Chef Lucy Morrow prepares a dish for Top Chef Canada photo credit: Food Network Canada

TOP CHEF CANADA COMPETITOR FROM PEI

Chef Lucy Morrow will compete on Food Network’s reality cooking show

Chef Lucy Morrow is good at keeping secrets. Really good. She’s been keeping a big one for months but the cat is out of the bag finally. She can now add Top Chef Canada to her resume.

“I’ve always been a fan of competitive reality TV,” Morrow said. And when a friend who was in his late 20s competed in Top Chef Canada last season, she set herself a goal to get on the show before she was his age. As luck or serendipity or fate would have it, last summer a story producer from Top Chef Canada direct-messaged Morrow on her Instagram account, sending her the application for the show.

Just 26 years old when the show was filmed, Morrow is one of the youngest to compete in the reality cooking competition, which will begin its new season on the Food Network this April. At the time of the show’s tapings, she was the Executive Chef of Terre Rouge in Charlottetown, which makes her the first ever chef to represent PEI in the competition.

“One of my favorite things has always been to represent where I’m from. So that was really exciting for me,” Morrow said. “I kind of enjoy being, ‘this is where I’m from, this is what I’m about, this is part of who I am’ [in] representing the Maritimes.”

In fact, overall, the Atlantic provinces have been largely underrepresented in the show’s eight seasons, with only 11 of the 110 competitor chefs hailing from our region. There are two other Maritime chefs in the competition this year: one from Halifax, NS and the other from St John’s NL.

One of 12 competitors, Morrow is also one of five women competing for the title of Top Chef Canada, making this eighth season the second-closest the competition has come to gender equality in the kitchen since it started in 2011. 

Being a chef who also happens to be a woman does not really register on Morrow’s radar. When asked about gender equality and the Top Chef Canada competition, she said, “I hope that as the show progresses, it’s less of a topic of conversation because it is so normal and I think we are getting there.”

For those unfamiliar with the reality cooking show format, the competing chefs are set various challenges each episode, preparing a variety of dishes under strict timelines. There are judges who sample and critique each of the dishes, and one by one, chefs are eliminated from the competition. Stepping in front of the judges is an intimidating process.

“The stakes are high,” Morrow explained. “It was really just all about me executing the best food that I could possibly do.”

She recalled that as she was cooking in the competition her creativity came to the forefront, “This is me, and this is my creativity, and this is my vision […] and a real opportunity to showcase what I wanted to with no stipulations […] when I can just really have full creativity and just go and hope that the judges are into it.”

The experience of being on the show has opened Morrow up to new challenges. She is blunt about her ambitions, “I’m a big goal setter. And there’s some specific things I want to do before I am 30,” she said. “I’d like to be a Hawksworth scholar. And I’d like to compete a lot.”

Established in 2012, the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship is open to Canadian chefs under the age of 30 who compete for a $10,000 prize in the kitchen. 

Beyond competing, Morrow has a passion for Canada’s food and feels a responsibility to advocate for it. “I think my goal with cooking is just to be ingrained with the Canadian culinary scene and be able to have a positive impact in just whatever way I can.” 

Reflecting on her experience with competing on Top Chef Canada, Morrow came to the realization that she has much more to learn.

Chef Lucy Morrow is one of 12 competitors from across Canada
Photo credit: Food Network Canada

“The big thing that I learned about myself on Top Chef was that, you know, I’ve been in a position in my career where I’ve been the chef for almost all of it,” she said, “And I’m at a point where I need somebody else to mentor me and teach me what they know and get skills from somebody else.”

Looking ahead to new challenges, Morrow is working on her next career move. True to her ability to keep secrets, just who that mentor will be is still under wraps. But she’s ready to put in the work to succeed and can’t wait to get going.

“Because I know that if I want to do something really impactful and really special in the industry, I’m going to have to work for it. And I don’t think I would have the opportunities I have had if I didn’t work as hard as I have worked.”

About Cheryl Young

A “Jill of all trades” describes Cheryl to a T. From operating her own handyperson company, to selling luxury cars, to working as a film and TV crew member, her resume is diverse. But her dream as a kid was to be a journalist and she started down that path many years ago at CBC Charlottetown. Returning to her journalism roots, she’s excited to be editing Salty’s content and occasionally writing herself.

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