In the Canadian reality TV family, Recipe to Riches is the responsible Dockers-clad cousin to the stilleto-wearing, alternatively shrieking and sobbing Bachelor Canada. In true Recipes fashion, the second season promises nothing if not consistency; the judges have all returned, the stakes aren’t any higher (although $250,000 is nothing to sneeze at), the contestants don’t seem any meaner and the dishes seem no more extravagant or risky (OK, butter chicken lasagna does have us a little worried). Even the format is exactly the same. Not that we’re complaining—there’s something to be said about the show’s dastardly integration of product development, marketing and sales (the winning dish shows up on Loblaws shelves the weekend after the show airs). And anyway, the inaugural episode of season two has brought out Recipes’ wild side, relatively speaking. That’s right, desserts are first. Game on.
Let’s start with a spoiler: the winning dessert has mozzarella cheese. It sounds crazy, yes, but Nerepis, New Brunswick’s Jason Keary created a Honey Cheese Tart that’s exactly what you’d think a guy in a metal band (which he is) would do when asked to make a pastry: he took ingredients lying around his house, punched them into a muffin tin, and cooked it. The metalhead approach to pastry helped him in the “batch-up challenge,” too, where contestants make larger quantities of their home recipe. While he wailed away at phyllo, the über-elegant Cherilynn Balachander’s painstaking approach—at one point her team watched her make her classic Battenburg cake by the tablespoon—slowed her kitchen down to a crawl. She loosened up, but it didn’t help: the perfectly checkered, marzipan-covered cakes looked ace but were judged as “very vanilla,” and she was dropped. This left Keary going toe-to-toe with Surrey, B.C.’s Jillianne Niver and her Chocolate Butterscotch Pot de Crème (renamed by her marketing team as Delish de Crème; hey, if you’ve got a blog, you’ve got a brand). The resulting marketing competition was an exercise in contrast: Keary rented a guitar and shredded out a jingle, while Niver’s marketing team suggested a Marie Antoinette–inspired garden party to reflect her delicate puddings (presumably they were thinking of the historically questionable “let them eat cake”). Even though Niver handily won the marketing competition, Keary’s superior batch-up performance won him the day (Laura Calder thought his dessert, which is more or less pastry filled with cream cheese, would make a good snack for some reason). In the end, “guest” judge Galen Weston boiled the standoff down to something classic versus something new, and something new won out.
Best dish that the judges passed on: Maple Dip Muffnuts
Best line: Keary, “I have no idea what I’m doing. At all.”
Number of times host Jesse Palmer said “Prestigious President’s Choice line”: 2
As soon as we got our hands on the box, it was clear that something was amiss. The Honey Cheese Tart, renamed Mini Cheesy Bees’ Nest, has clearly undergone some changes from Keary’s kitchen to its tidy President’s Choice box. We pulled the tray of tarts out of the package, and just as the box promised, the readjustment in size was accompanied by a dollop of mixed berry coulis that dominates each phyllo-cupped tartlet. The mozzarella, the out-there ingredient that wooed the judges, is sparse. “It just tastes like Smuckers,” said one in-office taster, which is actually decent praise if you’re a fan of jam. But it got worse from there: “Oil and jam” was capsule review number two, while another lamented it as a ruined Toaster Strudel. On the show, Calder had praised the tart’s subtle sweetness; we found the coulis-smothered bite more than a little cloying. Sadly, the Nest just kept on giving in the worst way: it left a clammy film behind in all of our throats, and a stomach ache was reported afterward. A quick glance at the nutritional label reveals that a pair of mini tarts packs only 10 fewer calories than a can of Coke. One panelist put it best: “I regret it. I regret eating it.” Sorry Jason.
Perfect Pairing: Toothpaste, swiftly delivered on a toothbrush.
18 thoughts on “Recipe to Riches reviewed, episode 1: Mini Cheesy Bees’ Nest”
My friend Marys recipe for her barbeque jerk chicken bun is not only unique but tastes amazing. She stuffs a meal in her sweet bun. It’s rather incredible. One of the best tasting dish. I hope she won she really deserves it. She wont tell us but she always glows when she talks about it.
Wanted the chocolate butterscotch to win…but thought these might at least be interesting and new. Not at all impressed by the look of the finished product! May as well put Philadelphia and jam in a vol au vent.
