Canwest orders Top Chef Canada

Top Chef is one of the most popular series on the Food Network, and now fans will get to watch their country's own culinary masters compete in the Canadian version, ordered for Spring 2011.

Canadian chefs can start preparing their game for the Quickfire Challenge as Canwest Broadcasting yesterday announced the production of Top Chef Canada. To be developed for the Food Network by Toronto-based Insight Production, Top Chef will premiere next spring with a prominent online presence in the lead-up to the launch, says Leslie Merklinger, director of original production, Food Network.

‘Casting announcements will be online and there’ll be lots of web-only exclusive content, the details of which we’re just brainstorming right now,’ Merklinger tells MiC.

The reality competition pits professional chefs against each other in a series of culinary challenges. Their creations are judged on taste, presentation and how well they follow the instructions before a weekly elimination round. It is this challenge-based format that lends well to integrated sponsors within each episode, according to a Canwest spokesperson. The network is also looking for marquee series sponsors and prize sponsors.

Top Chef, which is owned by NBC Universal and targets adults aged 25 to 54, has consistently ranked in the Food Network’s top 10 programs since launching in Canada in 2006. The debut of Top Chef Vegas broke a ratings record last year, says Merklinger.

‘The culinary landscape of this country is so exciting,’ she says, adding that, given the popularity of the program, ‘it seems to me like no-brainer to do a Canadian version.’