The heat is on

When the Young family drove to Haines, Alaska in the summer of 1990, they had little idea of the impact the trip would one day have on their son.

When the Young family drove to Haines, Alaska in the summer of 1990, they had little idea of the impact the trip would one day have on their son.

It was that July, at the annual Southeast Alaska State Fair, that seven-year old Nathan first discovered a fondness for fish and chips.

“In the three days we were there I must have had it 50 times,” he said.

Almost 25 years later, it inspired him to come up with a fish and chips recipe of his own, one that would ultimately land him a spot on season two of MasterChef Canada.

The 31-year-old Toronto resident, whose day job is in marketing for a men’s grooming company, is one of 49 finalists vying to be crowned Canada’s next top chef.

It’s a varied bunch. Other finalists range from a rural veterinarian to a bartender to a tax officer.

Growing up in Whitehorse, Young spent a lot of time in kitchens around the city.

His father, a cook, plied his trade at Trails North, the Gold Rush Inn and the Chilkoot Trail Inn, among other places.

“I saw how hard he worked and how passionate he was, it really inspired me,” Young said.

“Cooking has always been in my family. It’s always sort of been a hobby of mine and it’s probably only in the past few years that I’ve started taking it more seriously.”

When Young moved from the Yukon to Toronto at age 21, he was soon exposed to a wide variety of cuisines and foods he’d never tasted before. “I didn’t eat a Jamaican patty until I was in my 20s. Down here, that’s what all the high school kids eat.”

Young discovered Korean food, and barbecue in particular, which became his favourite cuisine.

Kimchi, a spicy cabbage served with almost every Korean meal, is one of the foods Young learned to love.

“It smells like a used sock but once you start eating it, you just want more,” he said.

Young has a friend who took part in season one of the television show and who encouraged him to try out for it.

He told him it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and there was no sense in having any regrets.

After Young auditioned for a culinary team in Toronto last year, he received a call from the MasterChef Canada producers a few months later telling him he’d been accepted on the show.

Then, he auditioned for a panel of judges – Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung, and Claudio Aprile – and made the cut.

Although he can’t reveal too many details about the show itself, he said he was surprised by the level of competition from his peers.

“A lot of people took time off to study with a professional chef,” he said.

“I’m just a guy from the Yukon who likes to cook for his wife. It was one of the most challenging but also rewarding things I’ve done in my life.

“It was an amazing experience and I met some great people there.”

With the show behind him, Young said he isn’t sure about whether he wants to make a career out of cooking.

If the opportunity presented itself, it’s something he’d seriously consider, he said.

The series kicks off on Sunday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. on CTV.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

Just Posted

Yukon well represented in Olympic ski relays

‘It’s always rewarding when you’re racing for a team’

Yukon government launches new website and logo

Opposition slams $500K project cost as a waste

Former Whitehorse gas station employee sues over alleged sexual harassment, assault

Susan Lynn Keleher alleges there was a ‘campaign’ of sexual harassment and assault against her

Tagish dog rescue owner says she’s euthanized 10 dogs

Shelley Cuthbert said she put down 10 dogs after surrendering them to the animal health unit Feb. 15

Capstone prepares to sell Yukon’s Minto mine

‘We’re not buying this thing to close it down’

Most Canadians believe journalism plays critical role in democracy: poll

Survey suggests 94 per cent of Canadians feel journalism plays ‘important’ part

Team Yukon has strong showing at Whistler Super Youth and Timber Tour

‘Anwyn absolutely destroyed the competition’

Yukon skier turns in personal best at Junior World Championships

‘It was another great international racing experience’

Yukon child care deal to fund grandparents, courses for caregivers

‘How this is completely going to look, we’re still working on’

Full house for annual Native Bonspiel in Haines Junction

The 36th annual Yukon Native Bonspiel from Feb. 2 to 4 saw… Continue reading

Everything you need to know about wind chill

An Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist breaks down the winter value

The Fortymile was a dangerous river

Many miners died trying to traverse dangerous currents

Does the colour of your vehicle say something about your personality?

Red is flashy, black is sophisticated, blue is for wallflowers. Or so the thinking goes

Most Read