College of the North Atlantic’s (CNA) very own Chef Roger Andrews wanted to prove a culinary instructor could “throw down” like a restaurant chef, and he certainly did that during Saturday’s episode of The Food Network’s hit show Chopped Canada
Andrews went head to head with three other Canadian chefs for the $10,000 cash prize in Episode 22 Carnival: No Room for Seconds
. Cooking before a rotating panel of expert judges, the chefs put their skills and ingenuity to the test in an attempt to turn baskets of mystery ingredients into an extraordinary, three-course meal and all within a limited amount of time. Course by course, the judges chopped the chefs from the competition until only one remained. That person was Andrews.
The win signaled the end of Andrews’ dreaded second-place curse. “In all of the national competitions I’ve done I’ve always come in second place,” Andrews said, relating it on the show to the old adage “always the bride’s maid, never the bride.”
Although the win signaled the end to his streak, Andrews is the first to admit the carnival theme threw him for a loop.
“It was rough,” said Andrews from his office at the Prince Philip Drive campus in St. John’s. “It definitely wasn’t easy. All of the foods were already cooked or processed in some form so you had to transform that into something that was more edible, I guess you could call it. It was definitely challenging.”
The show was filmed in Toronto in June 2014. It was a long day from start to finish for the veteran chef, but the whole time Andrews kept his cool and did CNA proud.
“We stated at six in the morning and finished around 7:30 at night. With the time crunch the cooking segments are exactly like they are shown on the show. Once you open the basket you have 20 minutes and once that time is up, they do a little bit of shooting and then you’re brought into the sequester room where you talk amongst each other. Then there is a lot of waiting around. They do the critiques and there is usually about a 5 minute critique per person.”
Andrews has been a fan of Chopped
since its debut in the United States in 2009 and is no stranger to working on television or competing in cooking competitions. He coached two students in two seasons of the television show The Next Great Chef
, and has appeared on the local television programs One Chef, One Critic,
as well as Chef Roary’s Restaurant Showcase.
“I don’t usually get nervous doing that kind of stuff,” he said of being in front of the camera. “My nerves usually come in when waiting for them to lift up the plate cover (to announce who was chopped from competition), but during the cooking part of it, I felt totally comfortable. It’s just the waiting around after to see who is chopped that is the rough part.”
Andrews has been cooking for 20 years, but even with all that experience under his apron, and competing on national and international stages, this competition was still very difficult. He says when it came to the final round, he had just one thought.
“Don’t be second,” he said with a chuckle. “Please don’t be second again. Cameron (his competitor in the final round) struggled a bit on his dessert, but he had a really strong main course, so it was pretty close between the two of us. He is a strong competitor. I think it was the dessert that was the one that kicked it over the top for me.”
Andrews says it feels great to have broken his second-place curse and hopes it’s a sign that there are more good things to come.
“We’ll have to see what happens. I have no idea if Chopped Canada
has any plans for a champion season but they have done that in the United States where they offer up $25,000. If they do, and they call, and the college gives me time off, I’ll definitely go… as long as it’s not a carnival theme again! If they did that to me again I don’t know what I’d do.”
If you missed Roger in action, watch the episode online at www.choppedcanada.ca.
About Roger Andrews
Andrews first began his culinary training at Cabot College (now known as CNA) in 1994 where he received a diploma in Food administration. He then went on to the Culinary Institute of Canada in Prince Edward Island where he graduated with honours with a diploma in Culinary Arts. Andrews returned to his roots in 2006, but this time as an instructor at CNA’s Prince Philip Drive campus.
Andrews has lent his coaching skills to Skills Canada competitions and was a part of the Canadian Culinary Olympic Team for nearly a decade. During the Culinary Olympics in Germany 2012, he walked away with a bronze medal for the individual entry category; Team Canada placed fourth overall.
He is also a regular contributor to many provincial culinary events such as Shaun Majumder’s The Gathering
Public Relations Specialist
College of the North Atlantic