A B.C. chef has done it again. Matthew Stowe of Cloverdale won Top Chef Canada season 3, following in the footsteps of season 1 winner Dale MacKay and season 2 runner-up Trevor Bird. At the end of tonight's (June 10) finale episode on Food Network Canada, Stowe beat out Quebec's Danny Smiles to take the top prize.
The Cactus Club Café product development chef was raised in Surrey and received his training at New York's Culinary Institute of America. He nabbed the last spot to compete against Smiles and Ontario's Jonathan Goodyear in the three-person finale after nearly being eliminated on last week's episode. During tonight's finale, filmed in Calgary for the first time, Goodyear was eliminated during the first challenge—which had the chefs whipping up food cart-style dishes. Stowe made two types of tacos and earned a spot in the final challenge.
To determine a winner, Stowe and Smiles were asked to each create a five-course menu that best represented who they were. Previous Top Chef winners MacKay and Carl Heinrich—who was born in Sooke but works in Toronto—joined the final two competitors as sous chefs. Stowe, who worked with Heinrich, mainly stuck with fish and seafood dishes—except for a Mediterranean-style lamb dish right before a deconstructed s'more for dessert.
Smiles, who was assigned MacKay, highlighted his Montreal and Egyptian roots by using maple syrup, Middle Eastern spices, and foie gras. The judges, which included regulars Mark McEwan, Shereen Arazm, host Lisa Ray, as well as guest judge Connie DeSousa—a Calgary chef and Top Chef season 1 finalist—enjoyed the flavours in Smiles's dishes, but were consistently wowed by Stowe's elegant presentation.
In the end, Stowe, who demonstrated precision and consistency throughout the competition, was ultimately declared the winner, and was greeted by his wife and son during the announcement. Stowe has won a $100,000 prize and a kitchen valued at $30,000—and, of course, the title of "Top Chef Canada".