January 10, 2014 7:29 pm
Updated: January 10, 2014 8:51 pm

Small town chef competes in the big city

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Every dish is created with a little bit of passion.

“It makes it not just cooking. I don’t what to sound cheesy but it’s an expression of yourself”, says Kieth Carlson, chef and owner of Roy’s Place Restaurant

His dream to own his own restaurant came true five years ago.

Roy’s Place is a family restaurant along the main highway in Claresholm, a town of just under 4,000 people in Southern Alberta.

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Knowing almost every customer on a first name basis, Carlson enjoys his small town restaurant, but is eager to heat things up in the big city.

“I got an email that said you have been chosen for Chopped.”

Chopped Canada is a cooking show based in Toronto. Four chefs go head to head each episode, vying for a $10,000 pay cheque.

“You get a basket with four mystery ingredients in it, and you open up that box and try not to panic”, says Carlson.

Carlson is a red seal chef with small town roots, growing up just down the street from his restaurant, but he’s more than ready to bring some flavour to the competition.

“The perception is that you might be the underdog because of where you come from, if you are able to prove them wrong- the underdog goes ahead,” says Carlson.

From a small town or not, competing at such a high calibre isn’t just about the payout, one of the biggest rewards is the exposure.

“The audience that it’s reaching is huge. Food TV has been good for exposure to chefs, and making it that much more closer to home, makes it even better,” says Program Chair of Culinary Careers at Lethbridge College, Doug Overes.

Now the wait is on, and Carlson will be “chopping” down the days until his episode airs in March on Food Network Canada.

Carlson competed against two chefs from Toronto and one from Vancouver.

Calgary chef’s Paul Mcgreevy and Mike Batke are also competing this season.

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