I find this shocking that a professional would come up with that lemon dessert. I never tried the chicken but none of the other entries wowed me. Some were just plain bad. The best was the pulled pork but it wasn’t spectacular. I hope this season has some amazing recipes, I don’t care where they come from or who makes them so long as they taste good. That’s the part that seems too much to ask for.
wow. interesting comment above …
Sounds a lot like sour grapes. If the product is good, she met the application requirements, she received the most votes – she should have won. I do not know the winner or the “anonymous” poster. Just enjoy the show.
Enjoy the show, Dianne?
You’ve obviously never seen it. It’s terrible!
Last year I voted for the lemon cake to win and it did and I love it.
I tried the banac main dish, it was terrible even my dog wouldn’t eat it, I took it back and got a refund.
These items are not cheap and I live on a pension can’t afford to waste money on stuff I can’t eat.
This year I went out and bought the bees nest, I was a little diappointed they changed the size and I think the coulie is jam, they were tasty and I enjoyed them, but way too pricey for what you get, I will vote again this year its good entertainment. I also tried the ice cream, last year it was not to my taste i ended up throwing that away.
the pulled pork and the little chicken thingy’s they were just okay, woould buy them again.
I actually love the bees’ nests. They are very tasty!
We bought the bee’s nest-excellent taste! Disappointed in the size, and would loved to have had the peach instead of the berries. But overall it was a hit!
I haven’t tried the Bees nest, but I will go out and try it soon. I am waiting for this years entres. The butter Chicken lasagna sounds sooo good. I would buy that everyday if I could. I love lasagna and I love butter chicken. GO BC LASAGNA !
We tried the cheesy bees’ nest and I was disappointed.
This idea is not new. Actually my family always make this with different ingredints like using jam on mozerlla bread.
Even last year winner the lemon cakes had “can” tasting and it was a big failure.
I love PC products and I try all new stuff but when something is not tasty is winning over other tasty product, I get disappointed and yes frozen food is a big deal to mom student.
Can’t wait to see who wins this year.
I tried the cheesy bites and they are a good play on sweet and savory. I would have liked to see more cheese and less jam. The balance between the 2 was not to my liking. They were a good size for finger food at a gathering.
I enjoyed cheesy bites, have purchased for 3rd time. I love the size,perfect finger food. This is a great show,can’t wait for next product !!!! Even when I dislike product,its fun to share my comments with the rest of Canada. Pls keep comments coming……….
I tried everything last year and voted for the pulled pork, and I plan on doin the same this year. I have tried the bee’s nests and the chilpotle chili slams, and I can say I didnt enjoy either and I am wondering why they are changing the products so much compared to the show. :(
Cheese Bees Nests – liked the cheese taste, wasn’t crazy about the coulis. It just didn’t have a particularly sophisticated taste – more like jam. As with most of the Recipes to Riches products last year, it’s way to expensive. I can’t help but think for $7.99, I can buy all the ingredients, pretty easily make them myself and make 10 times more! I thought most of last year’s recipes were great – the chicken grenades were outstanding (we boutght them over and over) and I thought they’d win – alas, folks voted for the lemon dish which was ok – but again, so simple to make on your own, why in the world would you pay $8.00 for it?
So I bought this product because watching the episode, it looked so fantastic! Got it home, and its very clean PC just didn’t care. My “berry coulis” is just overly sweet jam, spilling out over half of my deformed mini tarts, and barely covering the rest. It tastes exactly the same as a blueberry topped new york cheesecake, that I can buy at most stores.
For $7.99 a box, this product is not worth the money, and wont likely be one I think most people would buy twice.
To bad for Keary, it really ruins what looked like such a great idea.
I’ve watched all episodes of the show so far, and I really wonder why!
I think that all of the “challenges” they make these home cooks compete in are absolutely pointless. They create names and packaging for their products, but PC uses the same package format and charicature style every time anyway.
The time limited batch-up challenge, where the ingredients are supplied, also makes no sense. These people are home cooks, their batch-up won’t be used by PC in the end.
I would rather see more of the eliminations where the competition is the recipe itself competing to get down to being the one chosen instead of a bunch of pointless challenges.
Absolutely LOVED these! Can’t believe there are so many bad reviews. I thought they were delicious – as an appetizer versus a desert. Will buy them again and again!
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