Former PDCS teacher will tweet inside scoops during the airing of the program Monday night.
Jason invites Maple Leaf readers to join him on Twitter @mayojason
By Donna McMillan
Jason “Jay” Mayo admits he is biased in favour of pork.
“Bacon is God’s way of telling us he loves us”, he told the Maple Leaf as he talked about a peanut butter, chocolate and bacon pie that is one of his favourite dishes to make.
He grew up on a pig and cash crop farm between Jarvis and Townsend, attending Bloomsburg Public School and Waterford District High School.
He learned, as a child, a love of cooking from his Mom and didn’t hesitate to apply to be a contestant on CTV’s Master Chef Canada. The first episode will air Monday, January 20th at 8 p.m.
Jason, 33, is a resident of Jarvis. He taught at Port Dover Composite School for two years before the school closed and has been teaching English at Simcoe Composite School since the move.
As a farm wife, he said his Mom was cooking all the time. He learned cooking, canning and baking from her. Starting in elementary school, he entered food competitions at Norfolk County Fair.
“I won my first First Place prize for my apple pie. I think I won five years in a row”, he said.
His secret was a “very traditional, buttery, flaky crust and just the right amount of cinnamon”. He also won prizes for his pickles and a mango salsa.
Into adulthood, he has enjoyed working in the kitchen as a hobby. He favours making such items as chicken dumplings, good country food and “I’m a big soup man”, he added. He mentioned one Vietnamese soup creation that features pork meat balls. Trifle is another dish high on his list because he can layer the flavour.
For his audition for Master Chef Canada, he prepared a five piece sushi plate.
Last summer, there were more than 4000 applications from people all over Canada to compete on CTV’s Master Chef Canada.
First, Jason went through a telephone interview process. Then, he was selected for open casting in Toronto.
Everyone had to bring a room temperature dish. He made the top 50, getting this news just two weeks before the start of school. Jason said he applied for a six week leave of absence without pay, in order to be available for filming during September and October.
“Some contestants quit their jobs. People came from all across the country”, he said. “There was a female plumber from Alberta, a crazy Newfie nurse and a Toronto comedian” to name a few, Jason shared.
For the competition, “we had a beautiful kitchen with the greatest appliances and sharpest knives”, he said. “It was everyone’s dream kitchen”. The judges are Michael Bonacini, Alvin Leung and Claudio Aprile.
All fifty contestants are vying for $100,000 and the Master Chef Canada Trophy. There is only one prize. “Only winning matters”, Jason said. Of course he knows the outcome, but he is definitely not sharing. This is the first Master Chef Canada to be held.
Since competing, Jason said he would love to write a cookbook or have a television show. He would not want to run a restaurant.
“Food is love”, he said. “I would love to show people how good cooking is”. Jason owns three boxes of cookbooks, starting with his early W.I. cookbooks and milk calendars.
During the airing of the program, Jason will be tweeting. He invites Maple Leaf readers to join him on Twitter @mayojason. He will be providing some inside scoops during the show and is also prepared to tweet out any help with recipes.