GTA man's lasagna takes top prize in recipe contest
Rick Matharu reacts after his recipe received the grand prize on the Food Network show "Recipe to Riches, " in this handout photo. (The Canadian Press/HO-Food Network)
Published Thursday, December 13, 2012 4:17PM EST
TORONTO -- A Brampton, Ont., man is $250,000 richer after his recipe received the grand prize on the Food Network Canada show "Recipe to Riches."
Rick Matharu received the highest number of online votes from Canadians for his Butter Chicken Lasagna on the season finale of the competitive reality series Wednesday night.
"I just want to thank Canada for this amazing opportunity. It's a dream come true for me and it wouldn't be possible without the support of Canada, so thank you," a jubilant Matharu said from his home Thursday.
The field was narrowed down to one finalist in each of seven food categories. Matharu was up against Jason Keary of Nerepis, N.B., with his Honey Cheese Pastries; Victoria's Stephen Childs with his Chipotle Chili Bites; Tracey Rigden of Etobicoke, Ont., with her Dulce de Leche Brownies; Vancouver's Jackie Koh with her Smoky Korean Meatballs; Don Harquail of Burnaby, B.C., with his Golden Toffee Nut Gems; and Cathy Ferguson of Gloucester, Ont., with her Montreal Deli Dip.
Each category winner received $25,000.
Matharu's winning recipe and the other category winners' recipes have been developed into President's Choice products and are available in select Loblaw stores across the country.
The butter chicken lasagna was inspired by the Indian-Canadian fusion dishes he loves to prepare.
Matharu, who was born and raised in Brampton, watched his mother while growing up -- "she's a great cook herself" -- and started cooking about 10 years ago. "I love experimenting in the kitchen. It's like a science lab for me," he said, adding he likes to put his own twist on his mother's recipes.
"For example, if a young kid's growing up and they don't want to eat Indian or Punjabi food I'll figure out a way how you can introduce it to them, just like my mom did, because growing up we didn't always like to eat Indian food and she would always throw it into ordinary cooking and that's how she introduced us to Indian food and that's what I want to do nationwide, for Canada."
Matharu is a photographer, writes a food blog (ricksgoodeats.com) and hosts a radio show with his wife featuring Punjabi-style music known as Bhangra. He hopes to put some of his winnings toward a recently purchased house as well as taking some culinary training.
The show, hosted by former "The Bachelor" star Jesse Palmer, was judged by Laura Calder, host of "French Food at Home"; Tony Chapman, founder and CEO of the advertising agency Capital C; and Dana McCauley, culinary director of Janes Family Foods. Galen Weston, executive chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited, was a guest judge.
The season finale of "Recipe to Riches" is being rebroadcast on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Global TV or it can be viewed online starting Friday at recipetoriches.ca.