Dan Worth will be the second Fernie chef to appear on Food Network’s highest rated Canadian original series of the year, Chopped Canada, a program where four chefs compete for $10,000 by making the best three-course meal possible with a limited amount of time and a basket full of mystery ingredients that must be used. Worth has some big shoes to fill as he follows Barrie Elliott to prime time television. Elliott, who was then the head chef at the Livery Restaurant, won the competition last year.
“When I applied for the show I didn’t know there would be someone on from Fernie. I had some pretty big shoes to fill, she did really well,” said Worth.
Worth and his wife are owners of the ice cream shop, Happy Cow Ice Cream and Desserts in Fernie, where he makes hand made ice cream from ingredients that he often grows himself. Worth owned a restaurant for ten years prior to opening the Happy Cow where he worked as the head chef. Chopped Canada is Dan Worth’s favourite culinary show and he wanted to see if he could be a chef again.
“I love the show. My wife Wendy and I used to have a restaurant in New Brunswick for 10 years and I was the chef there. It has been a few years since I was in a restaurant kitchen so I just thought I’d like to get back in there and see if I can still do it,” said Worth.
Before the competition began, Worth did not get to interact with his competitors or the judges.
“I didn’t really know any of them until we started cooking. I didn’t get a chance to skulk my competitors to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. We just met that morning so I had no idea what they were good at,” he said.
To Worth, the excitement was more than just the cooking. It was the progression from start to finish.
“For me it was the whole process, between the application, the interviews, getting accepted. That was pretty amazing. And then because it is one of my favourite cooking competitions it was pretty surreal to be standing there in the Chopped Canada kitchen. I had to pinch myself to see if I am still really here. I admire the judges so to be standing in front of them was a real honour,” said Worth. “At the end of it all it was just an amazing experience. For me it was a matter of following my heart and putting myself out there. That was the big thing for me.”
Worth was glad to see that what viewers see on screen is almost identical to what the contestant goes through.
“The cool thing about it is what you see on TV is what actually happens. No one has an advantage,” he said. “Everyone gets the same ingredients, everyone finds out at the same time, you don’t get a lot of time, once you open your basket it’s time to go. As far as cooking competitions to me, this is chef against chef. If you have a good day then you’re good, if you make one mistake you’re gone.”
This was Worth’s first ever culinary contest. Instead of getting nervous and trying to over prepare for the event he focused on remaining calm.
“I’ve never gone into any sort of culinary competition before. I have done food shows and stuff but I really didn’t know what to expect or how I would react. I wasn’t nervous, I think I remained really calm. There was nothing I could do to really prepare for it. I was there, and I enjoyed every minute of it,” said Worth.
Worth is proud to represent his business, his fellow chefs, and his city on a national program.
“It was a real honour to represent Happy Cow and Fernie. There should be some really good footage, the TV crew came here and did some filming around town,” said Worth. “Without going into too much detail, I think Fernie will have a pretty bright spotlight. There are some really good chefs in this town, for me I always think about getting back into having my own restaurant again. There was a nice little experience in that.”
The episode featuring Worth is schedule to air sometime in March of 2016.