Food Fight! THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW's Search for Its Next Cooking Expert Returns, March 24-28 on CTV

- Following a nationwide search, six hopefuls from Grand Falls, N.L., Calgary, Alta., and Toronto, Ont. take part in daily on-air challenges to become official cooking expert for Canada's #1 lifestyle series -

- Celebrity chef Christine Cushing returns as lead judge, alongside guest judges Rocco DiSpirito, Lynn Crawford, MASTERCHEF CANADA's Michael Bonacini, and MASTERCHEF Season 3 winner Christine Ha; Rob Feenie to act as mentor -

- Maple Leaf Foods Inc. returns as official sponsor with Chef Shannon as guest judge -

- Viewers can vote online for their favourite chef at Marilyn.ca -

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TORONTO, March 18, 2014 /CNW/ - CTV's THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW announced today the return of its annual viewer favourite "Search for the Next MARILYN Expert" series. Following a nation-wide search, six incredibly skilled cooks are set to battle it out in a week-long (March 24-28) series of intense culinary challenges. Then, on March 28, Canada's undisputed queen of daytime, Marilyn Denis will crown the show's next cooking expert live on THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW. THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW airs live Monday-Friday at 10 a.m. ET on CTV, CTV.ca, and the CTV GO app, and then again at 11 a.m. ET on CTV Two, CTV.ca, and the CTV GO app, and on demand at Marilyn.ca and the CTV GO app.

To help choose the next cooking expert, Marilyn calls on some of the world's leading and influential celebrity chefs, including MARILYN resident chef Christine Cushing, who returns as lead judge, and guest judges Michael Bonacini (MASTERCHEF CANADA, Oliver & Bonacini), Rocco DiSpirito (Now Eat This!, The Pound A Day Diet), Lynn Crawford (TOP CHEF MASTERS), and MASTERCHEF Season 3 winner Christine Ha. Plus, Canadian chef Rob Feenie (IRON CHEF AMERICA) acts as a mentor in the series' final challenge (March 27), set to take place on location in Vancouver. Feenie and the two remaining finalists take a culinary road trip to B.C. and go crab fishing in Horseshoe Bay and shopping at Granville Island Public Market. Viewers can also help pick the winner by voting online for their favourite hopeful at Marilyn.ca.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. returns for the second year in a row as official sponsor of "The Search for the Next Marilyn Cooking Expert", which also features Maple Leaf Foods Chef Shannon as an additional guest judge on each of the challenges. The finalists will cook and prepare dishes with Maple Leaf Foods Inc.'s leading consumer brands, including Maple Leaf Natural Selections Bacon and Maple Leaf Prime Chicken. The initiative kicks-off the second 52-week partnership with Maple Leaf Foods Inc., which also includes regular in-show segments.

**Media Note** Download photos for THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW at BellMediaPR.ca.

Back for a third time, MARILYN's "Search for the Next MARILYN Expert" series has become a fan favourite. Last year's Next Expert Search delivered the daytime series' second-highest rated episode (Feb. 18, 2013) of the series, with total viewers, A18-49, and A25-54.

THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW is the top Canadian lifestyle program this season with total viewers and the key adult and female demos.

This year's six Canadian hopefuls vying for the top spot as MARILYN's next cooking expert are:

Rodney Bowers, 38
(Grand Falls, N.L.)
Occupation: Chef and Restaurateur
Signature Dish: Braised and Decadent Meat Dish
Fun Facts: Started working in a local pizzeria at age 13 and opened multiple restaurants with different styles, working all over the world from Newfoundland to Germany, Belgium, England, New York, and Toronto; has cooked and catered for Prime Ministers, a President, and Hollywood's top A-list celebrities.

Connie DeSousa, 29
(Calgary, Alta.)
Occupation: Chef and Restaurateur
Signature Dish: Bone Marrow with Escargot and Pig-Head Mortadella
Fun Facts: Earned a Le Cordon Bleu Paris certificate in Ottawa; competed for Alberta in the 2004 World Culinary Olympics; worked in five star restaurants and hotels in Germany and California; deboned a pig's head in record time during the 2013 Terroir Symposium.

Matt Binkley, 37
(Toronto, Ont.)
Occupation: Private Chef
Signature Dish: A Mean 24 oz. Steak
Fun Facts: Went to University to become a doctor, before dropping out to work all over the world, from the Arctic to Asia and in between, cooking for the likes of the Prince of Monaco and Kevin O'Leary; has a degree in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Sciences; cooked up narwhal, arctic char, seal, caribou, and muskox while at the North Pole.

Daniel Janetos, 28
(Toronto, Ont.)
Occupation: Chef and Food Entrepreneur
Signature Dish: Crème Brûlée
Fun Facts: Former football player; has worked in the kitchens of Toronto's Royal York and Hazelton hotels and in high-end restaurants in London, England; has a line of Crème Brûlée products.

Stephanie Clairmont, 31
(Waterloo, Ont.)
Occupation: Culinary Dietitian
Signature Dish: Quick, 15-minute recipes, including Pasta with Fresh Homemade Sauce
Fun Facts: Delivers workshops for dieticians all over Canada; completed culinary training in 2011 to add to her Master's Degree in Health Science from the University of Toronto; volunteered to cook for Girl Scouts while at University of Guelph and teaches cooking classes in her community.

Vijaya Selvaraju, 27
(Scarborough, Ont.)
Occupation: Food Blogger
Signature Dish: Moroccan Meatballs
Fun Facts: Vijaya has been cooking with her mother since she was 4-years-old and started experimenting with her own recipes at the age of 10. She also hosts her own web series.

Social Media Links:
Twitter:
@CTV_PR
@CTV_Television
@TheMarilynShow
@MarilynDenisCTV
@MapleLeafFoods
#MarilynExpertSearch

Facebook:
Facebook.com/ctv
Facebook.com/MarilynDenis
Facebook.com/MapleLeafFoods

About THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW
Hosted by Marilyn Denis and broadcast live before a studio audience, THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW is a daily entertainment and lifestyle talk show featuring Canadian and international celebrities and experts, established and emerging alike. Celebrities who have appeared on THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW include Sir Elton John, Diane Keaton, Bradley Cooper, Shania Twain, Hugh Jackman, Michael Bublé, Lionel Richie, Gene Simmons, and many more. THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW is produced by Bell Media Production, and Michelle Crespi is Executive Producer. Nanci MacLean is Vice-President, Bell Media Production. Catherine MacLeod is Senior Vice-President, Specialty Channels and Bell Media Production. Mike Cosentino is Senior Vice-President, Programming, CTV Networks. Phil King is President - CTV, Sports, and Entertainment Programming. More information about THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW, including ticket information, can be found at Marilyn.ca, as well on Facebook and @MarilynDenisCTV

About CTV
CTV is Canada's #1 private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV has been Canada's most-watched television network for the past 12 years in a row. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio, digital, and Out-of-Home. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network's website at CTV.ca.

Source: BBM Canada. BYTD 2013-14 (Sept. 23, 2013-Feb. 23, 2014).

SOURCE CTV

For further information:

Matthew Almeida, CTV and CTV Two, 416.384.2629 or matthew.almeida@bellmedia.ca  
Jim Quan, CTV and CTV Two, 416.384.5311 or jim.quan@bellmedia.ca