Cooking is a passion for Jacqueline Clark. While her profession is an accountant for the District of Mission, her real joy comes from creating in the kitchen.
Now Clark is putting her talents to the ultimate test.
Clark is a Top 40 contestant on the popular CTV program MasterChef Canada and has a chance, this weekend, to move forward by qualifying for one of the Top 14 spots.
While she enjoys many cooking shows, Clark said she was “obsessed” with the U.S. version of MasterChef.
“I always wished I could apply for it because I’m generally a fairly competitive person, and I like to challenge myself, and I love cooking.”
When a Canadian version of the show was created, she knew it was something she “needed to do.”
Clark tried out last year, but just missed qualifying. This year was a different story.
For her audition, she created a five spice pork belly with crispy skin, as well as beets and onions done three different ways.
It was enough to convince show producers to put her through to the Top 40.
Last week, episode one MasterChef premiered with 40 cooks competing for 14 spots into the next round.
For her dish, Clark prepared coriander chicken with carrots and blackberries. She didn’t win, but didn’t lose either.
“I received a maybe,” she explained, meaning she gets a second chance, this week, to prove she belongs on the show.
Clark will now participate in a televised challenge on Sunday to try and secure her spot in the Top 14.
“I have confidence in myself,” she said calling her style of meal preparation as “country cooking.”
“I like to have a meat, a starch and a veg on every plate because those are the kinds of meals my parents gave me growing up. But I like to make them look prettier or try new proteins like duck or lamb.”
She said one of the more difficult aspects of appearing on the show is getting used to lights and cameras all around.
“It’s completely surreal. It’s just the oddest experience and the most wonderful experience you could ever have.”
And meeting other home cooks who are just as passionate about food as she is has been a treat for the local woman.
“You can sit in a room with these people for eight hours and talk about food and not get bored.”
As for meeting the celebrity judges –Alvin Leung, Michael Bonacini and Claudio Aprile – Clark said it was a dream come true.
“You kind of get the idea that people on TV aren’t real people, and you get to meet them, and they’re nice.”
Episode two of MasterChef Canada is on Sunday night at 7 p.m. on CTV.