she plans to spend a couple years learning about the industry before hand.
“The best way to do that is by sharing what you learn. For this reason, I’m announcing the launch of my website www.daniellecardozo.com and my new brand Taste Life. I am in love with the business of food. I want to be the first in, the last out, and the person who knows every aspect of her business. I respect that the restaurant industry is one of the hardest out there.”
Taste Life is about learning and loving food and life. It is a place where home cooks like Cardozo can learn about ingredients and cooking techniques. The blog will have a variety of categories for multilevelled cooks.
“As a mom of three I can appreciate quick, affordable, yet delicious meals. As a business woman, I like to have recipes that impress my dinner party guests. As an aspiring culinary entrepreneur, I want to learn about techniques that go beyond your everyday kitchen.”
Taste Life will provide recipes, lessons, and resources that address all of those areas. While in Tel Aviv, chef Lachnish and Cardozo will be creating a 10 lesson molecular gastronomy series for the website and she will include her food and travel experiences in Israel.
She procured local companies Genex Marketing for website design, brand development, and marketing strategy; Chad St. Pierre Photography for website photography; and Velvet Moss and Ginjer Jar of Kimberly for website shoot styling, which included clothing and jewellery; and HM Productions for a shoot kitchen.
“I was immediately impressed with how much these businesses were willing to work collaboratively to provide me with amazing results. I am extremely dedicated to supporting the local economy. If I can buy something in Cranbrook, I will. I don’t shop in the States and Alberta unless it’s for a product not offered in the Kootenays.”
“Top 8 is where the show ended for me and the opportunity began. That’s not the result of a big win, but instead the result of some old fashioned hard work and some amazing people who have welcomed me into the culinary industry!
“My time filming the show was great but sharing the experience meant so much more so I want to say thank you to everyone who has been cheering me on. I just loved that you all had that much faith in me.”
Cardozo finished eighth with numerous wins along the way.
One team challenge win
One challenge as team captain
Two pressure test wins
One Mystery Box win
One dish featured in an Alexander Keith’s beer commercial
Three dishes featured by Kraft ‘What’s Cooking’
One national magazine ad campaign with Kraft Philadelphia