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

myles@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During our recent conversation, John Nicholson showed me snapshots of his time working on the Yukon riverboats 70 years ago. (Michael Gates)
History Hunter: Yukon man relives the riverboat days after seven decades

John Nicholson took summer work on Yukon steamers in the 1950s

A cyclist rides along the Millenium Trail in downtown Whitehorse on a frigid Feb. 9. Whitehorse city council has passed the first two readings of an e-bike bylaw that would designate how e-bike riders can use city trails. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
First two readings passed on Whitehorse e-bike bylaw

Delegate calls on city to consider age restrictions and further regulations

Whitehorse City Hall at its Steele Street entrance. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Change of plans approved for city hall

Project would see 1966 city hall demolished

A city map shows the property at 107 Range Road. The zoning is now in place for developers to proceed with plans for a Dairy Queen drive-thru. If plans proceed on schedule the new restaurant is anticipated to open in October. (Cyrstal Schick/Yukon News)
October opening eyed for Dairy Queen

Will depend on everything going according to plan

NDP candidate Annie Blake, left, and Liberal incumbent Pauline Frost. (Submitted photos)
Official recount confirms tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin riding

Both candidates Pauline Frost and Annie Blake are still standing with 78 votes each

Joel Krahn/joelkran.com Hikers traverse the Chilkoot Trail in September 2015. Alaska side.
The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer

The Canadian side of the Chilkoot Trail will open for summer Parks… Continue reading

A bulldozer levels piles of garbage at the Whitehorse landfill in January 2012. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Rural dump closures and tipping fees raise concern from small communities

The government has said the measures are a cost-cutting necessity

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: Hands of Hope, the quilt of poppies

Toilets are important Ed. note: Hands of Hope is a Whitehorse-based non-profit… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at city council matters for the week of April 12

École Whitehorse Elementary Grade 7 students Yumi Traynor and Oscar Wolosewich participated in the Civix Student Vote in Whitehorse on April 12. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Yukon Student Vote chooses Yukon Party government; NDP take popular vote

The initiative is organized by national non-profit CIVIX

Yvonne Clarke is the newly elected Yukon Party MLA for Porter Creek Centre. (Submitted/Yukon Party)
Yvonne Clarke elected as first Filipina MLA in the Yukon Legislative Assembly

Clarke beat incumbent Liberal Paolo Gallina in Porter Creek Centre

Emily Tredger at NDP election night headquarters after winning the Whitehorse Centre riding. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Emily Tredger takes Whitehorse Centre for NDP

MLA-elect ready to get to work in new role

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Two new cases of COVID-19 variant identified in territory

“If variants were to get out of control in the Yukon, the impact could be serious.”

Most Read