Two local chefs and brothers are set to air in the Chopped Canada television competition. The episode is scheduled to be aired March 26 at 7 p.m., titled ‘Bro-Down Showdown’.
Brothers Dany, who operates Bamboo Hut in Sylvan Lake and Pete Sok, who operates Sophear in Red Deer, competed against one another on the show with the experience being one neither will ever forget.
“It was a great opportunity because we’ve worked with each other side by side for so long and to actually compete against each other is different but exciting at the same time,”Dany said.
“It’s fun to see your younger brother have the same vision as you. We’re in a business together. Competing in the title against me was fun,” Pete added.
Having the opportunity to compete on Chopped Canada and against each other was one they weren’t going to give up.
Even being against each other for the prize of winning $10,000, the brothers wanted to challenge themselves to see what they could do in the kitchen, under the ticking clock and with unexpected ingredients.
Dany and Pete applied as individuals, but were paired with another set of brothers, forming the idea of pairing two sets of brothers up against each other in a competition.
Applying as individuals Pete said he thought about what his reaction would be if he got in and his brother didn’t, and vise versa.
“At first I thought to myself ‘what if I get in and Dany didn’t get in, or Dany got in and I didn’t get in. I will look like such a failure’,” Pete said. “But at the end of the day it was like great now we’re together and we can team up and hopefully kick these guys butts.”
Regardless of whether either of them win or not, the brotherly love is still between the two men as Pete said at the end of the day there is only one winner.
The winner of this episode cannot be revealed at this time due to the episode not being aired yet. But the brothers still shared what they would do if they were the winners of the competition and were able to take home $10,000.
Dany is engaged and said he would use the money to pay for his wedding.
Pete said he would treat his family to an all inclusive vacation. But he said winning would give him the title and bragging rights.
For Pete the bragging rights is what he values. He says this because money will come from somewhere whether he is on the show or not, but getting the title is different.
“(Money) is something that will always come if you work hard and have a job,” Pete said. “The title is a once in a lifetime opportunity where you try to get this title and you have that for the rest of your life and people with money can’t buy that.”
Gaining the title would be valuable to Pete because he said it means that all the training and sacrifice of going to schools far away from home is worth something.
“It’s like getting another diploma or degree or trophy. All this is worth something,” Pete said.
Chopped Canada fans are familiar with what these chefs go through. The challenge is cooking something the judges will like, with unexpected ingredients, in a very short period of time.
This gives the competing chefs no way to prepare for the competition as the ingredients are very random. They have no knowledge of what is inside the box until they open it.
All of these aspects creates for a high intense atmosphere with chefs competing with each other and against the clock, something that can’t easily be done.
But Dany and Pete still managed.
“You have to stay focused and concentrate at all times,” Dany said. “You can’t waste any time and the pressure is really high. You’re in a whole other element because you have$10,000 on the line, your title and your competing with your brother. It’s intense.”
This isn’t the first competition Pete has been in as he was in Sliced Red Deer.
He made it to the final round and this is when he said he felt the pressure kick in.
“I made it to the final round, and I’m like ‘oh my goodness, now there’s pressure’, now I have to win it because I have a chance,” Pete said.
But even with the challenge of cooking on Chopped Canada both brothers look back on the experience fondly.
“The experience was amazing. It’s something I will remember my entire life it’s that amazing,” Dany said.
He said the whole process of everything was amazing. Growing up the brothers would watch TV shows such as the food network and now competing on a TV show, they are the guys that will be on the screen.
“To be that guy, that’s why we can’t wait for everyone to see, and to see ourselves on TV,” Dany said.
Being on that show came with surprises and learning curves as well as excitement.
Dany said what surprised him was not knowing how the doors of opportunity would open to be able to do it.
“It just came along just from the process of what we had been doing,” he said. “All our hard work, more doors just keep opening the harder you work, just because we’ve been doing the restaurant for almost 20 years.”
What he learned from being on that show was how it is okay to take risks and accept challenges.
“It’s ok to challenge yourself and take risks. Experience is a good thing,” Dany said.
Competing on Chopped Canada was one thing Dany said he didn’t think he would do. But he said he loves watching the show and with it being in it’s third season, there is a reason why the show is still around.
“It’s a good show,” he said. “It is challenging with a mystery box of ingredients and how do you prepare for that? You think you’re prepared going in there, but you don’t know until you’re actually in there because the clock doesn’t stop.”
Pete explained how the appetizer round was allotted 20 minutes. 30 minutes were given for making the entrees and 30 minutes for the dessert.
When it comes to making something with the ingredients they give you, it’s not whether you do it or not, you just do it.
“You don’t have a choice, you either succeed or you fail,” Pete said. “You either put stuff on the plate or you don’t. The time isn’t going to stop for anybody.”
Pete said he got the motivation to make something happen by putting his head down and pretending he was dealing with an angry guest in his restaurant where the food was onrush.
“(You just) go from there and pray that it works,” Pete said. “The only difference is that at a restaurant you have practice doing that.”
The biggest challenge within the competition for Pete was battling against himself. This meant overcoming his own speed and technique.
“The most challenging thing is you’re doing it against the clock. That’s the most challenging thing and you have no idea what is in that basket,” Pete said. “It was fun and adventurous stress. It was fantastic.”
He said the only way to prepare for the competition is mentally on how you are going to approach everything.
“You think of it as a lifeline,” Pete said. “You just have to make it work. There’s no other option. You can’t turn back, you have to make it work.”
After rushing to prepare a meal out of unexpected ingredients, both brothers share what it was like to stand in front of the judges and receive both positive and negative feedback on what they made.
“The focus is on you. Watching and knowing some of the judges, it’s a great feeling to have successful judges that are actually chefs themselves give you positive and negative feedback,” Dany said.
“I think it was just an honour to be in the same room with these guys who made the mark for a food network,” Pete said. “I felt honoured just to be right in front of them.
“The feedback they gave was positive and negative. I believe that they were 100 per cent honest based on what they experienced with our food. They gave me feedback like my chefs would in school, it’s an honour.” Pete added.
The episode, ‘Bro-Down Showdown’ is scheduled to air March 26 at 7 p.m. on the Canadian food network.