CBC’s Recipe to Riches just debuted its current season last night, and we’ve already had the chance to catch up with Jesse Meredith, who won the first challenge on the hot-shot show. Crafty, aren’t we? Find out more about the aspiring at-home cook in today’s Tastemaker Q&A…
Give us a snippet about you. What should people know?
Hi! My name is Jesse, I’m a recent Simon Fraser University grad and I am a serious food lover. I’m a stage actor by trade and I absolutely love to bake! If I could have dinner with one celebrity it would probably be Burt Reynolds; the man has one serious moustache.
What was your experience on Recipe to Riches like?
My experience on Recipe to Riches has been one of discovery. I’ve learned so many new things about baking, product development, and certainly about myself! From the very first audition to witnessing my episode on television, I feel this is all quite surreal to see my recipe go from something I used to make for my sister, to something you can buy across Canada.
What was the first thing that came to your mind when your name was announced as the winner?
When they first called my name, my heart definitely dropped – not fully realizing it was actually me that had won! When I realized it was my name they called, I’ll fully admit my first reaction was, “I can’t wait to tell Mom!”
How did you come up with your Recipe to Riches winning recipe?
I actually first made these cheesecakes for my sister. My sister unfortunately has a pretty debilitating health condition; one part of her illness is that she has a hard time ingesting a lot of foods. My sister definitely has a sweet tooth for cheesecake! I made my cheesecakes bite-sized so she could more easily indulge in one of her favourite eats.
What were the biggest challenges and best rewards about being a part of the show?
The biggest challenge by far was the pressure of creating 500 cheesecake bites in 3 hours; that portion was absolutely nuts! One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had was sharing my product with the Toronto public on Queen West and getting so much positive feedback from it. I was really proud to have created something that so many people could enjoy.
What are you most excited about for the future?
Recipe to Riches has been so exciting, such a whirlwind, something I’ve been so lucky to be a part of! I’m most excited to settle down for a moment and enjoy some time with my family. One day I’d love to turn my passion for baking into a career, as I find baking so fulfilling.
Can you give any tips to home chefs who aspire to be as successful as yourself?
Coming up with my recipe took dozens of different combinations until I finally got the flavours and textures I desired. So my one advice to everyone is just play, have fun, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Baking isn’t the exact science everyone works it out to be. Trust me, it’s not as scary as it seems!
Outside of your winning dish, what is your favourite food?
My boyfriend and I absolutely love Greek food! So if I could just pick one dish, it would definitely be some chicken souvlaki, Greek salad, pita, tzatziki and all the fixings.
Finish this sentence. I love Toronto because…
…of its diversity. People’s differences aren’t just tolerated here, they’re celebrated!
What are three things you can’t live without?
Good food, bowties, and my moustache trimmer!
What are some of your favourite restaurants and why?
I really enjoy smaller joints, ones where owners really take pride in their cooking. The last time I was in Toronto my boyfriend showed me this little pizzeria on Gloucester Street called Olympic 76. Trust me, you’ll love it!
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with all your globe-trotting?
I’ve recently been sharing a lot of recipes, videos and blog entries online. You can find me here, or if you’d prefer the twitterverse, @JesseWalkerM.
Can’t wait for the next episode? We feel you! Don’t forget to tune in every Wednesday night at 9pm to catch Recipe for Riches!
What did you think of last night’s episode? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.