Top Chef Canada Signs on Culinary Expert Mark McEwan as Head Judge

Top Chef Canada's Head Judge Mark McEwan (CNW Group/CanWest Broadcasting)

National Casting Call Opens Today

      Casting Details and Forms Available at www.foodnetwork.ca/topchef

TORONTO, May 10 /CNW/ - Food Network Canada and Insight Production Company Ltd. have signed on Mark McEwan, one of Canada's most celebrated culinary masters, as head judge for the premiere season of Top Chef Canada launching spring 2011 on Food Network. With Mark McEwan on board, the search for the country's top culinary talent is on. The national casting call for Top Chef Canada begins today with information available at www.foodnetwork.ca/topchef.

The nation's best and brightest up-and-coming culinary stars, aged 19 years and older, are encouraged to visit foodnetwork.ca to download the application form. In addition to the online form, applicants must create a short video of themselves in action, showing off their cooking ability and on-camera personality. Applicants will be selected to compete for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be crowned Canada's Top Chef and a $100,000 prize.

"We want to hear from those Canadians who think they have the culinary skills and star personalities to compete on Top Chef Canada," said John Brunton, President, Insight Production Company Ltd. "The culinary scene in Canada has never been so hot and I'm certain our casting search will find Canada's most promising chefs."

"We're thrilled to work with Insight Productions and Mark McEwan to uncover a roster of talented individuals from across the country," said Karen Gelbart, SVP Content, Lifestyle Channels, Canwest Broadcasting. "Mark McEwan is an industry genius and the level of creativity, skill and determination he'll expect from the Top Chef Canada competitors will make for tough competition."

Mark McEwan (owner of North 44, Bymark and ONE restaurants, McEwan Fine Food Store and host of Food Network's The Heat) is a leader in the Canadian food industry and his participation as the head judge on Top Chef Canada demonstrates the high standards expected of the show's competitors. As the owner of three of Toronto's top restaurants, a catering company and a fine food store, Mark's expert experience ranges from the start up and running of successful businesses, to high-quality food preparation, restaurant service and catering. He is well versed in the high-intensity of a professional kitchen and has mastered working under immense pressure. Mark also has the know-how to perform on camera with three seasons of the Food Network series, The Heat, and a season of Superstar Chef Challenge under his belt.

"It's an absolute honour to be a part of such an exciting project that will showcase the range of culinary talent this country has to offer," said Mark McEwan, owner of North 44, Bymark and ONE restaurants, McEwan Fine Food Store and host of Food Network's The Heat. "I've been in the food and service industry for over 30 years and look forward to sharing that expertise with the chosen competitors on Top Chef Canada."

All information on how to apply to be on Top Chef Canada is now available at www.foodnetwork.ca/topchef. Casting opens today, May 10, and runs through June 14, 2010.

Top Chef Masters 2 currently airs Mondays at 9pm ET/10pm PT on Food Network.

Food Network is a Canwest Broadcasting channel.

About Canwest Broadcasting

Canwest Broadcasting operates Global Television and 19 of the country's most popular specialty channels, including HGTV, Mystery TV, National Geographic Channel, Showcase, History Television, Food Network and TVtropolis. Canwest Broadcasting is a division of Canwest Media Inc.

About Canwest Originals

Canwest is the proud home of the most diverse slate of Canadian Original programs across the Dramatic, Lifestyle and Entertainment genres. As a steadfast supporter of the Canadian production community, Canwest is dedicated to bringing the best of the country to audiences nationwide - including shows such as: Rookie Blue, Family Restaurant, Holmes Inspection, Ice Pilots: NWT, 16:9, Re-Vamped and Canada's most trusted entertainment news show Entertainment Tonight Canada.

About Canwest Media Inc.

Canwest Media Inc. is a subsidiary of Canwest Global Communications Corp. (www.canwest.com), Canada's largest media company. In addition to owning the Global Television Network, operating 18 industry-leading specialty channels and having ownership in 5 specialty channels, Canwest is Canada's largest publisher of English language paid daily newspapers and owns and operates more than 80 online properties.

About Insight Productions:

Insight Production Company Ltd, headed by John Brunton & Barbara Bowlby has become an industry leader in the creative development, financing and production of highly rated television programs and cutting edge multiplatform content for the global market in every genre. Since 1979, it has been recognized for its reputation for quality as the recipient of numerous International awards, including multiple Gemini's. The company has created thousands of hours of groundbreaking television that continues to be broadcast over major networks worldwide. Broadcast Magazine International claims that "When it comes to adapting formats for Canadian audiences there is one producer who appears to have the Midas touch." Recent hits include Insight's original new format Battle of the Blades; Canadian Idol, Canada's homegrown version of the hugely successful international format; the JUNO Awards, which plays a key role in the Canadian music industry; Project Runway Canada, hosted by International Supermodel Iman; and Deal or No Deal Canada, the hit primetime game show, which delivered The Global Television Network's highest ratings of all time for a Canadian program.

For more information visit www.insighttv.com.

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For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Jaclyn Atwood, Publicity Manager, Canwest Broadcasting, (416) 966-7293, jatwood@canwest.com; Susan Stafford, Publicist, Lifestyle Channels, Unit: PR Inc., (416) 506-1238, susan@unitpr.com