Ok, so host Jesse Palmer didn’t exactly loosen up like we hoped he would last week. And sure, the show didn’t really get any less formulaic this time around (every episode does proceed the exact same way as the last, so what do you expect?). But, curmudgeons that we are, we have to admit that last night’s episode of Recipe to Riches, the entrée challenge, was probably the best. We had three compelling contestants, each of whom was pretty serious about their dish. And each of those dishes was in turn at least plausible as a winner. So this being the final challenge, it’s fair to say the show is going out on something like a high (if it comes back next year, however, the producers are going to have to learn how to mix things up a bit from episode to episode). After the jump, our regular recap and tasting panel.
This week’s winner was North Vancouver investment advisor and barbecue enthusiast Robert Luft, whose recipe was for a 15-hour smoked pulled pork. Or maybe a pork bun. Or perhaps it was a line of products with the frozen pulled pork as the anchor. This was never quite clear. On his way to victory, he first bested Montreal’s Scott Usheroff, who brought an off-the-bone braised lamb shank with some risotto-style orzo. Sadly for Usheroff, he cooks like most home cooks do: by feel. As his recipe started going south during the batch-up challenge, he began making all sorts of ad hoc additions, much to the consternation of his professional helper Maggie McKeown. The judges decided to turf him out for having a recipe that just wasn’t precise enough to be scaled up commercially, leaving Luft and Burnaby’s Eva Fong,an aspiring recipe developer. Fong’s lobster mac-and-cheese looked quite delicious (as do most lobster mac-and-cheeses); however, she made two unfortunate decisions during the marketing challenge. First, following the dubious advice of the experts at Quizative Marketing Group, she renamed her dish “Three-Cheese Pasta With Lobster” (with “Lobster” almost illegible on the packaging) because that was somehow more upmarket. Second, she decided to promote her product by setting up a pop-up restaurant in Metro Centre, which fell apart like so many restaurant-war challenges on Top Chef. So despite a somewhat dubious, cigar-smoking logo for his Bobby’s Slo and Low, Luft won the day, and perpetual guest judge Galen Weston Jr. couldn’t have been more excited, gushing that pulled pork is “one of the best protein trends out there.”
The first disappointment with this week’s winner was with the branding: instead of Bobby’s Slo and Low, we got Slow and Low Pulled Pork, with the usual Recipe to Riches cartoon on the front. And after we saw the judges repeatedly castigating Luft for not selling his pork as a topping that could just as easily go on nachos or fries as in a sandwich, the only serving suggestion in the PC version is, yes, on a bun. We also have to admit that out of the box, this was one of the least appetizing winners—the two logs of frozen pork resemble, to put it charitably, something you might feed your dog. And the meat itself? Heavily sauced and very sweet, with barely a trace of the promised 12-hour smoke. One eater pointed out that it didn’t taste that different from something you’d throw in a slow cooker in the morning, although another thought it would be a no-fuss way to throw together a quick appetizer if she were having carnivores over. For our tasting, we served the meat on mini-buns with a helping of coleslaw (both of which were procured from a local Metro—sorry Galen!). After looking at the box, one person made the astute observation that the meat sort of tasted like a cartoon. The telling detail: after their tasting portion, five panel members helped themselves to a second sandwich—made with only coleslaw and a bun. See how we put it all together in our box-to-plate gallery »
Starting December 7, viewers will have two days to cast their vote for their favourite Recipe to Riches dish at recipetoriches.ca. On December 14, Food Network Canada will air the finale special announcing the winner of the $250,000 grand prize.
(Images: Luft and homemade pulled pork, Food Network Canada; tasting images, Andrew D’Cruz)
18 thoughts on “Recipe to Riches Reviewed: Episode 7, Slow and Low Pulled Pork”
PC actually released lobster mac and cheese with the most recent Insider’s Report. Coincidence?
i am sure all the recipes become the property of loblaws regardless of whether they win or lose
Hey now, if the Lobster mac and cheese lost….yet PC still put it out there….isn’t that dirty pool. Jip the contestant out of 25 grand, say that it’s not good enough to go on the shelves, then put it on the shelves and reap the finacial rewards of selling it. Come on now. Again, Dirty Pool!!!
