Alyssa LeBlanc remembers making her parents breakfast in bed during her childhood in Abrams River, Yarmouth County.
“I wasn’t even old enough to write yet so I would take their order by drawling pictures of food on a notepad,” she said.
She’d bring them her food creation, not sure how it actually tasted, but they always pretended to like it.
Little did they know that years later their daughter would be cooking her heart out in Canada’s ultimate culinary competition - MasterChef Canada.
The CTV show offers 18 home cooks a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to demonstrate their skill and passion, as they compete for $100,000 and the title of Canada’s next MasterChef. There are three Nova Scotians on the upcoming season of the show. Aside from LeBlanc there is Jennifer Crawford of Kingston and Jenny Miller of Havre Boucher.
LeBlanc says she had a great childhood, spending most of her time outside, driving her four-wheeler around, playing hockey and every other sport she could get her hands on.
She did a lot of hunting and fishing and played music. She attended Belleville elementary school, Par-en-Bas high school and Universite Sainte-Anne, where she studied to become a government secretary.
She says because she grew up surrounded by wonderful cooks in her family she was naturally always interested in helping and learning from them.
LeBlanc worked at the Municipality of Argyle as an assistant to the director of property inspection and public works and enjoyed it very much. She says she was planning on working there until retirement, but life didn’t go according to plan after her December 2015 accident.
She says she had suffered many concussions in the past from sports, but the one resulting from the crash was a lot more severe.
She ended up with post-concussion syndrome and, at a certain point in her recovery, she ended up in the hospital with severe headaches, unable to tolerate any light.
“I spent my time in the complete darkness with zero stimulation of any kind. I’ve come a long way since then but still suffer from headaches and vision issues,” she said.
She had to quit the career she loved and, because she was no longer able to do all the things she used to love, she directed all her energy into cooking.
“Cooking kept my mind at bay and helped me get through the hard times,” she said.
When she learned about MasterChef Canada, she couldn’t wait to apply.
Her dream is to continue to grow and learn as a cook, and to travel and taste food from around the world.
“Eventually I hope to have a cabin-style restaurant where I serve wild game meat and homegrown produce,” she said.
LeBlanc says she’s done lots of nerve-wracking things in her life, but nothing compares to competing in the MasterChef Canada kitchen.
“I was nervous, yes, but more excited than anything.”
She adds that she is extremely thankful for all the support from everyone in the region and all over Canada.
“I truly appreciate it.”
In each episode of MasterChef Canada, the home cooks have their culinary expertise tested through a series of mystery box challenges, team challenges, and pressure tests, with judges providing direction and feedback throughout the process. At the end of each episode, at least one home cook is eliminated from the competition until only two remain, culminating in a battle during the finale for a chance to take home $100,000 and the title of MasterChef Canada.
When to watch
Filming for the show took place in Toronto last fall and Season 6 of MasterChef Canada kicks off with a special two-hour premiere on Monday, April 8, beginning at 8 p.m. ET on CTV before settling into its regular Mondays at 9 p.m. ET timeslot. Viewers can then stream all episodes anytime on CTV.ca and the CTV app.