It was the unkindest cut of all for the outgoing plumber Dora Cote on MasterChef Canada - going home to Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, after being eliminated on a beef challenge.
Mind you, it was unfamiliar beef cheeks that was her undoing in a challenge that saw contestants using head-to-tail cuts, from brain to tongue to kidneys.
“I’m certainly not happy about going home on Alberta beef,” Cote said in a conference call Tuesday. In fact, Chef Claudio Aprile refused to eat it, saying it looked “like vomit.”
I informed Cote that I’d had beef cheeks at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, and that they, like her, also made it into a stew (and it was tasty, but not pretty).
“My biggest mistake is I don’t know how to make a stew look fancy,” Cote said. “That’s half the battle coming in as a home cook. Presentation was my biggest fear. Because I’m used to doing it army style at home. Slap down three piles on a plate, if you don’t eat it, you’re going to bed.”
Meanwhile, Cote confirmed a recent tweet by fellow contestant Dale Kuda that both of them had been competing while suffering from viral pneumonia.
“If you heard my voice throughout the season so far, I thought it was due just to yelling and screaming. But right before the ACC challenge (where contestants fed the Toronto Maple Leafs), I went to get a coffee and I almost passed out.
“So after we were done the ACC challenge they let us go to the doctor and Dale and I both had viral pneumonia. So we were on some pretty insane meds that week. So that made it interesting.”
Ironically, the two patients ended up on the chopping block together on Monday’s top-10 elimination. Dale had severely undercooked the primest cut ¬ a rib steak, and protested when the chefs judged it raw. Though both Cote’s cheek-stew and Kuda’s steak were judged failures, Kuda was kept on because he was deemed to be more talented. Cote admitted this rankled her.
“When Claudio called my dish ‘barf,’ how do you not go home? But when Dale was being such a twerp about justifying his raw steak, I thought, ‘Okay, he’s being enough of an ass that I’m going to be okay.
“But then they’re like, ‘It’s not about the attitude it’s about the skill, and I knew I was going home.”
But Cote also was the second eliminated contestant to announce she’d be opening a restaurant to coincide with the finale of MasterChef Canada (Brampton’s Danny Raposo said he’d have a Portuguese food truck on the road in May).
“I’m a fierce woman, and I’m pretty damn close to having my own restaurant right now in Rocky,” Cote said of her “Canadian Soul Food” venue. “I’ve managed to with my lovely gift of gab and new negotiating power set this up with low, low cost. My aim is to have this restaurant open before the show is off air.
Is she going to miss the plumber money?
“I was self-employed and if they don’t want to pay you, you’ve got to go to small claims court.
“Somebody doesn’t pay me at the restaurant, I get to call the police.”