Mount Allison student makes the cut for Masterchef Canada

Katie Tower
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Allison Abernethy selected as top 50 finalist, show begins airing tonight

Mount Allison University Commerce student Allison Abernethy will appear on MasterChef Canada, a reality TV cooking series.

SACKVILLE, N.B. – Masterchef has come to Canada and a Mount Allison University student is vying to be this country’s first-ever winner of the popular TV reality cooking show.

Nineteen-year-old Allison Abernethy was selected as one of the top 50 finalists for the premiere of Masterchef Canada, which begins airing tonight on CTV.

Although she isn’t able to reveal how she fared on the show, Abernethy says the time she spent in Toronto for the competition this fall was “an amazing experience.”

As a second-year student majoring in business and psychology at Mount A, Abernethy had to take a bit of a time-out from school and missed part of the fall term to be on the show; but she says she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” she says. “I just figured, ‘well, university’s always going to be there,’ and this was a chance to follow my dreams and so I thought I would take advantage of that.”

Among the thousands of amateur chefs who applied to be on the show, Abernethy considers herself lucky to have been chosen, particularly because it’s the first season of the Canadian version of Masterchef

“That’s what makes it so exciting for me,” says Abernethy, who is from Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.

Abernethy first heard about the Canadian auditions from her sister, who had caught wind about the tryouts while watching the US Masterchef series last spring.

Deciding she had nothing to lose by sending in an application, Abernethy filled out the online form and sent it in at around 10 a.m. one morning. By noon, she had gotten a call back from the show. She then proceeded to undergo a lengthy phone interview. Producers said she would be contacted later on but she had no idea how she had done.

And so, the waiting game began.

Just over two weeks later, she received another phone call, this time inviting her to attend an Eastern audition in Halifax, where she had the opportunity to present a dish and plate it in front of the judges. She left those auditions once again with no idea how she’d fared, just that she would be contacted “later on.”

It was at the end of August, while she was on vacation with family, that she finally got the call she had been anticipating.

“They told me I was going to be in the top 50 of Masterchef Canada,” she says. “It was definitely one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt. It was the call I was waiting for all summer.”

She then headed out to Toronto several weeks later, one of only three Atlantic Canadians to have made it in the top 50 and the youngest contestant on this year’s show. Abernethy says it was not only “an amazing opportunity to serve dishes to well-renowned chefs” but she was also thrilled to have met so many other people from the show who “share the same passion and have the same dreams you have.”

Having developed a love of cooking at a young age, mostly from an obsession with food television, Abernethy says she loves to make dishes with a focus on local and seasonal ingredients.

 “I’ve always been fortunate to have great farmers’ markets in my communities and grew up with access to my grandmother’s extensive garden. She taught me a lot about cooking. She always taught be about using stuff right out of your backyard, you can’t get more local than that.”

Abernethy has plans to head to culinary school one day, and hopes to mix her business degree and love of cooking into opening her own restaurant.


About MasterChef

The original MasterChef is a BBC television competitive cooking show. It initially ran from 1990 to 2001 and was later revived in 2005.

The series now appears in four versions. They include: the main MasterChef series, MasterChef for working chefs, Celebrity MasterChef, and Junior MasterChef for nine- to 12-year-olds.

The show’s format has been exported around the world and is now produced in more than 40 countries. The Jan. 20 program marks the premiere of the show in Canada.


Abernethy will watch tonight’s premiere surrounded by friends and family at a special event at Mount Allison’s campus pub, The Pond. The premiere party will start at 9 p.m.


Organizations: Mount Allison University, US Masterchef, BBC

Geographic location: Canada, Toronto, Nova Scotia Annapolis Valley Halifax

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