it wouldn’t be the first time…but i know that i’ve seen recipe contests (betty crocker, bake-offs and the like) and the fine print says that all submissions become the property of blah, blah, blah
Either she wins the prize (25g’s and hit the shelves) or she doesn’t. How can they put it on the shelf and keep their money in their jeans. Ugly suff. I just feel bad for the contestant. What a kick in the teeth. Loblaw should know better, and it’s really bad PR for PC.
for the opportunity of entering the contest you must reveal in entirety your ingredients and the process you use to create the product and in doing so you surrender all rights in perpetuity to it.
here is the actual clause
“If Applicant considers their Recipe a trade secret or otherwise wishes to keep their Recipe or any ingredient, element or idea therein confidential they should not participate in this Competition or submit a Recipe. By submitting a Recipe in connection with the Competition, Applicants acknowledge and agree that such submission constitutes public disclosure of the Recipe. There is no obligation of confidentiality or fiduciary duty to any Applicant by any Competition Entity in respect of the Recipe submitted by an Applicant. A third party, including, without limitation, any Competition Entity may reproduce, display, publish, exhibit, develop, manufacture, market, sell or distribute a recipe or product which is or may appear similar or identical to Applicant’s Recipe or any elements or ideas contained therein. Applicant understands and agrees that such third party and Competition Entity has an independent legal right to do so.”
Thanks for the disclaimer above, now I know how they get away with it!! Business is Business!
Having seen the PC Lobster Mac & Cheese in the Loblaw’s freezer section, it was pretty obvious from the start that Eva was not going to win this one. No suspense there. My guess is that Galen and the product development group at Loblaw’s liked the idea so much that they didn’t want to wait until the show aired to put the product out and they didn’t want to take the chance that the produce might lose in the voting. They wanted to ensure that the product would make it onto the market and stay on their shelves. The only way to do that is to market it themselves, separate from the t.v. show. That’s all well and good but I hope that Galen had the decency to pay Eva at least the $25k, if not $100k, for the idea and the recipe, even if legally he didn’t have to.
Again something most people have had at your local gut truck. Nothing new and lacks originality that I thought this contest was shooting for. Sweet even with a coleslaw topping. Once again, you but the product then head to the bakery to finish it off…thought the concept was everything would be in the box…pulled pork is everywhere, and I make a good one at home myself…why why why Galen !
I bought that PC Lobster I Mac before I knew about the competition. It was the worst product I have ever tasted from President’s Choice. It could not have been the same recipe that Eva did as it was just so bad – I do think they liked the idea of lobster and mac and made their own recipe.
Eva Fong’s recipe for Lobster Macaroni and Cheese is up on the HGTV website.
Her recipe only calls for 3 types of cheese – Gruyere, Mascarpone and Fontina. The version on Loblaws’ shelves lists Gruyere, Mascarpone, Parmesan and Pecorino Romano.
Anyone care to compare the two?
pc already has lobster mac and cheese,
You know who else has lobster mac and cheese? Countless restaurants across North America, and foodnetwork.ca (google “lobster mac and cheese” and Michael Smith’s recipe comes up on the first page). Accusing Loblaws of swiping the idea for lobster mac and cheese from this contestant is a bit like accusing Loblaws of stealing the idea for their chocolate chip cookies from Chips Ahoy.
In any case, why anyone would consider buying a lobster pasta that you can nuke in the microwave is beyond me.
they advertise existing products in the Insider’s Report all the time … The PC Dine in Tonight lobster mac & cheese was already on the shelves last summer (it was ok) – not sure when they started casting & filming the show. plus, as TM said, it’s not a new idea in the least …
sounds like President’s Choice is looking for a Wow recipe no matter who wins or loses – whether anybody gets a dime or not – just to boost their profits – not good.
loved watching the show,gives normal everyday home cooks (like myself)their 15 mins.& a chance to make some decent money.as a self confessed foodie who delights in entertaining my friends over a good meal & a few drinks I could relate.I have one big problem though,I cannot vote,as much as I would like to,reason? my local presidents choice outlet did not carry any of the winning recipes so I was unable to purchase & try them.mr weston please note & thanks for the entertainment.
Almost none of these comments were about the pulled pork LOL. That says a lot about the product! I too wouldn’t buy this as making pulled pork is easy to do.
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